Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day



Free daily dose of word power from Merriam-Webster's experts


  • devotion

    22/10/2021 Duración: 01min

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for October 22, 2021 is: devotion • \dih-VOH-shun\  • noun Devotion means being dedicated or loyal, or expressing dedication or loyalty. // The organizer's devotion to the cause of the fundraiser was greatly admired. // The students' devotion of their time to the science project was not overlooked by their teacher. See the entry > Examples: "Restaurant loyalties run deep. Look at the scads of eateries that have drawn devotion for decades in the Park Cities, Preston Hollow, and environs." — Kathy Biehl, The Preston Hollow People (Dallas, Texas), 14 Sept. 2021 Did you know? Devotion and the verb devote come from the act of taking a vow (the Latin verb vovēre means "to vow"). Devote was once used as an adjective that could mean either "devout" or "devoted." While devout implies faithfulness of a religious nature ("a devout parishioner), devoted refers to one's commitment to another through l

  • untoward

    21/10/2021 Duración: 01min

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for October 21, 2021 is: untoward • \un-TOH-erd\  • adjective Untoward means "unruly, unfavorable, or improper." // The rules specify that untoward behavior will not be tolerated. See the entry > Examples: "At 82, Judy Collins retains the crystalline tone that made her an icon of the early 1960s folk music movement, sounding so youthful … it's hard not to ask her whether she's made an untoward bargain with the devil." — Andrew Gilbert, The San Francisco Chronicle, 17 Sept. 2021 Did you know? For centuries, toward was used for "forward-moving" youngsters, the kind who showed promise and were open to listening to their elders. The adjective then came to mean "obliging." The opposite of this toward is froward, meaning "disobedient." Froward has fallen out of common use, and the cooperative sense of toward is obsolete, but untoward is still moving forward.

  • batten

    20/10/2021 Duración: 01min

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for October 20, 2021 is: batten • \BAT-un\  • verb Batten means "to furnish or fasten with or as if with supports." // Residents battened down their doors and windows before the storm. See the entry > Examples: "Everything was battened down and they were all set to leave the round-the-clock eatery—until they discovered there was no key to the front door. It had been that long since they'd locked it." — Bob Yesbek, The Cape Gazette (Lewes, Delaware), 7 May 2021 Did you know? Batten comes from the name for an iron bar used to secure the covering of a hatchway on a ship, which was especially useful in preparation of stormy weather. The verb batten is used in variations of the phrase "batten down the hatches," which means "to prepare for a difficult or dangerous situation." It winds back to Latin battuere, meaning "to beat."

  • nomenclature

    19/10/2021 Duración: 01min

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for October 19, 2021 is: nomenclature • \NOH-mun-klay-cher\  • noun Nomenclature is most often used for a system of names for things, especially in science. // Starting a new job or entering a new field of study means becoming familiar with the nomenclature. See the entry > Examples: "Not everything called democracy is democratic. … Both capitalism and socialism have demonstrated that democracy is not automatic with nomenclature. Some policies promote democracy; others contradict the ideal." — Eugene Clemens, LNP (Lancaster, Pennsylvania), 18 Oct. 2021 Did you know? Nomenclature comes from a Latin word meaning "the assigning of names." English's name and noun are rooted in the Latinate nomen.

  • zaftig

    18/10/2021 Duración: 01min

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for October 18, 2021 is: zaftig • \ZAHF-tig\  • adjective Zaftig means "having a full, rounded figure"—in other words, "pleasingly plump." // Portraits of zaftig models are exhibited in the artist's collection. See the entry > Examples: "The photography exhibition revels in depictions of Coney Island, including Lisette Model's widely-reproduced 1939-40 portrait of a zaftig woman  … laughing as waves lap at her feet…." — Steven Litt, The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), 29 Aug. 2021 Did you know? Zaftig is one of a number of Yiddish-derived words that entered the English language during the mid-1800s to the early 1900s. It comes from Yiddish zaftik, which means "juicy" or "succulent" and itself derives from zaft, meaning "juice" or "sap."

  • perpetuity

    17/10/2021 Duración: 01min

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for October 17, 2021 is: perpetuity • \per-puh-TOO-uh-tee\  • noun Perpetuity is a state of continuing forever or for a very long time. // The property will be passed on from generation to generation in perpetuity.   See the entry > Examples: "Nearly 120 acres in Bradford County … will be free from development in perpetuity, thanks to a conservation easement acquisition by the North Florida Land Trust." — The Florida Times-Union, 18 Sept. 2021 Did you know? Continual existence—that elusive philosophical concept is reflected in perpetuity, which traces to Latin perpetuus, an adjective meaning "continual" or "uninterrupted." The word has specific legal use. It can refer, for example, to an arrangement in a will rendering land forever incapable of being surrendered or transferred (or at least, for a period longer than is set by rules against such arrangements) or to an annuity that is payable

  • gossamer

    16/10/2021 Duración: 01min

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for October 16, 2021 is: gossamer • \GAH-suh-mer\  • adjective Gossamer means "extremely light, delicate, or tenuous." // Except for a few gossamer clouds, the sky was clear and blue. See the entry > Examples: "The dragonfly is our state insect…. As a beautiful predator with gossamer wings…, this insect deserves far more appreciation." — Barbara Hunt, The Mat-Su Valley (Alaska) Frontiersman, 2 Aug. 2021 Did you know? In the days of Middle English, a period of mild weather in late autumn or early winter was sometimes called a gossomer, literally "goose summer." People may have chosen that name for a late-season warm spell because October and November were the months when people felt that geese were at their best for eating. Gossomer was also used in Middle English as a word for filmy cobwebs floating through the air in calm, clear weather, apparently because somebody thought the webs looked

  • embellish

    15/10/2021 Duración: 01min

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for October 15, 2021 is: embellish • \im-BELL-ish\  • verb Embellish means "to make (something) more appealing or attractive with fanciful or decorative details." // As they grew older, the children realized their grandfather embellished the stories of his travels abroad. // The gift shop had cowboy shirts and hats embellished with beads and stitching. See the entry > Examples: "Well, I've always wanted to write a children's book. This is just partly based on a story I used to tell Krishna, my daughter, when she was going to bed at night, but we just embellished it and embellished it." — Padma Lakshmi, quoted in Bon Appétit, 27 May 2021 Did you know? Embellish is related to the French word for "beautiful," bel, and, traditionally, it has been used to imply beautifying an object with the addition of things unessential. That's still true; however, it is equally appealing as an adjective for

  • cabal

    14/10/2021 Duración: 01min

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for October 14, 2021 is: cabal • \kuh-BAHL\  • noun A cabal is a group secretly united in a plot. // Military police arrested members of the cabal who were planning to overthrow the government. See the entry > Examples: "February 14? … That's an arbitrary date picked by a cabal of florists and greeting card manufacturers. Love can happen any time of the year…." — Bruce Gravel, Peterborough (Ontario) This Week, 4 Feb. 2021 Did you know? Cabal has been associated with a group of five ministers in the government of England's King Charles II. The initial letters of the names or titles of those men (Clifford, Arlington, Buckingham, Ashley, and Lauderdale) spelled cabal, and they have been collectively dubbed as the "Cabal Cabinet" or "Cabal Ministry." But these five names are not the source of the word cabal, which was in use decades before Charles II ascended the throne. The term traces back t

  • odious

    13/10/2021 Duración: 01min

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for October 13, 2021 is: odious • \OH-dee-us\  • adjective Odious means "causing strong hatred or dislike." // The biography is an in-depth account of one of the most odious serial killers in American history. See the entry > Examples: "There are probably few things more emotion-laden and odious as taxes. But for a society to function for the common good, they are a necessary evil." — William P. Cawley, The Richmond (Virginia) Times Dispatch, 15 Sept. 2021 Did you know? Odious comes from Latin odiosus; that adjective is from the word for "hatred," odium. Odium is related to the English verb annoy, and it is used in English to mean "hatred" or "disgrace."