Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day-logo

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day

Language Learning

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

importunate

5/11/2021
importunate • \im-POR-chuh-nut\ • adjective 1 : troublesomely urgent : overly persistent in request or demand 2 : troublesome Examples: "It seems apt that in the play's first scene, set at 6 a.m. in Lagos, Nigeria, an importunate young customer asks the barber he's so rudely awakened to give him an 'aerodynamic' cut." — Ben Brantley, The New York Times, 4 Dec. 2019 "But when I spoke to Nadella he allowed that when you see people in their homes, with their noisy children and...

Duration:00:02:00

shrive

5/10/2021
shrive • \SHRYVE\ • verb 1 : to administer the sacrament of reconciliation to 2 : to free from guilt Examples: "Once every three months, Pancho took his savings and drove into Monterey to confess his sins, to do his penance, and be shriven and to get drunk, in the order named." — John Steinbeck, The Pastures of Heaven, 1932 "Each Saturday he confessed humbly at St Francis' Church, then shrived penitents for long hours at the cathedral, never stinting his homilies." — James...

Duration:00:02:11

paean

5/9/2021
paean • \PEE-un\ • noun 1 : a joyous song or hymn of praise, tribute, thanksgiving, or triumph 2 : a work that praises or honors its subject : encomium, tribute Examples: "But Thornton Wilder's 'Our Town,' set amid the mountains there, is no folksy paean to simplicity. It's a boldly experimental play about the beauty of the everyday, and human beings' tragic propensity to look right past that." — Laura Collins-Hughes, The New York Times, 6 Jan. 2021 "Adam Grant, an organizational...

Duration:00:01:51

frugal

5/8/2021
frugal • \FROO-gul\ • adjective : characterized by or reflecting economy in the use of resources Examples: "Frugal diners might prefer hitting Ulrich's on Monday nights, when all burgers are $3 off. It's one of the best deals Downtown, or anywhere in town." — Nick Vlahos, The Peoria (Illinois) Journal Star, 1 Mar. 2021 "But a frugal lifestyle doesn't have to mean a deprived lifestyle. In fact, I've managed to whittle down my spending and boost my savings by making a few simple but...

Duration:00:01:57

archipelago

5/7/2021
archipelago • \ahr-kuh-PEL-uh-goh\ • noun 1 : an expanse of water with many scattered islands 2 : a group of islands 3 : something resembling an archipelago; especially : a group or scattering of similar things Examples: "The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,100 islands, is recognized globally as a megadiverse nation and a biodiversity hotspot." — The Carnegie Museum of Natural History, 30 Mar. 2021 "For those who have the choice, an island is a place to go to simplify...

Duration:00:01:58

deep-six

5/6/2021
deep-six • \DEEP-SIKS\ • verb 1 : to get rid of : discard, eliminate 2 slang : to throw overboard Examples: Citing budget concerns, the city council announced that it has deep-sixed plans to repave the city's bike trails. "The movement impressed the Clinton White House, which began drafting an executive order mandating plain language in government—until an administration attorney deep-sixed the idea because he did not find the mission suitably 'magisterial.'" — Evan Halper, The...

Duration:00:02:15

sprightly

5/5/2021
sprightly • \SPRYTE-lee\ • adjective 1 : marked by a gay lightness and vivacity : spirited 2 : having a distinctively piquant taste : zesty Examples: "It began with a sprightly melody, exact and almost priggish, which seemed an absurd contrast to the surroundings. People should have been … tiptoeing in fancy dress." — Alix Ohlin, Dual Citizens, 2019 "My chicken dish gained flavor from the liquid I used to poach it in. After I thickened it with a cornstarch slurry, that same liquid...

Duration:00:02:03

succumb

5/4/2021
succumb • \suh-KUM\ • verb 1 : to yield to superior strength or force or overpowering appeal or desire 2 : to be brought to an end (such as death) by the effect of destructive or disruptive forces Examples: "Of all the food experiences I have missed in the last year, one stands out: my regular trip to a falafel stall on the edge of London's Shepherd's Bush Market. It sold the greatest falafels I've ever tasted: crisp and crunchy on the outside, succumbing to a fluffy interior,...

Duration:00:02:22

conciliatory

5/3/2021
conciliatory • \kun-SILL-yuh-tor-ee\ • adjective : tending to win over from a state of hostility or distrust : intended to gain the goodwill or favor of someone Examples: As the irate customer yelled, the manager adopted a soothing, conciliatory tone and promised that the situation would be remedied. "Then you have the situations in Green Bay and Seattle where veterans with Super Bowl wins and Hall of Fame resumes have expressed their feelings about their teams' direction. Green...

Duration:00:01:48

abjure

5/2/2021
abjure • \ab-JOOR\ • verb 1 formal a : to renounce upon oath b : to reject solemnly 2 formal : to abstain from : avoid Examples: "Pop was indeed eating itself. 'If you've gone eight bars and there hasn't been an inanity,' argued [musician Green Gartside], 'it's time for a "baby" or an "ooh" or a "love" or something.' Perhaps the Pixies 1989 song 'La La Love You' takes this to its logical conclusion, abjuring all lyrics except repeated declarations of love, the 'maybes' and the...

Duration:00:01:56

fustian

5/1/2021
fustian • \FUSS-chun\ • noun 1 a : a strong cotton and linen fabric b : a class of cotton fabrics usually having a pile face and twill weave 2 : high-flown or affected writing or speech; broadly : anything high-flown or affected in style Examples: "In 1798, William Wordsworth arrived from Bristol at the cottage of his friend, Samuel Taylor Coleridge…. Twenty-five years later, William Hazlitt, who was also in residence at the time, still remembered his first sight of the future...

Duration:00:02:15

dross

4/30/2021
dross • \DRAHSS\ • noun 1 : the scum or unwanted material that forms on the surface of molten metal 2 : waste or foreign matter : impurity 3 : something that is base, trivial, or inferior Examples: "From King John's compulsion by feudal lords to sign the Magna Carta to the execution of King Charles by Parliamentarian forces, English governance was forged, with the dross constantly falling away, in situations as real and uncertain as in our time." — Douglas D. Ford, The Atlanta...

Duration:00:01:56

amicable

4/29/2021
amicable • \AM-ih-kuh-bul\ • adjective : characterized by friendly goodwill : peaceable Examples: "Those two weeks in the high country passed with the most amicable feeling between us, and it was not until the last day that Layton showed the unpleasant side of his personality that we all knew existed." — Shannon Burke, Into the Savage Country, 2015 "While neither Kardashian nor West has talked publicly about the split, a source told Us following the filing that their separation was...

Duration:00:01:48

herald

4/28/2021
herald • \HAIR-uld\ • verb 1 : to give notice of : announce 2 a : to greet especially with enthusiasm : hail b : publicize 3 : to signal the approach of : foreshadow Examples: The appearance of robins heralded the arrival of spring. "The amount of money invested into U.K. tech companies has almost doubled in the past six months, heralding what prime minister Boris Johnson says could be a 'record-breaking year in 2021.'" — Ollie Williams, Forbes, 16 Mar. 2021 Did you...

Duration:00:02:02

rococo

4/27/2021
rococo • \ruh-KOH-koh\ • adjective 1 a : of or relating to an artistic style especially of the 18th century characterized by fanciful curved asymmetrical forms and elaborate ornamentation b : of or relating to an 18th century musical style marked by light gay ornamentation and departure from thoroughbass and polyphony 2 : excessively ornate or intricate Examples: Among the items being auctioned off is a beautiful set of six chairs carved in a rococo style. "Like most outdoor...

Duration:00:02:17

epicure

4/26/2021
epicure • \EP-ih-kyur\ • noun : one with sensitive and discriminating tastes especially in food or wine Examples: "At the back of the shop, Atwell and his apprentice, former chef Ryan Perrier, sharpen upwards of 3,500 blades a year on Japanese whetstones for a range of customers, including local chefs and at-home epicures." — Sara Anne Donnelly, Down East, June 2020 "Tucci has long been a masterful actor, but he has more recently unlocked a second career as an epicure and an object...

Duration:00:01:51

clandestine

4/25/2021
clandestine • \klan-DESS-tun\ • adjective : marked by, held in, or conducted with secrecy : surreptitious Examples: "Salons have been shut down under stay-at-home orders to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. In Los Angeles, the result has been a robust clandestine haircut scene." — Emily Guerin, NPR, 23 May 2020 "In 1993, [Tom Stoppard] met his aunt's granddaughter, Sarka, with whom his mother had embarked on a semi-clandestine correspondence (after keeping her past quiet...

Duration:00:01:34

impresario

4/24/2021
impresario • \im-pruh-SAHR-ee-oh\ • noun 1 : the promoter, manager, or conductor of an opera or concert company 2 : a person who puts on or sponsors an entertainment (such as a television show or sports event) 3 : manager, director Examples: The former heavyweight retired from the ring and later became a boxing impresario. "Not only has he amassed more than 7.5 million views, the new poster boy for sailors' working songs has attracted a celebrity fan base, with musical impresario...

Duration:00:02:06

bogart

4/23/2021
bogart • \BOH-gahrt\ • verb 1 : to cause (someone) to do something by means of force or coercion : bully 2 : to use the entirety of or consume without sharing Examples: "At the end of a long day, it's tempting to dive into your social feeds or Netflix queue the minute you've finished eating. But back before screens bogarted all our free time, an after-dinner stroll was a popular activity and one associated with improved health and digestion." — Markham Reid, Time, 26 Sept....

Duration:00:01:53

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