Word of the Day

Word of the Day

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The huge Amazon Alexa hit Word of the Day is now available as a podcast! Word of the Day teaches you a useful word, its definition, etymology, and gives you examples of how to use it in a sentence. A new word each and every day! Perfect for those looking to expand their vocabulary, learning English and looking for a boost and anyone who loves words.


Predaceous
Oct 13 • 1 min
Coming from the Latin word preada, (PRY duh) meaning ‘to prey’ (as in ‘prey on a weak victim),’ our word of the day may be used to describe a number of our friends — or enemies — of the animal kingdom. It my also be used to describe the behavior or…
Alliciency
Oct 12 • 0 min
Alliciency is a noun that refers to the power of attracting. Our word of the day has evolved from the Latin allicere (all ee CHAIR ay) meaning ‘to allure.’ It may be used simply to refer to attractiveness, but is best understood as a power that some have…
Imperious
Oct 11 • 0 min
Imperious is an adjective that means arrogant or commanding. The Latin word imperare (im pair RAWR ay) means ‘to rule or command.” A person described as imperious isn’t necessarily a ruler, but they earn the adjective by behaving as if they should be.…
Gloaming
Oct 10 • 0 min
Gloaming is a noun that refers to twilight or dusk. Related to the word ‘glow,’ our word of the day is of Germanic origin and now refers to a glow taking place at a specific time of the day, dusk. It is sometimes called ‘the gloaming.’ Dusk in the country…
Acumen
Oct 9 • 0 min
Acumen is a noun that refers to the ability to make good judgements. Coming from the Latin, acuere (ah kware ay) meaning ‘to sharpen,’ our word of the day came to refer to a mental sharpness or shrewdness. Jeff was a great football player, but he simply…
Alacrity
Oct 8 • 0 min
Alacrity is a noun that refers to brisk and cheerful readiness. The Latin word alacritas (ah lah CREE toos) means ‘liveliness’ or ‘animation.’ From this origin our word of the day emerged, retaining the same meaning. Rachel’s ability to meet all kinds of…
Bravura
Oct 7 • 0 min
Bravura is a noun that means a display of daring. Coming from the Italian word bravo (BRAH voe) our word of the day emerged in the mid 18th century to describe a great technical skill and brilliance shown in a performance or a display of daring. I hadn’t…
Rewild
Oct 6 • 0 min
Rewild is a verb that means to restore to its natural state. The word wild, meaning ‘a natural, uncultivated state,’ is of Old English and German origin. Our word of the day adds the prefix ‘re’ and creates a verb that means to return a region to this…
Natant
Oct 5 • 0 min
Natant is an adjective that means swimming or floating. The Latin word natare (nah TAR ay) means ‘to swim,’ but our word of the day is distinguished from swim, because it’s more likely to be used in a scientific context to describe plants or inanimate…
Donnish
Oct 4 • 0 min
Donnish is an adjective that means bookish. Derived from the Latin word dominus (DOME ee noos) meaning ‘lord or master,’ a ‘don’ came to refer to leader in a number of very different contexts. It sometimes refers to a high-ranking member of the mafia, as…
Appurtenant
Oct 3 • 0 min
Appurtenant is an adjective that means belonging or pertinent. Coming from the Latin word pertinere (per tin AIR ay) meaning ‘to pertain’ or ‘concern’ our word of the day is similar to the words ‘pertaining’ or ‘appertaining,’ but is more likely to be…
Fatuous
Oct 2 • 0 min
Fatuous is an adjective that means silly or foolish. Fatuus (fah TOOS) means ‘fool’ in Latin. While our word of the day is pretty much never used in a flattering context, it often simply means ‘silly’ or ‘pointless’ as opposed to downright ‘wrong.’ As…
Caducity
Oct 1 • 0 min
Caducity is a noun that means frailty. The Latin word cadere (cah DARE ay) means ‘to fall.’ Over the years, our word of the day would come to mean ‘liable to fall.’ Today caducity may refer to any kind of frailty, physical or otherwise. At Edwin’s age,…
Leporine
Sep 30 • 0 min
Leporine is an adjective that means resembling a rabbit or a hare. The Latin word lepus (LAY poos) means rabbit. A person described as leporine would probably not be flattered by the word. Shaving his head bald caused an awkward emphasis on Chuck’s large…
Palmy
Sep 29 • 0 min
Palmy is an adjective that means prosperous or flourishing. Palm trees may seem like an unlikely origin for word that means ‘prosperous or flourishing,’ but it would help to know that our word of the day began life because the branch of a palm tree in…
Literatim
Sep 28 • 0 min
Literatim is an adjective that means letter for letter. Literatim comes directly from Latin. Originally meaning ‘literature,’ its meaning has shifted a little over the years and now means ‘word for word,’ as in: Our English teacher demanded that we recite…
Widdershins
Sep 27 • 0 min
Widdershins is an adverb that means in a contrary direction. Our word of the day is of German origin. It evolved from the word widersinnen (VEE der sin en) which means ‘against the way.’ In this case, the ‘way’ is clockwise, so widdershins first meant…
Abdicate
Sep 26 • 0 min
Abdicate is a verb that means to give up a position of power. The king refused to abdicate his position in spite of protests from the people. It would take much more to get him to give up that kind of power.
Thaumaturge
Sep 25 • 0 min
Thaumaturge is a noun that refers to a worker of miracles or a magician. The Greek word thaumatourgos (THOU mah too gose) refers to a ‘conjuror or worker of wonders.’ The word’s meaning has remained more or less the same, but today we’re less likely to…
Cogitation
Sep 24 • 0 min
Cogitation is a noun that refers to the action of thinking deeply about something. The Latin word cogitare (KOE gee tar ay) means ‘to think’ and has given birth to a number of related English words like recognize, cognizant and cogitate, a verb that means…
Paradisical
Sep 23 • 0 min
Paradisical is an adjective that means related to or befitting paradise. The concept of paradise is old as time itself. But the word paradise comes from the Greek word paradeisos (par uh DASE ose) meaning ‘royal park.’ Our word of the day is simply a…
Burgeon
Sep 22 • 0 min
Burgeon is a verb that means to grow or flourish rapidly The Latin word burra (BOO rah) means ‘wool.’ From there it evolved into the French word bourgeonenner (BOOGH ah nay) meaning to ‘put out buds.’ This gave birth to our word of the day, which is often…
Orgulous
Sep 21 • 0 min
Orgulous is an adjective that means haughty or full of pride. Our word of the day emerged from Old French and gained popularity when used by 19th century historical novelist Sir Walter Scott. It has an old wold sound that may sound a little affected if…
Reticular
Sep 20 • 0 min
Reticular is an adjective that means having a netlike structure. The Latin word rete (RAY tay) means ‘net.’ Something reticular resembles a net in some sense. The word is frequently used in science to describe cells that arranged in a net-like fashion.…
Coriaceous
Sep 19 • 0 min
Coriaceous is an adjective that means resembling or having the texture of leather. Corium (CORE ee oom) is the Latin word for leather or hide. This is the ancestor of our word of the day which may refer literally to something made of leather or…
Volition
Sep 18 • 0 min
Volition is a noun that refers to the power of choosing or determining. The Latin word volo (VOE low) means ‘I wish’ or ‘I want.’ It would be helpful to think of a person’s volition as the ability to act as they want. At first it seemed that Sarah was…
Esemplastic
Sep 17 • 0 min
Esemplastic is an adjective that means moulding into one or unifying. There’s a good chance you recognize the word ‘plastic’ in our word of the day. Esemplastic emerged in the early 19th century by combining plastic — from the Greek plassein (PLASS ain)…
Alameda
Sep 16 • 0 min
Alameda is a noun that refers to a public walkway shaped with trees. Our word of the day comes directly from Spanish, where it referred to a poplar grove. It entered English in the late 18th century with basically the same meaning. It’s also a common baby…
Stellate
Sep 15 • 0 min
Stellate is an adjective that means star-shaped. The Latin word Stella (STAY la) means star. Over the years it has evolved into a number of English words like stellar, interstellar, constellation and, our word of the day which refers to something shaped…
Seriatim
Sep 14 • 0 min
Seriatim is sometimes an adjective and sometimes an adverb that means point-by-point. Related to the word series, our word of the day comes from the Latin phrase ‘one after another.’ The lawyer’s closing argument was perfect. He refuted every accusation…
Burnish
Sep 13 • 0 min
Burnish is a verb that means to polish or shine. The French word brun (brahh) means brown. Our word of the day came about with the French word for brown was turned into a verb, meaning to ‘shine something until it became brown.’ Those old trophies in my…
Consanguinity
Sep 12 • 0 min
Consanguinity is a noun that means close relationship or connection. Our word of the day’s first three letters C-O-N is a prefix meaning ‘with’ or ‘together.’ sanguineus (san GWEEN ee oos) on the other hand is the Latin word for ‘blood.’ When combined,…
Piquant
Sep 11 • 0 min
Piquant is an adjective that means having a pleasantly sharp or spicy taste. Piquant is a direct loan from our French friends. The word piquer (PEE kay) means ‘stinging or prickling.’ When the word shifted into English, its meaning shifted along with it.…
Wayfaring
Sep 10 • 0 min
Wayfaring is an adjective that means (of a person) traveling on foot. Derived from the Old English words ‘way’ and ‘fare’ wayfaring has been around since the 14th century. It has a literary sound to it, but don’t be intimidated. It sounds right at home…
Olfactory
Sep 9 • 0 min
Olfactory is an adjective that means related to the sense of smell. The Latin word olfacere (ol fah CHAIR ay) meant ‘to smell.’ Coming direction from this origin is our word of the day which refers to anything related to the sense of smell. When Kari told…
Trouvaille
Sep 8 • 0 min
Trouvaille is a noun that means a lucky find. Our word of the day comes to us directly from the French word trouver (true VAY) meaning ‘find.’ But a trouvaille is lucky, which in some cases means something found that wasn’t being looked for. The old book…
Eleemosynary
Sep 7 • 0 min
Eleemosynary is an adjective that means related to charity. The Greek word eleimosýni (el lee Moe SEE nee) means alms or charity. From there we get our word of the day which may refer to charity in a neutral sense or it may mean ‘dependent on charity.’…
Mien
Sep 6 • 0 min
Mien is a noun that means a person’s appearance or manner. Mien originated in Middle French, where it meant “appearance” or “facial expression.” As the word shifted to modern English, its spelling changed a little, but its definition is roughly the same.…
Effigy
Sep 5 • 0 min
Effigy is a noun that refers to a sculpture or a model of a person. Our word of the day began with the Latin effingere (EFF in jare ay) meaning ‘to shape.’ In time effigy came to refer something being shaped, namely a sculpture designed to resemble…
Cachet
Sep 4 • 0 min
Cachet is a noun that means prestige or the state of being respected or admired. The Latin word for ‘constrain’ or ‘press’ is (co act TEAR ay). As our word of the day evolved through French it came to refer to a ‘stamp’ or ‘seal’ — as in a stamp or seal…
Harlequin
Sep 3 • 0 min
Harlequin is an adjective that means of varied colors. Based on an obsolete French word, harlequin got its name from the leader of a legendary troop of demon horsemen. Soon it became a name used for a character in traditional pantomime. A harlequin was…
Ensconce
Sep 2 • 0 min
Ensconce is a verb that means to establish or settle something in a comfortable place. The Latin word for hide is abscondere (ab SKON dere ay), but our word of the day isn’t strictly a synonym of hide. When someone or something is ensconced in a…
Miasma
Sep 1 • 0 min
Miasma is a noun that means an unpleasant smell or vapor. Our word of the day has been around since the Mid-17th century, but its roots go back to the Greeks. Defilement in Greek is mólynsi moe EES ee). Keep in mind that while miasma means unpleasant…
Abditory
Aug 31 • 0 min
Abditory is a noun that refers to a hiding place. The Latin word abdit refers to a storage room. An abditory, more specifically refers to a place for hiding things. When I told Scott about the room in the back, I had no idea he would use it as an…
Afflated
Aug 30 • 0 min
Afflated is an adjective that means inspired, especially by spiritual or divine means. Our word of the day’s earliest record use is from 19th century poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The word afflate — meaning ‘blow up’ as in something done to a balloon —…
Timbre
Aug 29 • 0 min
Timbre is a noun that refers to the quality of a musical sound or voice. The Greek word tumpanon (TOOM pan on) means drum, but as tumpanon has evolved into timbre, its meaning has expanded to refer to any kind of sound. You could think of a timbre as a…
Bequest
Aug 28 • 0 min
Bequest is a noun that means legacy. The origin of bequest combines the Middle English word for ‘about’ and the Old English word for ‘speech.’ This is also the origin of the word bequeath, meaning to ‘pass something along in one’s will.’ You can think of…
Remontant
Aug 27 • 0 min
Remontant is an adjective that means blooming more than once a season. The French word remonter (RAY mon tay) means ‘coming up again.’ That’s the origin of our word of the day that refers to a plant that blooms multiple times a season. When I saw those…
Amalgam
Aug 26 • 0 min
Amalgam is a noun that refers to a mixture or blend. The Greek word malaktikos (mal ACT ee kose) means emollient. From here, the word evolved into something referring to a mixture or blend. My book featured a number of different sources. You might say…
Apotheosis
Aug 25 • 1 min
Apotheosis is a noun that means the highest point of development. Our word of the day comes indirectly from the Ancient Greeks who had the interesting habit of ‘granting’ someone in your bloodline god status. Apparently this was so common, there was a…
Confluence
Aug 24 • 0 min
Confluence is a noun that means an act or process of merging. The original meaning of confluence stems referred to a joining of rivers. With that in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the word came from a Latin word confluere (co flew AIR ay)…
Orotund
Aug 23 • 0 min
Orotund is an adjective that means resonant and imposing. Rotund, meaning round, has roughly the same origin of orotund. Both words come from the Latin rotundum (ro TOON doom) meaning rounded. In the case of our word of the day, it refers to the shape of…
Otiose
Aug 22 • 0 min
Otiose is an adjective that means serving no practical purpose. The Latin word otiosus (oh tee OH soos) meaning leasure, provides the origin of our word of the day. If behavior is otiose, it serves no purpose. I always wondered why Jimmy would have a beer…
Frippery
Aug 21 • 0 min
Frippery is a noun that means unnecessary or ornamental in architecture, dress or language. The French word Fripere (FREE pair ee) refers to old or second hand clothes. As our word of the day evolved, it became a word for unnecessary ornament — in…
Propagate
Aug 20 • 0 min
Propagate is a verb that means to spread or promote a theory or idea widely. The origins of our word of the day are firmly rooted in horticulture. The Latin word propagare (pro puh GAR ay) means to set a small shoot or twig cut for planting or grafting.’…
Compendious
Aug 19 • 0 min
Compendious is an adjective that means containing all the essential facts, but concise. The Latin word compendiosus (com PEN dee oh soos) means ‘advantage, brief.’ From there our word of the day was born, eventually evolving into a word for ‘containing…
Bedazzle
Aug 18 • 0 min
Bedazzle is a verb that means to greatly impress with skill. The root word of bedazzle is dazzle, which means to blind someone temporarily. Bedazzle is more likely to be used metaphorically. For example: He bedazzled us with his guitar-playing skill. We…
Tenebrous
Aug 17 • 0 min
Tenebrous is an adjective that means shadowy or obscure. Tenebrous has its origin in the Latin noun tenebrae, (TEN ay BRIE aye) meaning ‘darkness.’ It’s been used in English since the 15th century. Those ghost stories around the campfire were awfully…
Acuity
Aug 16 • 0 min
Acuity is a noun that means sharpness of thought, vision or hearing. Our word of the day means to be sharp, physically and mentally. So it makes sense that acuity would have evolved from the Latin word acurere (ah coo WHERE ay) meaning ‘to sharpen.’ After…
Maculate
Aug 15 • 0 min
Maculate is an adjective that means spotted or stained. Maculate comes from the Latin word macula (MA cool ah) meaning spot. You may have noticed the similarity between our word of the day and the word immaculate. Immaculate is the antonym, which means…
Ballyhoo
Aug 14 • 0 min
Ballyhoo is a noun that refers to extravagant publicity or fuss. The origin of ballyhoo is unclear, but we do know it emerged in the late 19th century. It’s a fun word to use when you want to sound like an old-school Hollywood producer or carnival barker.…
Procellous
Aug 13 • 0 min
Procellous is an adjective that means stormy or turbulent. Procella (pro CHELL uh) is the Latin word for squall or ‘sudden gust of wind.’ From that our word of the day evolved into a synonym of stormy or turbulent. Driving back from Des Moines was a…
Innumerate
Aug 12 • 0 min
Innumerate is an adjective that means without basic mathematics skills. The Latin word numero (NEW mare oh) means number. By adding the prefix I-N, we get a word that means ‘not numerate.’ The best way to think of innumerate is as the math equivalent of…
Agglomeration
Aug 11 • 0 min
Agglomeration is a noun that means a large collection. Our word of the day comes from the Latin agglomerare (a glom ay RAR ay) meaning ‘to wind or add into a ball.’ It may help to think of a ball of yarn as an agglomeration of yarn. It was difficult to…
Emissive
Aug 10 • 0 min
Emissive is an adjective that means having the power to radiate light. The Latin prefix E-M-I-S-S refers to something that is ‘emitted’ or ‘sent out.’ Emissive may be used in a scientific context to refer to radiating light, or more informally it may…
Galvanic
Aug 9 • 0 min
Galvanic is an adjective that means sudden and dramatic. An 18th century Italian physicist Luigi Galvini made a number of key discoveries in the field of biolelectricity. The French word gavanique (gal van EEK) was first coined in his honor. It may help…
Rigmarole
Aug 8 • 0 min
Rigmarole is a noun that means a lengthy or complicated process. In the Mid 18th century, a document that contained a list of offenses was referred to as a ragman’s role. In time, this evolved into our word of the day that has evolved into having a…
Orbicular
Aug 7 • 0 min
Orbicular is an adjective that means having a rounded shape. The Latin word orbiculus (OR bee coo loose) translates roughly to ‘ball.’ And its descendant, our word of the day may refer to anything rounded in shape. Orbicular is often used by geologists to…
Convoke
Aug 6 • 0 min
Convoke is a verb that means to call together or summon. Our word of the day combines the prefix C-O-N meaning ‘together’ with the Latin vocare (vo CAR ay) which means ‘call.’Convoke is typically used in a formal sense. A person is more likely to convoke…
Capacious
Aug 5 • 0 min
Capacious is an adjective that means roomy or having a lot of space. Capacious comes from the Latin word capax (cap AXE) which roughly translates to ‘capacity.’ It may help to think of a large room as having a capacity to hold many people or things, so a…
Gustatory
Aug 4 • 0 min
Gustatory is an adjective that means related to the sense of taste. The Latin word gustare (goo STAR ay) means ‘to taste’ and it has given us many words related to tasting, including our word of the day. Gustatory is a neutral word that refers to anything…
Pangloss
Aug 3 • 0 min
Pangloss is a noun that refers to a person who is optimistic regardless of the circumstances. Panglass was a character in an 18th century novel by Voltaire called Candide. The character was known for remaining upbeat and optimistic even when things were…
Galumph
Aug 2 • 1 min
Galumph is a verb that means to move in a clumsy way. 19th century English author Lewis Carrol is best known for the book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but he’s also widely been credited with adding to the vernacular by combining common words in a…
Raconteur
Aug 1 • 0 min
Raconteur is a noun that refers to a skilled storyteller. Raconteur comes directly from the French word raconter (RACK on tay) meaning ‘relate.’ But don’t let the word’s simple origin trick you. A raconteur isn’t just someone who relates a story. They do…
Enigmatic
Jul 31 • 0 min
Enigmatic is an adjective that means mysterious. Enigma comes to us directly from Greece, where it means ‘riddle.’ Comic book fans may recall a character named Ed Nygma, the alter ego of the Batman villain known as The Riddler. Not everyone called…
Aeonian
Jul 30 • 0 min
Aeonian is an adjective that means everlasting. The word aeon comes from Greek, meaning ‘age,’ as in a period of time like The Stone Age. When used in geology, aeon specifically refers to a thousand million years. Aeonian may mean lasting an aeon or it…
Pellucid
Jul 29 • 0 min
Pellucid is an adjective that means clear or easily understood. The Latin word lucere (LOO chair ay) means shine. Combined with per, for ‘through,’ we get shine through, meaning clear. Our word of the day may be used to describe something like water that…
Extemporize
Jul 28 • 0 min
Extemporize is a verb that means to perform without preparation. Ex tempore (ecks TEM poor ay) is a Latin phrase that means ‘done instantly.’ From this origin we get a word that is often used when describing speeches or musical performances performed…
Salient
Jul 27 • 0 min
Salient is an adjective that means most noticeable or important. The most common use of salient is to describe something that stands out or is most obviously noted. But it may also be used to describe an animal standing on its hind legs as if leaping.…
Tumult
Jul 26 • 0 min
Tumult is a noun that means a loud, confused noise. Our word of the day’s origin begins with the Latin word tumultus (too MOOL toos) meaning ‘uprising.’ An uprising is one of many things that may cause the loud, confusing noise of a tumult. I woke up to…
Surreptitious
Jul 25 • 0 min
Surreptitious is an adjective that means done in secret. Surreptitious comes from surripere (soo re PEER ay) the Latin word for ‘seizing or stealing secretly.’ Surreptitious behavior doesn’t necessarily involve stealing, but it typically involves doing…
Ebullience
Jul 24 • 0 min
Ebullience is a noun that means a quality of being full of energy; cheerful. Ebullience is a quality that may be described as ‘bubbling over’ with enthusiasm or joy. So it makes sense that our word of the day would come from the Latin word ebullire (eb…
Omnishambles
Jul 23 • 0 min
Omnishambles is a noun that refers to a situation where poor judgement results in chaos. Emerging in the early 21st century, our word of the day is a very recent addition to English language, combining the Latin omnis, (OME nees) meaning ‘all’ with…
Demotic
Jul 22 • 0 min
Demotic is an adjective that means colloquial. The greek word demos (DEM ose) refers to ‘the people.’ It’s the same word that gave us words like democratic and demographic. Demotic refers to language used by ordinary people. People found the mayor’s…
Equable
Jul 21 • 0 min
Equable is an adjective that means not easily disturbed or angered. Aequabilis (EYE kway beel es) is Latin for ‘make equal.’ Similarly, a person with an equable personality has an ability to make their temperaments equal. The doctor’s equable nature made…
Atemporal
Jul 20 • 0 min
Atemporal is an adjective that means existing without relation to time. The word temporal comes from the Latin temporailis (tem poor AL is) meaning transitory. The addition of A as a suffix implies the opposite, so atemporal means ‘not transitory.’ Or…
Equipoise
Jul 19 • 0 min
Equipoise is a noun that means balance of forces or interests. Equipoise combines E-Q-U-I meaning equal and P-O-I-S-E meaning balance and gives us something that means balance of interests. The deal struck between me and the law firm was hardly a deal…
Digerati
Jul 18 • 0 min
Digerati is a noun that refers to people with expertise or personal involvement with information technology. Our word of the day is a portmenteau, meaning a combination of two words that forms another word. Digerati combines digital — meaning related to…
Kenspeckle
Jul 17 • 0 min
Kenspeckle is an adjective that means easily recognizable. The exact origin of kenspeckle is uncertain, but the word appears to have Scandinavian roots, perhaps through the Old Norse words ‘Kenna’ which means ‘to know or perceive’ and spak which means…
Alimentary
Jul 16 • 0 min
Alimentary is an adjective that means related to nourishment or sustenance. Alimentum (ah lee MENT oom) is Latin for nourishment. After morphing a little, the word entered English in the late 16th century. After running a marathon, the body craves…
Sanative
Jul 15 • 0 min
Sanative is an adjective that means conducive to good health and well-being. Sanative came to us from Late Middle English, but has its origin in Latin. The word Sanare (sah NAR ay) means ‘to cure.’ Our word of the day is often used to refer to diets or…
Improbity
Jul 14 • 0 min
Improbity is a noun that means a lack of honesty or integrity. The Latin word probus (PRO boos) means upright or generous. By adding the prefix ‘I-M’ we get the opposite meaning or ‘wicked.’ That story on the news about the horrific behavior taking place…
Nubilous
Jul 13 • 0 min
Nubilous is an adjective that means cloudy or foggy. Our word of the day is a direct descendent of the Latin word nubes (NOO bess) which means cloud. Nubilous may be used literally to refer to actual clouds or figuratively to mean vague or hazy, as in: I…
Exonerate
Jul 12 • 0 min
Exonerate is a verb that means to absolve of blame. The Latin verb exonerare (ecks on air RAHR ay) means ‘freed from a burden.’ Our word of the day is often used in a legal sense, as in: Charles assured us that the DNA would exonerate his client. And sure…
Minutiae
Jul 11 • 0 min
Minutiae is a noun that means small precise details. Minutiae is from Latin. Minutias (mi NOOT ee us) means ‘smallness.’ Our word of the day refers to smallness not in physical size but importance. I’ve got important things to worry about. I don’t have to…
Ardor
Jul 10 • 0 min
Ardor is a noun that means great passion and enthusiasm. The Latin word ardere (ARE dare ay) means ‘to burn.’ It wasn’t far from there to get to a word that referred to a ‘burning passion.’ Working at the car wash for me, was just another job. I enjoyed…
Cloister
Jul 9 • 0 min
Cloister is a verb that means to seclude or hide. The Latin word claudere (klow ooh DARE ay) means ‘shut’ or ‘lock’ as in something you’d do to a door. From there, the word cloister was born, originally meaning a place of ‘religious seclusion,’ then, more…
Salvific
Jul 8 • 0 min
Salvific is an adjective that means related to the power of salvation. The Latin word salvus (SOL voos) means safe. Our word of the day emerged in the late 16th century, taking on a theological connotation, as in: ‘the salvific power of the Lord.’ Today…
Paseo
Jul 7 • 0 min
Paseo is a noun that refers to a leisurely stroll. The Spanish word ‘paseo’ means ‘step.’ When imported into English maintained the meaning of meaning ‘a casual stroll,’ especially in the evening. I’m too tired to do my usual workout routine today.…
Raffish
Jul 6 • 0 min
Raffish is an adjective that means unconventional. The Old French words rif and raf mean, ‘one and all.’ This phrase gave birth to the term riffraff as well as our word of the day. But the two words aren’t exactly synonyms. Referring to someone as raffish…
Elide
Jul 5 • 1 min
The Latin word elido (el EE doe) means ‘to dash to pieces.’ The word elide first came to mean ‘omit’ in reference to a sound or syllable being omitted from a word. As time went be, the word took on another meaning. Omitting a sound or syllable often meant…
Precipice
Jul 4 • 0 min
Precipice is a noun that means a steep cliff. The Latin word praeceps (PRY ay cheps) means ‘steep and headlong.’ I had an accident while climbing a mountain last year. I lost my grip of the rope and tumbled down the precipice.
Tertiary
Jul 3 • 0 min
Tertiary is an adjective that means third in order or level. Our word of the day comes almost directly from Latin. The word tirtius (TEAR tee oos) means third. Tertiary is most commonly used when listing items. The first of a series would be primary. The…
Igneous
Jul 2 • 0 min
Igneous is an adjective that means related to fire. The Latin word ignis (EEN yeece) means fire. Today igneous is often used by geologists to refer to volcanoes. But it may also be used as a synonym of fire, as in: I was stunned by Irene’s igneous temper.…
Metamorphic
Jul 1 • 0 min
Metamorphic is an adjective that means ‘related to a change or a metamorphosis.’ Our word of the day combines the Greek prefix ‘meta’ meaning ‘change’ with ‘morph’ meaning ‘form.’ This is a also where the term metamorphosis comes from. Metamorphic is…
Polysemy
Jun 30 • 0 min
Polysemy is a noun that means possibility of many meanings for a word. Our word of the day has a fairly recent origin. It combines the Greek prefix ‘poly’ for ‘many’ and the Greek ‘simadi’ (see MA dee) meaning ‘sign.’ I encourage my students to use simple…
Bevy
Jun 29 • 0 min
Bevy is a noun that refers to a large gathering of people or things of a particular kind. The precise origin of bevy is unknown, but it came to refer to a group of birds — especially quail — just as a ‘pack’ refers to a group of wolves. It may also refer…
Aplomb
Jun 28 • 0 min
Aplomb is a noun that means self-confidence. Aplomb comes from French, where it means, ‘according to a plumb line.’ A plumb line refers to a line dipped into water to determine the water level. It is steady and solid — just like a person with aplomb.…
Ameliorate
Jun 27 • 0 min
Ameliorate is a verb that means to make something better. The French word meilleur (me YARE) beans ‘better.’ This is where our word of the day comes from. Ameliorated is often, but not always, used in a medical context. When I was ill, I found that…
Swimmingly
Jun 26 • 0 min
Swimmingly is an adverb that means smoothly or without problems. The Dutch word zvem (ZVEM) is where we get swim from, but how do we get from that to a synonym of smoothly? Swimming suggests gliding motions and that suggests smooth or without problems.…
Belie
Jun 25 • 0 min
Belie is a verb that means to fail to give a true impression of. In Old English the word Leogan (LEE oh gan) means to lie. It’s basically an ancestor of the current word ‘lie.’ To belie something means to make something untrue or a lie. Ross’ brand new…
Variegated
Jun 24 • 0 min
Variegated is an adjective that means exhibiting different colors. The Latin word varius (VAR ee oos) means various, and it’s given birth to many words like variety, varied, and of course, variegated. The term is frequently used by botanists to describe…
Animus
Jun 23 • 0 min
Animus is a noun that refers to hostility or ill will. Our word of the day comes directly from Latin, but the word has shifted meaning a little. In Latin animus (AHN ee moos) means spirit or soul. Once imported to English, animus came to mean hostility or…
Sillage
Jun 22 • 0 min
Sillage is a noun that refers to a scent that lingers in the air. Sillage comes directly from French where it means ‘trail,’ but unlike ‘trail’ which has a broader meaning, our word of the day almost always refers to a scent. Finding my old lucky…
Coterie
Jun 21 • 0 min
Coterie is a verb that means an inner circle or clique. In Middle Low German the word kote (KOE tuh) refers to an association of tenants. Over the years the word’s definition has broadened to mean an association of just about anyone, but usually with the…
Stentorian
Jun 20 • 0 min
Stentorian is an adjective that means loud or powerful in sound. Our word of the day is one of many words that have its origin in Greek mythology. In the classic work known of The Iliad, Stentor was the herald, or bringer of news, for the Greek forces. He…
Nonpareil
Jun 19 • 0 min
Nonpereil is an adjective that means without equal. In French, the prefix non simply means ‘not’ and pareil means ‘equal.’ Together they refer to a person or a thing that is without equal. Any comparisons between this grilled cheese sandwich and any…
Oeuvre
Jun 18 • 0 min
Oeuvre is a noun that means the collective works of an artist. Oeuvre comes directly from the French word for ‘work.’ It’s often used by art or movie critics when describing the entire output of an artist. That director’s latest film left me cold. But…
Vilipend
Jun 17 • 0 min
Vilipend is a verb that means to treat as worthless. Vilis (VY lis) is the Latin word for worthless. When combined with pendo (PEN doe), the Latin word for ‘considered,’ we get a word that means ‘considered or treated as if it has no worth.’ Please don’t…
Truepenny
Jun 16 • 0 min
Truepenny is a noun that refers to an honest person. Truepenny is a portmanteau word that combines ‘true’ and ‘penny’ to give us a word for something genuine. A true penny, of course, refers to a coin that is exactly as it appears. I had my doubts about…
Taradiddle
Jun 15 • 1 min
Taradiddle is a noun that means a petty lie. Jeremy Diddler was a character from an early 19th century play called Raising the Wind. From that we get the word diddle, which means to swindle. The significance of TARA added to the word is not clear, but we…
Inveigle
Jun 14 • 0 min
Inveigle is a verb that means to persuade by deception or flattery. In Old French, the word aveugle (AH vug) meant ‘to blind.’ Our word of the day has a broader meaning than ‘to blind,’ but it must be remembered that to persuade someone through deception…
Compunction
Jun 13 • 0 min
Compunction is a noun that means guilt or remorse. The Latin word pungere (POON Jay ray) means ‘to prick.’ This was combined with C-O-M, a suffix that implies excessive force. That gave us compungere (com poon JAY ray) which meant ‘to prick sharply.’ It…
Venial
Jun 12 • 0 min
Venial is an adjective that means slight or pardonable. The word venia (VEN ee uh) is Latin for forgiveness. Our word of the day is pretty much always used to refer to a sin or mistake. A venial sin is one that can be forgiven. A mortal sin, on the other…
Presentiment
Jun 11 • 0 min
Presentiment is a noun that means a feeling that something is about to happen. The French word pressentiment (press SAHN tee mon) is the origin of our word of the day, which describes an intuitive feeling about the future. The word is usually used in a…
Pert
Jun 10 • 0 min
Pert is an adjective that means lively or cheerful. The Latin word apertus (ah PEAR toos) meaning ‘opening’ is where our word of the day was born. In time, the word’s meaning shifted to its current meaning of ‘lively’ or ‘energetic.’ When used…
Camarilla
Jun 9 • 0 min
Camarilla is noun that means a small group of people with a shared purpose. Our word of the day comes from Spanish. It’s the diminutive of the word camera (COM ay rah) meaning ’room,’ as in a place where political cliques and plotters are likely to meet.…
Myrmidon
Jun 8 • 0 min
Myrmidon is a noun that means a subordinate who carries out orders without question. In Greek mythology there’s a tale about a group of warriors from Thessaly (THES a lee) who accompanied Achilles to Troy. When using mymidon today, a person doesn’t have…
Banausic
Jun 7 • 0 min
Banausic is an adjective that means mundane or only serving a practical purpose. The Greek word for artisans is banausikos (aon ah SEE kos). If artisans seems like a strange way to define a word for mundane, keep in mind that the word artisans didn’t…
Ariose
Jun 6 • 0 min
Ariose is an adjective that means songlike. Music lovers may be familiar with an aria, a song performed by a solo voice in an opera. Ariose comes from the same root, the Latin word aer (EYE ur) meaning ‘air.’ Describing something as ariose can be a…
Minerva
Jun 5 • 0 min
Minerva is a noun that means a woman of great wisdom. Fans of Roman mythology may recall Minerva as the Goddess of wisdom. So referring to somebody — even a mere mortal — as a Minerva is another way of identifying her a source of great wisdom. To most…
Moonstruck
Jun 4 • 0 min
Moonstruck is an adjective that means dreamily romantic or bemused by love. Our word of the day combines the familiar word ‘moon’ with the past participle of strike, to give us a way to describe someone who’s been metaphorically ‘struck’ or affected by…
Auspice
Jun 3 • 0 min
Auspice is a noun that means support or help. The Latin word auspex (OW speks) means ‘observer of birds.’ If that seems an odd place for our word of the day to take flight, consider the phrase ‘take him under your wing,’ meaning provide protection and…
Simon-Pure
Jun 2 • 0 min
Simon-pure is a noun that means a completely authentic person. Our word of the day comes from 18th century satirical play called Bold Stroke for a Wife. The name Simon-pure came to mean ‘authentic’ partly because the character is impersonated by someone…
Gourmand
Jun 1 • 1 min
Gourmand is a noun that means a person who loves to eat. Our word of the day comes directly from Old French where it meant ‘wine taster.’ More recently, the word’s appetite has expanded to include food. And in case you’re wondering, ‘gourmand’ has the…
Maffick
May 31 • 0 min
Maffick is a verb that means to celebrate extravagantly. Mafeking is the capital city of the North-West Province of South Africa. It was the sight of the siege of Mafeking during the Second Boer War. British troops had taken the city under siege. And when…
Notional
May 30 • 0 min
Notional is an adjective that means existing only in theory. The Latin word notio (NO tee oh) means notion, which simply means ‘an idea.’ Something that is notional exists only as an idea — not in real life. Craig’s notional thoughts about what we could…
Veristic
May 29 • 0 min
Veristic is an adjective that means extremely naturalistic. Our word of the day is one of many words derived from the Latin word verum (VAIR oom) meaning truth. There’s also veracity, verily and previous word of the day verisimilitude. Veristic is…
Bemuse
May 28 • 0 min
Bemuse is a verb that means to puzzle or confuse. Bemuse comes from the Old French word muser (MOO zay) means to be absorbed in thought. To bemuse someone means to entrance them usually with something odd or confusing. Kate’s actions often bemused be. I…
Vestiture
May 27 • 0 min
Vestiture is a noun that means clothing. The Latin word vestire (ve STEER ay) has given birth to many words, included a few related to clothing, like vest and vestment. Our word of the day is simply a synonym of clothing, but is probably best used in a…
Holophrase
May 26 • 1 min
Holophrase is a noun that means a single word that expresses a sentence. Our word of the day combines the Greek prefix ‘holo’ meaning whole and the Latin phrasis (pee ROCK sees) meaning ‘expression.’ Together they mean a single word that conveys an entire…
Languor
May 25 • 0 min
Languor is a noun that means a state of dreaminess or exhaustion. The Latin word Languere (land GWARE ay) means ‘illness’ or ‘distress,’ but our word of the day is pretty versatile, and it may refer to any state that leaves you drained, for example: Ever…
Atavistic
May 24 • 0 min
Atavistic is an adjective that means related to something ancient. The Latin word atavus (AH tah voos) means forefather and atavus could be considered the forefather of our word of the day. When we describe something as atavistic, we’re usually not…
Acclivity
May 23 • 0 min
Acclivity is a noun that means an upward slope. The Latin word for ‘slope’ clivus (KLEE voos) is the origin of our word of the day. Its antonym is declivity, meaning downward slope. Jogging up that street was a real challenge. By the time I’d get through…
Tendentious
May 22 • 0 min
Tendentious is an adjective than means intending to advance a particular cause or point of view. Tendentious is a word that comes from the German tendenzios (ten den SYOOS) that means in a biased or partisan way. I was fired from my job as a college…
Scapegrace
May 21 • 0 min
Scapegrace is a noun that means a mischievous young person. Our word of the day is a good old portmanteau, a word that is formed by combining two different terms. In this case ‘escape’ and ‘grace’ come together to refer to a person who has escaped the…
Otic
May 20 • 0 min
Otic is an adjective that means related to the ear. The Greek word for ear is aufti (off TEE) which gave birth to our word of the day. Once again, otic is spelled O-T-I-C. It’s usually used in a medical context as opposed to a word like aural that may…
Opprobrium
May 19 • 0 min
Opprobrium is a noun that means public disgrace. Our word of the day comes directly from Latin. It combines the prefix ‘O-B,’ meaning ‘against’ with probrum (PRO broom) which means ‘disgraceful act.’ Public officials who get caught taking bribes get no…
Nettlesome
May 18 • 0 min
Nettlesome is an adjective that means irritable or difficult. A plant called the nettle has jagged leaves covered with stinging hairs. And this irritable plant naturally gave birth to our word of the day which means irritable. The old meaning of…
Nascent
May 17 • 0 min
Nascent is an adjective that means just coming into existence. In Latin, the word Nasci (NAAH shee) means to be born. This, of course, was the birthplace of our word of the day. In chemistry the word nascent means ‘freshly generated.’ But in everyday use,…
Fecund
May 16 • 0 min
Fecund is an adjective that means highly fertile. Our word of the day comes from the Latin word for fertile, fecudus (fee KOON doos). Fecund may be used in a medical sense to refer to a pregnant woman, in a botanical sense, to refer to a fecund garden,…
Labile
May 15 • 0 min
Labile is an adjective that means easily altered or unstable. Labile originates from the Latin word labi (LAH bee) which means ‘fall’ or ‘slip.’ This is why in chemistry our word of the day is often used to mean ‘easily broken down’ or ‘displaced.’ In…
Accretion
May 14 • 0 min
Accretion a noun that means the process of gradual growth. The Latin word for grow is accidere (ah CHEE dare ay), which, over time gradually grew into our word of the day. Accretion is often used to describe a natural process of growth that you may see in…
Hibernal
May 13 • 0 min
Hibernal is an adjective that means pertaining to winter. The Latin word for winter is hibernum (HE burn um) which, over time, has evolved into words like hibernate and our word of the day hibernal, which refers to anything related to winter. As I kid I…
Librate
May 12 • 0 min
Librate is an adjective that means to poise or remained balanced. The Latin word for poise or balance is libramen (lee BRAHM en) where our word of the day comes from. It may be used in a scientific sense to refer, for example, to molecule holding in place…
Vivify
May 11 • 0 min
Vivify is a verb that means to enliven or bring to life. Vivus (VEE voos) the Latin word for life has, appropriately, given life to many common words in English. There’s vivid, vital, vitamin, vivacious and, of course, our word of the day, vivify. It’s…
Pawky
May 10 • 0 min
Pawky is an adjective that means showing a sardonic wit. The word pawk comes from Scottish and Northern English and refers to a trick. A pawky person could be considered snide or sardonic. Those pawkly little barbs of yours may get you laughs in the…
Rebarbative
May 9 • 1 min
Rebarbative is an adjective that means causing annoyance or irritation. The Latin word for beard is barba (BAR buh) which may seem like an odd origin for a word that means ‘causing annoyance or irritation,’ until you consider the journey that our word of…
Betide
May 8 • 0 min
Betide is a verb that means to take place. Our word of the day comes from Middle English and although its meaning — ‘to happen’ or ‘take place’ — is fairly simple, it’s probably best used in a context that suits its old school origin. The Duke was wary of…
Ambrosial
May 7 • 0 min
Ambrosial is an adjective that means fragrant or pleasant taste. Our word of the day comes from Greek mythology, where it meant ‘worthy of the gods.’ But it’s just fine to use ambrosial in a more mundane way, such as: the ambrosial scent of my new…
Amorist
May 6 • 0 min
Amorist is a noun that means someone who writes about love. Speakers of Spanish and Italian may be familiar with the words amor (ah MORE) and amore (ah MORE ay) that mean ‘love.’ They both have their roots in the Latin word amor (ah MORE). By adding the…
Asperse
May 5 • 0 min
Asperse is a verb that means to criticize or attack the character of someone. The Latin word aspergere (a SPARE ghere ay) means ‘to sprinkle’ or ‘to splatter.’ This may seem like an odd origin for a word that means ‘to attack someone’s character,’ but it…
Ophidian
May 4 • 0 min
Ophidian is an adjective that means pertaining to or having the characteristics of a snake. The Greek word for ‘snake’ is Ophia (OH fee uh) a word that, over the centuries has morphed into our word of the day. Ophidian may be used literally to refer to an…
Apodictic
May 3 • 0 min
Apodictic is an adjective that means clearly established or beyond dispute. The Greek word apodeiktikós (ap oh deek TEEK os) means ‘demonstrable.’ You could think of an apodictic fact as something that has been demonstrated to be true. After only a few…
Inculcate
May 2 • 0 min
Inculcate is a verb that means to instill (an idea). The Latin word calco (CAHL ko) means to ‘tread’ or ‘trample upon.’ The word’s meaning has shifted over the years to refer to instilling something in somebody’s head. Our job as teachers isn’t just to…
Irresolute
May 1 • 0 min
Irresolute is an adjective that means uncertain. The Latin word resolvere (ray sol VAIR ay) means resolved. From this we get resolute, meaning ‘determined’ and ‘unwavering.’ Our word of the day is the opposite. A person who is irresolute is wavering and…
Acquisitive
Apr 30 • 0 min
Acquisitive is an adjective that means excessively interested in acquiring money or material things. In Latin, acquiro (ah KWEE roe) means ‘to get’ or ‘obtain.’ The word’s distant relative acquisitive basically carries the same meaning, ‘excessively…
Vaunt
Apr 29 • 0 min
Vaunt is a verb that means to boast about or praise something excessively. The Latin word vanus (VAAH noos) means ‘vain,’ and that’s the birthplace of our word of the day, vaunt. The word later came to refer to praising someone excessively, usually in a…
Galoot
Apr 28 • 0 min
Galoot is a noun that means a clumsy or foolish person. It’s not clear which language galoot takes its origin from, but we know the word was first used to refer to inexperienced marines. It may be used playfully or abusively. I probably looked like a…
Erudite
Apr 27 • 0 min
The Latin word for ‘educate’ is erudio (air oo DEE oh). From this we get our word of the day. But It’s best not to use erudite in the everyday sense of the word ‘educated.’ Your twelve-year-old may be educated in their ABCs, but probably won’t be…
Malapert
Apr 26 • 0 min
Malapert is an adjective that means boldly disrespectful. Malapert combines the suffix ‘mal,’ meaning ‘badly,’ and ‘apert,’ meaning ‘skilled.’ It may help to think of a malapert person as badly skilled in all things social. After his malapert behavior at…
Toothsome
Apr 25 • 0 min
Toothsome is an adjective that means pleasing to taste or palatable. Coming from Old English, our word of the day combines the familiar word ‘tooth,’ which was often used to refer to a person’s appetite, with ‘some’, a suffix that means ‘tending to’ or…
Snarf
Apr 24 • 0 min
Snarf is a verb that means to eat or drink quickly or greedily. The precise origin of our word of the day isn’t known, but snarf may be one of many words that were born in an effort to imitate the sound made by the word’s action. In other words, when you…
Indwell
Apr 23 • 0 min
Indwell is a verb that means to be permanently present in someone’s mind. Our word of the day is a combination of two fairly common English words ‘in’ and ‘dwell.’ It may be best to think of it as a verb that basically means to ‘dwell in’ someone’s mind.…
Avulsion
Apr 22 • 0 min
Avulsion is a noun that means the act of pulling or tearing away. A combination of the Latin words for ‘from’ and ‘pluck’ give us avallere (ah val AIR ay). In time, this morphed into avulsion, meaning to pull or tear away. The word may be used literally…
Supernal
Apr 21 • 0 min
Supernal is an adjective that means related to the sky or the heavens. The Latin word supernus (soo PAIR noos) means above or superior. From that we get our word of the day which means anything that refers to the skies or heavens above us. My great…
Nescient
Apr 20 • 0 min
Nescient is an adjective that means lacking knowledge. The Latin word scire (SHE ray) for knowledge has given us lots of words related to knowledge. There’s science, conscience and omniscience to name a few. And there’s our word of the day, which,…
Puffery
Apr 19 • 0 min
Puffery is a noun that means false or exaggerated praise. The word puff, as in something you’d do into a balloon to blow it up, has its origin in Middle English. Like many words, it began as an effort to imitate the sound made while performing the act.…
Ineluctable
Apr 18 • 0 min
Ineluctable is an adjective that means not to be avoided or resisted. The Latin word luctari (LUKE tar ay) means to struggle. From this root comes ineluctable, which means something you can’t struggle free from. I was hoping I could get by without having…
Mordant
Apr 17 • 0 min
Mordant is an adjective that means having a sharp or critical manner. You may have heard the word mordacious used to describe a dog inclined to bite. Our word of the day is also derived from the word bite. Both words come from the Latin word Mordere (MORE…
Paragon
Apr 16 • 0 min
Paragon is a noun that means a model of excellence. The Greek word parakanon (pahr AHK uh non) means to sharpen. It later came to refer to a stone that was used to sharpen something, a touchstone. This made paragon a synonym of touchstone in the other…
Waggish
Apr 15 • 0 min
Waggish is an adjective that means playful or mischievous. Waggish comes to us from Old English. A Wagghalter is a now obsolete English word from centuries ago that referred to someone likely to be hanged — presumably from their playful for mischievous…
Aphorism
Apr 14 • 0 min
Aphorism is a noun that means a short observation that contains a general truth. Our word of the day comes to us directly from Ancient Greek. It may help to think of an aphorism as something you might hear from a wise ancient philosopher. I’m always…
Pontificate
Apr 13 • 0 min
Pontificate is a verb that means to express one’s opinion in a pompous way. Our word of the day comes to us from the Catholic Church through the Latin word pontifex (PONE tee fecks) meaning ‘high priest or bishop.’ In time it came to be used outside of…
Fabulist
Apr 12 • 0 min
Fabulist is a noun that means a person who invents elaborate and dishonest stories. Fabulist has its roots in the word fable, which comes to us from the Latin fabula (FAB oo la). It may refer either to a person who tells fables or a person who lies.…
Abience
Apr 11 • 0 min
Abience is a noun that means a strong urge to avoid something. Our word of the day comes from the Latin word abeo (AH bay oh) which means ‘to go away.’ Its descendent abience is commonly used in a psychological context, for example: the patient’s abience…
Philocaly
Apr 10 • 0 min
Philocaly is a noun that means a love of beauty. You may know from other words of Greek origin like philosophy and philomath that philocaly’s first five letters — PHILO — indicate a love of something. In this case it’s a love of beauty as ‘caly’ comes…
Sough
Apr 9 • 0 min
Sough is a verb that means to rustle, moan or sigh. Sough comes to us from Middle English. It looks and sounds a lot like the word ‘sigh,’ but sough is a broader word that may refer either to the sound coming from the lungs of an exasperated person or the…
Galere
Apr 8 • 0 min
Galere is a noun that means a group of undesirables. Galere comes from French, and you may be able to guess from the word’s spelling that it shares an ancestor with the word ‘gallery.’ It may help to think of a galere as a gallery of unpleasant people.…
Friable
Apr 7 • 0 min
Friable is an adjective that means easily broken or crumbled. Friable comes for the Latin word friabilis (free AH bee lees) meaning ‘crumble.’ A friable object can be easily crumbled or broken into many pieces. The guys in the moving van did a horrible…
Wifty
Apr 6 • 0 min
Wifty is an adjective that means light-headed or scatterbrained. It’s appropriate that our word of the day is a synonym of unclear. But its linguistic origin is unclear. But we do know that it was first used by an early twentieth century poet and novelist…
Alate
Apr 5 • 0 min
Alate is an adjective that means having wings. The Latin word Alatus (AH lah toos) is where our word of the day comes from. It’s mainly used to refer to insects or seeds. Before my trip to Florida, I’d never seen an alate ant. Having an ant flying toward…
Skeuomorph
Apr 4 • 0 min
Skeuomorph is a noun that means a digital object or feature that imitates a physical object. Our word of the day has its roots in Greek. It’s a combination of the word skeuos (SKYOO ohss) meaning ‘container’ and morphe (MORE fay) meaning ‘form.’ Together…
Métier
Apr 3 • 0 min
Métier is a noun that refers to an activity one is good at. As you might guess, metier (MAY tee ay) comes directly from the French. It may refer to a person’s career or just something they’re good at. I used to think I’d be great at golf if I ever tried…
Acolyte
Apr 2 • 0 min
Acolyte is a noun that means one who assists. Acolyte originated from the Greek work akolouthos (ah KOE loo thos) but it was the Catholic Church who popularized the term by using acolyte to describe someone who has been ordained to carry wine, water and…
Remuneration
Apr 1 • 0 min
Remuneration is a noun that means payment for a service or work. Our word of the day takes root in the Latin word remunera (ray MOON ay ruh) which means reward. Remuneration can mean the same as ‘payment,’ but its a broader word, that can refer to…
Nexus
Mar 31 • 0 min
Nexus is a noun that means a connection or link between two things. Our word of the day comes directly from Latin. Its pronunciation has changed over the years from NECK soos to NECK sis, but its meaning is the same. It refers to something that links two…
Melee
Mar 30 • 0 min
Melee is a noun that means a confused fight or struggle. Melee comes from the Latin word misceo (mish AY oh) which means a mix or a blend or various elements. You can think of a melee as an awkward mix of people engaged in a struggle or fight. What…
Jaunty
Mar 29 • 0 min
Jaunty is an adjective that means having a lively and self-confident manner. The French word gentil (ZHAN tee) means kind. From there we get jaunty whose meaning has shifted over the years to mean lively and a little cocky. Arnold’s jaunty demeanor can…
Carceral
Mar 28 • 0 min
Carceral is an adjective that means related to prison. Our word of the day may remind you of incarcerate — and for good reason. They both came from the Latin word Carcer (CAR cheh) which means jail or prison. Carceral is a broad term that means anything…
Peripeteia
Mar 27 • 0 min
Peripeteia (PAIR uh puh tay uh) is a noun that refers to a sudden reversal of fortune. Our word of the day comes directly from the Greeks. It’s derived from the words that mean ‘around’ and ‘fall.’ The Greeks used it often in tragedy, which would feature…
Mettlesome
Mar 26 • 0 min
Mettlesome is an adjective that means full of vigor and stamina. The root of our word of the day is mettle M-E-T-T-L-E. a 16th century, variation of metal — M-E-T-A-L, that means the same thing, but used in a more figurative sense. For example, a…
Refection
Mar 25 • 0 min
Refection is a noun that means refreshment by food or drink. Our word of the day began as the Latin word for ‘renew.’ Reficiere (REF ee chee air ay) that over time evolved into refection. I had a quick burger after work. It wasn’t a full meal, but it was…
Roborant
Mar 24 • 0 min
Roborant is an adjective that means having a strengthening or restorative effect. The latin word roboros (ro BORE ohs) means “I strengthen.” Its distant offspring roborant, refers to anything that has a strengthening effect. I took a really roborant nap…
Pugnacious
Mar 23 • 0 min
Pugnacious is an adjective that means likely to fight or quarrel. Pugno (POON yo) is the Latin word for ‘fight.’ It’s where we get words like pugilist, impugn and of course, our word of the day pugnacious. Martha can be a bit pugnacious when she doesn’t…
Rectitude
Mar 22 • 0 min
Rectitude is a noun that means morally correct behavior or thinking. The Latin word rectus (RECK toos) means straight or direct. From this we get our word of the day which is often used in a high-brow setting. The Lord and Lady’s rectitude is admired…
Parry
Mar 21 • 0 min
Parry is a a verb that means to ward off or evade. Our word of the day comes from Latin. The word parare (puh RAH ray) means ‘to ward off or defend.’ It’s a good word to use to describe someone in a fight — whether the fight is physical or verbal. I tried…
Hagridden
Mar 20 • 0 min
Hagridden is an adjective that means tormented by anxiety or stress. From Old Norse, the word hexe (HECKS uh) means witch. It’s also a distant cousin of the word ‘hag.’ Combine this with ridden and you get an adjective — hagridden — that means tormented…
Anodyne
Mar 19 • 0 min
Anodyne is a noun that means something that relieves distress or pain. The Greek word adodunos (ah no DOO noss) meaning ‘free from pain’ morphed over time, into anodyne, something that relieves stress or pain. It may refer literally to a medicine of some…
Paramnesia
Mar 18 • 0 min
Paramnesia is a noun that means a confusion of fact and fantasy. Paramnesia is a combination of a Greek word you’re probably already familiar with — Amnesia, meaning ‘loss of memory’ and the prefix ‘para’ which can mean a number of things depending on its…
Mondegreen
Mar 17 • 1 min
“Alexa, open Volley FM” Today’s word of the day is mondegreen. It’s spelled M-O-N-D-E-G-R-E-E-N. Mondegreen is a noun that means a misheard or misunderstood phrase. The word mondegreen was born with a 17th century poem called ‘The Bonnie Earl o’ Moray.’…
Comportment
Mar 16 • 0 min
“Alexa, open Volley FM” Today’s word of the day is comportment, C-O-M-P-O-R-T-M-E-N-T. Comportment is a noun that means carriage or bearing. Our word of the day comes directly from the French. It means something similar to — but not exactly the same as…
Treacle
Mar 15 • 0 min
“Alexa, open Volley FM” Today’s word of the day is treacle. It’s spelled T-R-E-A-C-L-E. Treacle is a noun that means sentimentality or flattery. The Latin word Theriaca (TER ee ah ca) referred to an antidote or cure, and as time went on, the word’s…
Valorous
Mar 14 • 0 min
“Alexa, open Volley FM” Today’s word of the day is valorous, V-A-L-O-R-O-U-S. Valorous is an adjective that means brave. The Latin word valor (val OR) means ‘to be strong.’ From that we get our word of the day. But be warned, this is a word that…
Rutilant
Mar 13 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is rutilant (ROO ti lant) R-U-T-I-L-A-N-T. Rutilant is an adjective than means glowing or glittering. Rutilus (ROO tee loose) is Latin for ‘reddish.’ Something described as rutilant is usually a glowing reddish color, for example:…
Polychromatic
Mar 12 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is polychromatic, P-O-L-Y-C-H-R-O-M-A-T-I-C. Polychromatic is an adjective that means multicolored. The Greek word polykhromos (poe lee CRO mose) combines the words for ‘many’ and ‘colors.’ Rhonda’s new polychromatic hairstyle…
Voluptuary
Mar 11 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is voluptuary, V-O-L-U-P-T-U-A-R-Y. Voluptuary is a noun that refers to a person devoted to a life of luxury and pleasure. The Latin word voluptus (vo LOOP toos) means ‘pleasure.’ From that we get voluptuary, a person who is deeply…
Rococo
Mar 10 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is rococo, R-O-C-O-C-O. Rococo is an adjective that means ornate. Coming from the Latin word roca (RO ca) meaning ‘stone,’ rococo originally referred to a specific style of architecture. People would later use the word to describe…
Estival
Mar 9 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is estival, E-S-T-I-V-A-L. Estival is an adjective that means belonging to or pertaining to summer. Don’t be fooled by our word of the day’s similarity to ‘festival.’ Estival, although closely related to festival, actual derives…
Shivoo
Mar 8 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is shivoo (SHI voo) S-H-I-V-O-O. Shivoo is a noun that means a party or celebration. Shivoo is an old 19th century word of unknown origin. Its best used describe an informal gathering. If you’re wearing a tuxedo to go there, it’s…
Pliskie - #533
Mar 7 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is Pliskie, P-L-I-S-K-I-E. Pliskie is a noun that means a mischievous trick. The origin of pliskie is unknown, but we do know it’s commonly used to describe a practical joke of some kind. I don’t understand why Corey was so upset…
Fusty - #532
Mar 6 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is fusty, F-U-S-T-Y. Fusty is an adjective than means old-fashioned or out-of-date. Fusty comes from an Old French word Fuste (fyoost) which meant “smelling of the cask.” A cask was a wooden case that would decay over time. Today…
Dekko - #531
Mar 5 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is dekko, D-E-K-K-O. Dekko is a noun that means a quick look or glance. Dekko has its origin in the Hindi word, Dekho (DE ko) that means ‘a look.’ It’s an informal word best used in contexts like: After quick dekko around, I…
Funambulism - #530
Mar 4 • 1 min
Today’s word of the day is funambulism, F-U-N-A-M-B-U-L-I-S-M. Funambulism is a noun that means tightrope walking or a display of mental agility. Tightrope walking was a highly popular spectacle in ancient Rome. So it’s no surprise that the language…
Supererogation - #529
Mar 3 • 1 min
Today’s word of the day is supererogation. It’s spelled S-U-P-E-R-E-R-O-G-A-T-I-O-N. Supererogation is a noun that means the act of performing more than is required. The Latin prefix ‘super’ means ‘over and above,’ but the second section of our word of…
Numinous - #528
Mar 2 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is numinous, N-U-M-I-N-O-U-S. Numinous is an adjective that means supernatural or mysterious. The Latin word numen (NOO men) for ‘divine will’ got things started, but the word numinous picked up steam in the seventeenth century,…
Vermicular - #527
Mar 1 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is vermicular. It’s spelled V-E-R-M-I-C-U-L-A-R. Vermicular is an adjective that means resembling a worm. If you look closely you’ll find a worm hidden in today’s word of the day. The root word is the Latin vermis (VER mis) which…
Comity - #526
Feb 28 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is comity, C-O-M-I-T-Y. Comity is a noun that means Friendly civility. Coming from the Latin word Comitus (KAAM uh tus) meaning courteousness, comity is often used in a formal settings and may sound out of place if used casually.…
Alterity - #525
Feb 27 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is alterity. It’s spelled A-L-T-E-R-I-T-Y. Alterity is a noun that means otherness. The Latin word alter (AHL ter) means the other and it has given us such words and phrases as alternative and alter ego. Alterity refers to the…
Sylvan - #524
Feb 26 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is sylvan, S-Y-L-V-A-N. Sylvan is an adjective that means located in the woods or Forrest. A sylvan creature is one that lurks in the forrest. If you’re familiar with Greek mythology you may think of the Greek god pan as such a…
Ululate - #523
Feb 25 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is ululate. It’s spelled U-L-U-L-A-T-E. Ululate is a verb that means to howl or wail. It’s very likely that the sound of wailing birds inspired the origin of the Latin word ululare (oo loo LAHR ay) which, of course, means, to wail.…
Pungle - #522
Feb 24 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is pungle. P-U-N-G-L-E. Pungle is a verb that means to make a payment or contribution of money. Derived from the Spanish word pongale (pon GAHL ay) pungle emerged in the mid nineteenth century in the American West. It’s frequently…
Psephology - #521
Feb 23 • 0 min
Today’s Word of the day is Psephology. It’s spelled P-S-E-P-H-O-L -O-G-Y. Psephology ia a noun that means the scientific study of elections. The Greeks gave us the word psephos (SEE fos) which means pebbles. Why pebbles? Because tiny rocks were used to…
Supercilious - #520
Feb 22 • 1 min
Today’s word of the day is supercilious, S-U-P-E-R-C-I-L-I-O-U-S. Supercilious is an adjective that means behaving as if one thinks one is superior to others. Super is often used as a word or prefix in a way that is admirable or positive. But supercilious…
Uxorial - #519
Feb 21 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is uxorial. It’s spelled U-X-O-R-I-A-L. Uxorial is an adjective that means related to the characteristics of a wife. The Latin word for wife is uxor (OOK sor). While the word can be used in any context that refers to a wife, it is…
Jocund - #518
Feb 20 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is jocund, J-O-C-U-N-D. Jocund is an adjective that means marked by high spirits. A good way to remember the meaning of jocund is to recall that the word is a distant relative of the word joke. Both are derived from iokus (YO coos)…
Manumit - #517
Feb 19 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day manumit. It’s spelled M-A-N-U-M-I-T. Manumit is a verb that means to release from slavery. The origin of manumit comes from two Latin words. There’s manu (MAH noo) and (ay MEET tay ray). Together they mean ‘send out from one’s…
Carrefour - #516
Feb 18 • 1 min
Today’s word of the day is carrefour, C-A-R-R-E-F-O-U-R. Carrefour is a noun that refers to a crossroads or a plaza. The key to grasping carrefour’s meaning and proper use is in the word ‘four.’ But it’s not what you think. The Latin word for four is…
Plenary - #515
Feb 17 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is plenary. It’s spelled P-L-E-N-A-R-Y. Plenary is an adjective that means complete in every aspect. Derived from the Latin word plenus (PLEE noos) meaning ‘full,’ plenary is frequently used to describe something such as a concert…
Cupidity - #514
Feb 16 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is cupidity, C-U-P-I-D-I-T-Y. Cupidity is a noun that means an inordinate desire for wealth. There’s a good chance that you spotted Cupid, the Roman god of love in the word cupidity. But don’t let that confuse you. Another way to…
Domiciliary - #513
Feb 15 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is domiciliary. It’s spelled D-O-M-I-C-I-L-I-A-R-Y. Domiciliary is an adjective that means related to or taking place in the home. You may recognize the word domicile in domiciliary. It comes from the Latin word domus (DOME oos)…
Aggrandize - #512
Feb 14 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is aggrandize, A-G-G-R-A-N-D-I-Z-E. Aggrandize is a verb that means to enlarge. Recognizing the word ‘grand’ in aggrandize is the key to understanding its meaning. coming from the French word agrandir (ah grahn DEER) meaning ‘to…
Scintilla - #511
Feb 13 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is Scintilla. It’s spelled S-C-I-N-T-I-L-L-A. Scintilla is a noun that means a brief spark. Scintilla is a direct descendant of the the Latin word for spark, scintilla (skeen TEEL ah). But over the years, its meaning has shifted…
Saporific - #510
Feb 12 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is saporific, S-A-P-O-R-I-F-I-C. Saporific is an adjective that means having the power to produce the sensation of taste. Sapor (SAP or) is the Latin word for ‘taste,’ while facare (fas SARE ay) gives us ‘make.’ Together we get…
Thrasonical - #509
Feb 11 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is thrasonical. It’s spelled T-H-R-A-S-O-N-I-C-A-L. Thrasonical is an adjective that means boastful or vainglorious. An Ancient Greek comedic play called Eunuchus (YOU nee cuss) featured a character whose name is the origin of our…
Transmogrify - #508
Feb 10 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is transmogrify, T-R-A-N-S-M-O-G-R-I-F-Y. Transmogrify is a verb that means to completely alter the form of. The precise origin of transmogrify is unclear, but there seems to be a similarity with words like transmigrate and…
Coxcomb - #507
Feb 9 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is coxcomb. It’s spelled C-O-X-C-O-M-B. Coxcomb is a noun that means a foolish or conceited man. This word of Middle English descent refers to the comb on top of a rooster’s head. And just as we often think of a rooster as…
Commodious - #506
Feb 8 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is commodious, C-O-M-M-O-D-I-O-U-S. Commodious is an adjective that means roomy and spacious. The Latin word Commodus (COM oh doos) means ‘useful’ and, true to its definition, it has been very useful at producing important English…
Volitant - #505
Feb 7 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is volitant. It’s spelled V-O-L-I-T-A-N-T. Volitant is an adjective that means having the power of flight. Believe it or not, a word that describes a creature’s ability to fly is related to the word volatile. They both come from…
Resplendent - #504
Feb 6 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is resplendent, R-E-S-P-L-E-N-D-E-N-T. Resplendent is an adjective that means shiny and colorful; pleasing to the eye. The Latin splendere (splen DARE ay) means to shine. It’s related to many words like splendid, splendor and, of…
Eudemonic - #504
Feb 5 • 0 min
Matutinal - #503
Feb 4 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is matutinal, M-A-T-U-T-I-N-A-L. Matutinal is an adjective that means related to or occurring in the early morning. Matuta (Ma TOO ta) is the Roman Goddess of Dawn. Her name derives from Latin and she gave birth to our word of the…
Autoschediasm - #502
Feb 3 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is autoschediasm. It’s spelled A-U-T-O-S-C-H-E-D-I-A-S-M. Autoschediasm is a noun that means anything done with little forethought or preparation. The Greek word for something done off hand schediasm (ske DIE asm) is where our word…
Aegis - #501
Feb 2 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is aegis, A-E-G-I-S. Aegis is a noun that means protection. Although aegis comes directly from Latin, its true origin is in Greek mythology. The word began life as a reference to the shield of Athena. From there, aegis came to…
Degust - #500
Feb 1 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is degust. It’s spelled D-E-G-U-S-T. Degust is a verb that means to savor something fully. The Latin word for taste is degusto (DAY goose toe). But how do we decide when degust is the word we want rather than ‘taste’? When we…
Knavery - #499
Jan 31 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is knavery, K-N-A-V-E-R-Y. Knavery is a noun that means a roguish or mischievous act. If you’re familiar with Shakespeare, you’ve heard many people referred to as a knave. You may have noticed that the word is never intended as a…
Selcouth - #498
Jan 30 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day selcouth. It’s spelled S-E-L-C-O-U-T-H. Selcouth is an adjective that means unusual, strange. Selcouth is derived from an Old English combination of words that meant ‘seldom’ and ‘known.’ So our word of the day can simply mean that…
Pleonasm - #497
Jan 29 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is pleonasm, P-L-E-O-N-A-S-M. Pleonasm is a noun that means the excessive use of words. Our word of the day began in Ancient Greece. The word pleonasmós (play on ESS moss) meant “I am superfluous.” Today pleonasm refers to a…
Sibylline - #496
Jan 28 • 1 min
Today’s word of the day is sibylline. It’s spelled S-I-B-Y-L-L-I-NE. Sibylline is an adjective that means mysterious. History buffs may recall a figure known as the Cumaean Sybil, a priestess who presided over the Appollonian oracle at a Greek colony. Her…
Adust - #495
Jan 27 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is adust, A-D-U-S-T. Adust is an adjective that means scorched or burned. Adustus (AHH doos toos) is the Latin word for scorched. It has traditionally been used in a medical context, but may also be used to describe an item that…
Lucubration - #494
Jan 26 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is lucubration. It’s spelled L-U-C-U-B-R-A-T-I-O-N. Lucubration is a noun that means laborious or intensive study. The Latin word Lucubro (loo COO bro) means ‘to study by lamplight or candle light.’ Although our word of the day’s…
Riant - #493
Jan 25 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is giant, R-I-A-N-T. Riant is an adjective that means cheerful or happy. Riant comes directly from France where it means ‘laughing.’ The word happy may refer to a long-term condition as in ‘he lived a happy life’ or it may simply…
Gallinaceous - #492
Jan 24 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is gallinaceous. It’s spelled G-A-L-L-I-N-A-C-E-O-U-S. Gallinaceous is an adjective that means related to or resembling turkeys, chicken or other domestic fowl. The Latin word gallina (guh LEE nah) refers to a hen, but gallinaceous…
Etiolate - #491
Jan 23 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is etiolate, E-T-I-O-L-A-T-E. Etiolate is a verb that means to drain or make weak. The French have generously donated the word etiolator (ay tee oh LAY) to our language. it has since undergone renovation to become etiolate. It…
Iconoclast - #490
Jan 22 • 1 min
Today’s word of the day is iconoclast. It’s spelled I-C-O-N-O-C-L-A-S-T. Iconoclast is a noun that means a person who attacks settled customs or institutions. You may you know the icon as referring to an object or person of uncritical devotion. It came…
Byzantine - #489
Jan 21 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is Byzantine, B-Y-Z-A-N-T-I-N-E. Byzantine is an adjective that means elaborate and complex. Historian recall the Byzantine empire as one riddled with elaborate and complex rules. A Byzantine process is difficult to get through. I…
Lenity - #488
Jan 20 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is lenity. It’s spelled L-E-N-I-T-Y. Lenity is a noun that means the state of being mild or gentle. The Latin word lenitas (lay NEE tas) means mild or gentle, and our word of the day hasn’t drifted very far from its ancient origin.…
Sisyphean - #487
Jan 19 • 1 min
Today’s word of the day is sisyphean, S-I-S-Y-P-H-E-A-N. Sisyphean is an adjective that means endless. The myth of Sisyphus is an ancient Greek tale of a King whose punishment for deceitful behavior was to be forced to roll an giant rock up a hill only to…
Eximious - #486
Jan 18 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is eximous. It’s spelled E-X-I-M-I-O-U-S. Eximious is an adjective that means distinguished. The Latin word eximius (ex EEM ee oos) means ‘set apart’ or ‘select.’ As you might guess, eximious is not a word to toss around casually.…
Burble - #485
Jan 17 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is burble, B-U-R-B-L-E. Burble is a verb that means to speak in an excited manner. The Middle English word for bubble is burblen. From there our word of the day was born. It is best used to describe someone whose excited speech has…
Beamish - #484
Jan 16 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is beamish. It’s spelled B-E-A-M-I-S-H. Beamish is an adjective that means bright with optimism. Coming from the English word beam, which may refer to a ray or light or the act of smiling, beamish is an upbeat word that describes…
Agrapha - #483
Jan 15 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is agrapha, A-G-R-A-P-H-A. Agrapha is a noun that means famous sayings that are falsely attributed. A word borrowed from Greek that referred to sayings of Jesus not in the canonical gospels but found in other New testament or early…
Garboil - #482
Jan 14 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is garboil. It’s spelled G-A-R-B-O-I-L. Garboil is a noun that means a confused or disordered state. The Latin word bullire (boo LEE ray) means to boil or liquify. The image of a boiling pot of water perfectly captures the kind of…
Agog - #481
Jan 13 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is agog. It’s spelled A-G-O-G. Agog is an adjective that means full of interest or excitement. The origin of agog seems to be the French phrase en gogues (en GOG) which means in good humor. But agog’s meaning has shifted a little…
Legerity - #480
Jan 12 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is legerity, L-E-G-E-R-I-T-Y. Legerity is a noun that means alert quickness of mind and body. The Latin word Levis (LEV ees) means light, as in ‘light on your feet.’ This is a good way to think of legerity. As a younger man, the…
Instantiate - #479
Jan 11 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is instantiate. It’s spelled I-N-S-T-A-N-T-I-A-T-E. Instantiate is a verb that means to represent by a concrete example. Instantiate is derived from a the Latin word Instantia (een sta TEE uh) which means counterexample. Centuries…
Crocodilian - #478
Jan 10 • 1 min
Today’s word of the day is crocodilian, C-R-O-C-O-D-I-L-I-A-N. Crocodilian is an adjective that means hypocritical or insincere. If you recognize the word crocodile in our word of the day, you can probably guess that crocodilian means ‘related to or like…
Esperance - #477
Jan 9 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is esperance. It’s spelled E-S-P-E-R-A-N-C-E. Esperance is a noun that means hope or expectation. The French word esperance (es pair AHHNS) is the ancestor of our word of the day. It’s a more formal word for ‘hope’ or ‘expect’ and…
Flackery - #476
Jan 8 • 1 min
Today’s word of the day is flackery, F-L-A-C-K-E-R-Y. Flackery is a noun that means promotion or publicity. The exact origin of flack, meaning ‘a press agent’ or ‘one who provides publicity,’ is unknown. But the rumor mill suggests the it comes from a…
Oscitant - #475
Jan 7 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is oscitant. It’s spelled O-S-C-I-T-A-N-T. Oscitant is an adjective that means drowsy. Coming directly from the Latin word Oscitans (Oh ski TAN) which means sluggish, oscitant can be used to describe the state of being sleepy or…
Vespertine - #473
Jan 5 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is vespertine. It’s spelled V-E-S-P-E-R-T-I-N-E. Vespertine is an adjective that means happening in the evening. Vespertinus (ves pair TEEN oos) the Latin word for evening is where our word of the day began its life. vespertine is…
Catholicon - #474
Jan 5 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is catholicon, C-A-T-H-O-L-I-C-O-N. Catholicon is a noun that means a panacea or cure-all. Although our word of the day has nothing to do with religion, it has a connection with Catholicism. Both catholicon and catholic derive from…
Adscititious - #472
Jan 4 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is adscititious. It’s spelled A-D-S-C-I-T-I-T-I-O-U-S. Adscititious means coming from the outside. Adscititious is derived from the Latin word adscsicere (ad she SHERE ray) which means ‘to admit’ or ‘to adopt.’ Adscititious is a…
Dulcet - #471
Jan 3 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is dulcet, D-U-L-C-E-T. Dulcet is an adjective that means pleasing to taste or hear. Our word of the day is a versatile one that may be used in a wide range of contexts. Dulcet comes from the Latin Dulcis (DOOL chees) that simply…
Perquisite - #470
Jan 2 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is perquisite. It’s spelled P-E-R-Q-U-I-S-I-T-E. Perquisite is a noun that means a privilege or profit made in addition to regular pay. The Latin verb quarere (KWA were ay)which means ‘to ask’ has given birth to many commonly used…
Raillery - #469
Jan 1 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is raillery, R-A-I-L-L-E-R-Y. Raillery is a noun that means good natured ridicule. You may have noticed the word rail embedded in our word of the day. The two words do share a common ancestor in the Latin word ragere (rah GER ay).…
Emblazon - #468
Dec 31, 2018 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is emblazon. It’s spelled E-M-B-L-A-Z-O-N. Emblazon is a verb that means to celebrate or extol. Emblazon got its start with the Anglo-French word blazon (BLAY son) which referred to a heraldic coat of arms, something intended to…
Impute - #467
Dec 30, 2018 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is impute, I-M-P-U-T-E. Impute is a verb that means to lay the responsibility or blame for. The latin word imputo (eem POO toe) means to lay to a charge. Impute is similar to words like ascribe and attribute, but it is typically…
Trammel - #466
Dec 29, 2018 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is trammel, T-R-A-M-M-E-L Trammel is a verb that means to restraint freedom. The Latin word for three, tr─ôs (tray ss) may seem like an unusual origin for trammel, but keep in mind that a trammel is the name of a fishing net with…
Lachrymose - #465
Dec 29, 2018 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is lachrymose. It’s spelled L-A-C-H-R-Y-M-O-S-E. Lachrymose is an adjective that means tending to cause tears. Our word of the day has its origin in lacrima (LAA Cree ma) the Latin word for tear. Lachrymose may refer to someone or…
Sublimate - #464
Dec 27, 2018 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is sublimate, S-U-B-L-I-M-A-T-E Sublimate is a verb that means to direct the expression of a desire or an impulse to a more socially acceptable one. When a person sublimates a base impulse for something more acceptable, you could…
Aesopian - #463
Dec 26, 2018 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is Aesopian. It’s spelled A-E-S-O-P-I-A-N. Aesopian is an adjective that means conveying an innocent meaning to an outsider but a hidden meaning to others. Aesop’s fables are well known for containing a hidden meaning or moral…
Climacteric - #462
Dec 25, 2018 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is climacteric. It’s spelled C-L-I-M-A-C-T-E-R-I-C. Climacteric is a noun that means a major turning point. The word klimakter (KLEE mack ter) comes from Ancient Greek. It’s literal translation is ‘rung on a ladder,’ which may be…
Ruction - #461
Dec 24, 2018 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is ruction, R-U-C-T-I-O-N. Ruction is a noun that means a disturbance. The precise origin of ruction is unclear. It seems to be a shortening of insurrection. But while insurrection is a more specific term that refers to something…
Doughty - #460
Dec 23, 2018 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is doughty. It’s spelled D-O-U-G-H-T-Y. Doughty is an adjective that means valiant. A word of Old English derivation, doughty may sound out of place If used in a contemporary context. It’s probably best to use it in reference to…
Perpend - #459
Dec 22, 2018 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is perpend, P-E-R-P-E-N-D. Perpend is a verb that means to ponder. The Latin word word perpendere (Per PEN dare ay), which means ‘to weigh’ may seem like a strange origin for a word that means ‘to ponder.’ But keep in mind that…
Megrim - #456
Dec 21, 2018 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is megrim. It’s spelled M-E-G-R-I-M. Megrim is a noun that means dizziness or vertigo. Although it’s often used as a synonym of migraine, megrim is actually a broader term that may refer to dizziness in the head as well as the…
Marginalia - #457
Dec 20, 2018 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is marginalia, M-A-R-G-I-N-A-L-I-A. Marginalia is a noun that means nonessential items. You probably recognize the word margin, a word that, when used figuratively, may refer to a line that separates inclusion and exclusion from a…
Pelf - #456
Dec 19, 2018 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is pelf. It’s spelled P-E-L-F. Pelf is a noun that means money or riches. Pelf is derived from the Anglo-French word pelfre (PEL free) which means ‘stolen money.’ The English word pilfer (‘to steal’) is also a descendent of pelfre.…
Perspicacious - #455
Dec 18, 2018 • 1 min
Today’s word of the day is perspicacious, P-E-R-S-P-I-C-A-C-I-O-U-S. Perspicacious is an adjective that means keen or of acute mental vision. The Latin word perspicere (PAIR spee care ay) got things started with a word that meant ‘to look through’ or ‘to…
Homiletic -#454
Dec 17, 2018 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is homiletic. It’s spelled H-O-M-I-E-T-I-C. Homiletic is an adjective that means related to preaching. Our word of the day’s journey begins with the Ancient Greek word homilos (HO me los) which meant crowd or assembly. This word…
Predial - #453
Dec 16, 2018 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is predial, P-R-E-D-I-A-L. Predial is an adjective that means related to land or its products. Derived from the Latin word for estate, Praedium (PRAY dee um), predial is frequently used in a legal context, such as: The records show…
Cassandra - #452
Dec 15, 2018 • 1 min
Today’s word of the day us Cassandra. It’s spelled C-A-S-S-A-N-D-R-A. Cassandra means one who predicts misfortune. Understanding the origin of the word Cassandra, requires a quick lesson in Greek mythology. Cassandra was a character who, after rejecting…
Harbinger - #451
Dec 14, 2018 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is harbinger, H-A-R-B-I-N-G-E-R. Harbinger is a noun that means one that foreshadows what is about to come. In Medieval English the word harbinger referred to a person who went ahead of his fellow travelers to find lodging. The…
Unctuous - #450
Dec 13, 2018 • 1 min
Today’s word of the day is unctuous. It’s spelled U-N-C-T-U-O-U-S. Unctuous is an adjective that means insincerely smooth. The Latin word for anoint, Unguere (oon GWAY ray) is where unctuous’s journey begins. But a better way to understand the word’s…
Tutelage - #449
Dec 12, 2018 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is tutelage, T-U-T-E-L-A-G-E. Tutelage is a noun that means guiding influence. The Latin word tueri (too AIR ee) means to guard. But as often happens to words of ancient origin, its meaning shifted over time, and words derived from…
Bathetic - #448
Dec 11, 2018 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is bathetic. It’s spelled B-A-T-H-E-T-I-C. Bathetic means trite or sentimental. Loosely connected to the similar sounding pathetic, bathetic has its roots in Ancient Greek. Pathos comes from a Greek word meaning ‘evoking pity,’…
Deportment - #424
Nov 19, 2018 • 1 min
Today’s word of the day is deportment. It’s spelled D-E-P-O-R-T-M-E-N-T. Deportment is a noun that means behavior; the way one conducts oneself. The French word for ‘to carry away,’ deporter (day por TAY) gives us the origin of deportment. It also gives…
Blithesome - #423
Nov 18, 2018 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is blithesome, B-L-I-T-H-E-S-O-M-E. Blithesome is an adjective that means cheerful and happy. A combination of the Old English word blithe that simply means happy and the suffix ‘some’ that indicates ‘a tendency toward’ — as in…
Nimiety - #411
Nov 7, 2018 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is nimiety. It’s spelled N-I-M-I-E-T-Y. Nimiety is a noun that means an excess or redundancy (of something). The Latin word for ‘excessive’ is nimietas (nuh MY uh tus) but don’t confuse nimiety for ‘excessive’ in the pejorative…
Allegiant - #285
Jul 1, 2018 • 0 min
Today’s word of the day is allegiant. Allegiant is an adjective that means faithful or loyal. It’s spelled A-L-L-E-G-I-A-N-T. Fred is an allegiant employee. He’s been with us for seventeen years takes his duty seriously and has never once been tempted to…
Wamfle
Mar 9, 2018 • 0 min
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