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Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day

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

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

Location:

Springfield, MA

Description:

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

Twitter:

@mwword

Language:

English


Episodes

ebullient

4/22/2021
ebullient • \ih-BULL-yunt\ • adjective 1 : boiling, agitated 2 : characterized by ebullience : having or showing liveliness and enthusiasm Examples: "Coach Kristen Kirkman, who guided the Bulldogs' boys and girls, is ebullient about her junior class, which she hopes can take the program even beyond last season's Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association finishes of fifth for boys and fourth for girls." — Sonny Dearth, The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Virginia), 14 Jan....

Duration:00:01:37

touchstone

4/21/2021
touchstone • \TUTCH-stohn\ • noun 1 : a fundamental or quintessential part or feature : basis 2 : a test or criterion for determining the quality or genuineness of a thing 3 : a black siliceous stone related to flint and used to test the purity of gold and formerly silver by the streak left on the stone when rubbed by the metal Examples: "Reviewers mocked the movie 'Love Story,' but it was among the biggest box office hits of its time and became a cultural touchstone, especially...

Duration:00:01:57

adulate

4/20/2021
adulate • \AJ-uh-layt\ • verb 1 a : to praise effusively and slavishly : flatter excessively : fawn upon b : to pay homage to without exercising a critical sense of values 2 : to admire or be devoted to abjectly and excessively Examples: A portrait of the family patriarch, a man adulated by the public but generally feared by his family, hung above the mantle. "At his career's start, Elvis Presley was feted as a musical pioneer and adulated by millions of adoring fans captivated...

Duration:00:01:56

chlamys

4/19/2021
chlamys • \KLAM-us\ • noun : a short oblong mantle worn by young men of ancient Greece Examples: "Perhaps her effect on him was as despotic and intoxicating as the poets claimed. Rumors reached Rome that he had abandoned his toga for the Greek chlamys; that she reviewed his troops with a bodyguard of Praetorians; that he followed her litter humbly on foot…." — Judith Thurman, Cleopatra's Nose, 2007 "Ann Moore displays a black-and-white photo in a 1953 issue of Vogue magazine of a...

Duration:00:02:03

forfend

4/18/2021
forfend • \for-FEND\ • verb 1 a archaic : forbid b : to ward off : prevent 2 : protect, preserve Examples: "All too often, the selfie is looked down upon with condescension, viewed as the narcissist's calling card, treated with scorn and disdain. But why? Heaven forfend we show evidence of loving ourselves." — Rachel Thompson, Mashable, 24 Dec. 2020 "Juvenile birds left on a quest for their own feeding grounds, to avoid competition with parents and siblings. Going out on their...

Duration:00:01:54

purloin

4/17/2021
purloin • \per-LOYN\ • verb : to appropriate wrongfully and often by a breach of trust Examples: "A comfortable career of prosperity, if it does not make people honest, at least keeps them so. An alderman coming from a turtle feast will not step out of his carriage to steal a leg of mutton; but put him to starve, and see if he will not purloin a loaf." — William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair, 1848 "White Fox, played with brisk, exemplary swagger by Hsu Feng, is a master thief...

Duration:00:02:18

lodestone

4/16/2021
lodestone • \LOHD-stohn\ • noun 1 : magnetite possessing polarity 2 : something that strongly attracts Examples: "… the city was a lodestone of rock-and-roll and rhythm-and-blues innovation." — John Beifuss, The Memphis (Tennessee) Commercial Appeal, 2 Nov. 2020 "[Britney] Spears … became a vessel for our intense emotions, but in the process, she would also become a lodestone for criticism of an entire generation's tastes and habits." — Craig Jenkins, Vulture, 17 Feb. 2021 Did...

Duration:00:02:01

obstreperous

4/15/2021
obstreperous • \ub-STREP-uh-rus\ • adjective 1 : marked by unruly or aggressive noisiness : clamorous 2 : stubbornly resistant to control : unruly Examples: "Throughout a long career, [Lawrence Ferlinghetti] showed courage, taste and willingness to put up with sometimes obstreperous writers for the sake of literature. He first won widespread renown by publishing Allen Ginsberg's 'Howl' and defending the book in a court case in 1957 when it was declared obscene." — Benjamin Ivry,...

Duration:00:02:30

discomfit

4/14/2021
discomfit • \diss-KUM-fit\ • verb 1 : to put into a state of perplexity and embarrassment : disconcert 2 a : to frustrate the plans of : thwart b archaic : to defeat in battle Examples: Jacob was discomfited by the new employee's forward, probing questions. "Upon entering the theater, the audience is immediately discomfited by the set; it is a portrait of devastation. Aaron Benson’s scenic design is a beautiful and chaotic vision of decay: two towering tenements whose brick walls...

Duration:00:02:48

minatory

4/13/2021
minatory • \MIN-uh-tor-ee\ • adjective : having a menacing quality Examples: "Then the squirrel seemed to notice Vinnie; to turn a minatory black eye toward him. The eye extended out from its head an inch or two on a little silvery stalk and tilted this way and that." — John Shirley, Crawlers, 2003 "In 'Wonderland,' a retired ballerina named Orla Moreau (H.G. Wells-reference alert!) and her husband, a lifelong dilettante named Shaw, move their two young kids from Manhattan to the...

Duration:00:01:58

gallant

4/12/2021
gallant • \GAL-unt\ • adjective 1 : showy in dress or bearing : smart 2 a : splendid, stately b : spirited, brave c : nobly chivalrous and often self-sacrificing 3 : courteously and elaborately attentive Examples: "But travel-stained though he was, he was well and even richly attired, and without being overdressed looked a gallant gentleman." — Charles Dickens, Barnaby Rudge, 1841 "A gallant collection of four seniors, one junior and one freshman combined to score 268 of the...

Duration:00:02:12

drub

4/11/2021
drub • \DRUB\ • verb 1 : to beat severely 2 : to berate critically 3 : to defeat decisively Examples: Morale after the game was low: the hometown team had been drubbed by the worst team in the league. "After getting drubbed by a combined 65 points, the Warriors beat two winless teams—Chicago and Detroit—and started to learn how they need to play." — Wes Goldberg, The Mercury News (San Jose, California), 1 Jan. 2021 Did you know? Sportswriters often use drub, but the term's...

Duration:00:01:29

fatuous

4/10/2021
fatuous • \FATCH-oo-us\ • adjective : complacently or inanely foolish : silly Examples: "You would have to be an inattentive person never to have noticed the incongruity between the well-informed but fatuous opinions of your forward-thinking peers on the one hand, and the simple but wise judgments of your parents or grandparents on the other." — Barton Swaim, Commentary, November 2020 "Jules Feiffer's cartoons in the Village Voice, which started appearing in 1956, made fun of the...

Duration:00:02:04

vendetta

4/9/2021
vendetta • \ven-DET-uh\ • noun 1 : a feud between different clans or families : blood feud 2 : an often prolonged series of retaliatory, vengeful, or hostile acts or exchange of such acts Examples: "In the pilot episode of Superman & Lois, The CW series introduced a mysterious villain known as the Stranger. While this villain kept his identity a secret, he had a personal vendetta against Superman and planned on taking him out for good." — Ian Cardona, Comic Book Resources...

Duration:00:01:48

savvy

4/8/2021
savvy • \SAV-ee\ • verb : to understand Examples: "The agency's Denver office sent Siringo, who savvied some Spanish, to Santa Fe." — Ollie Reed Jr., The Albuquerque (New Mexico) Tribune, 30 June 2001 "And kudos to Stan for the sensitivity. Savvying the tension between Ted and Peggy, Stan offers a sincere, 'Buck up chief.'" — Marisa Nadolny, The Day (New London, Connecticut), 18 Apr. 2014 Did you know? While the noun savvy, meaning "practical know-how" (as in "her political...

Duration:00:01:51

brusque

4/7/2021
brusque • \BRUSK\ • adjective 1 : markedly short and abrupt 2 : blunt in manner or speech often to the point of ungracious harshness Examples: "'Where are you getting all this?' Dinah asked, drawing startled or disapproving glances from a few who worried that she was being too brusque with the boss. 'It's only been, what, four hours?'" — Neal Stephenson, Seveneves, 2015 "Archaeologists look down on him because of his working-class background, and his brusque manner hasn't won him...

Duration:00:01:37

hoosegow

4/6/2021
hoosegow • \HOOSS-gow\ • noun US, informal + humorous : jail Examples: "Lee Young-ae stars as a woman released from prison after serving time for a murder she didn't commit; no sooner is she out of the hoosegow than she begins her quest to hunt down the real murderers." — G. Allen Johnson, The San Francisco Chronicle, 6 Oct. 2020 "Even in beach communities, 'No shoes? No shirt? Then no service' rules are common. Many restaurants and other establishments have even stricter...

Duration:00:01:43

reputation

4/5/2021
reputation • \rep-yuh-TAY-shun\ • noun 1 a : overall quality or character as seen or judged by people in general b : recognition by other people of some characteristic or ability 2 : a place in public esteem or regard : good name Examples: "It takes a lot of bravery to host a global conference online for the very first time, and exhibitors needed to apply what they've learned in digital communications, reputation, how to drive online buzz, and how to create relevant engagement...

Duration:00:02:36

hare

4/4/2021
hare • \HAIR\ • verb : to go swiftly : tear Examples: "I was just in time to see a feller in motorcycle gear pull away from the wire and run down the street. The dogs hared off after him." — Liza Cody, Bucket Nut, 1992 "Take the recent frenzy around the Super Bowl, or more specifically, that clip of The Weeknd desperately haring around a mirror maze, wild-eyed and wobbly legged. Everyone and their dog on Twitter has been doing their best to chip in with a good 'me, when…'...

Duration:00:02:11

moxie

4/3/2021
moxie • \MAHK-see\ • noun 1 : energy, pep 2 : courage, determination 3 : know-how Examples: "On offense, the Giants need more speed, more talent, more explosive plays, more creativity, more power, more moxie. More everything." — Paul Schwartz, The New York Post, 21 Feb. 2021 "Ideally the Legislature, on a bipartisan basis, would summon the political moxie to allow robust competition between the research universities and the community colleges for baccalaureate degrees. If that's...

Duration:00:01:38