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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

smorgasbord

3/4/2021
smorgasbord • \SMOR-gus-bord\ • noun 1 : a luncheon or supper buffet offering a variety of foods and dishes (such as hors d'oeuvres, hot and cold meats, smoked and pickled fish, cheeses, salads, and relishes) 2 : an often large heterogeneous mixture : mélange Examples: "Each week, Bayle will highlight a spread inspired by both her New England and European adventures; this week's lineup features … a smorgasbord starter kit featuring rye bread, cultured butter, cheese, pickles,...

Duration:00:01:59

contaminate

3/3/2021
contaminate • \kun-TAM-uh-nayt\ • verb 1 a : to soil, stain, corrupt, or infect by contact or association b : to make inferior or impure by admixture 2 : to make unfit for use by the introduction of unwholesome or undesirable elements Examples: "Marin Audubon Society president Barbara Salzman said she plans to review the city's environmental report, but expressed concern about the potential for tank leakage to contaminate groundwater." — Will Houston, The Marin Independent Journal...

Duration:00:02:38

organoleptic

3/2/2021
organoleptic • \or-guh-noh-LEP-tik\ • adjective 1 : being, affecting, or relating to qualities (such as taste, color, odor, and feel) of a substance (such as a food or drug) that stimulate the sense organs 2 : involving use of the sense organs Examples: "The goal of beverage distillers is generally a beverage, often very traditional in nature, with very specific organoleptic properties…." — Paul Schwarz and Yin Li, in Barley: Production, Improvement, and Uses, 2011 "After these...

Duration:00:01:53

gazette

3/1/2021
gazette • \guh-ZET\ • noun 1 : a paper that is printed and distributed usually daily or weekly and that contains news, articles of opinion, features, and advertising : newspaper 2 : an official journal 3 British : an announcement in an official gazette Examples: The weekly gazette includes a list of the names of students who have made local schools' honor rolls. "French media group Lagardere, the owner of Paris Match magazine, has received a 465 million euro ($564 million)...

Duration:00:01:59

deference

2/28/2021
deference • \DEF-uh-runss\ • noun : respect and esteem due a superior or an elder; also : affected or ingratiating regard for another's wishes Examples: "The 41-page filing answered government arguments that appeals rules give trial judges a lot of deference to make findings about facts, such as whether a juror is following court rules." — Steve Patterson, The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, Florida), 19 Jan. 2021 "'Where once he was a youthful firebrand,' Mr. Peterson said, Mr....

Duration:00:01:57

turbid

2/27/2021
turbid • \TER-bid\ • adjective 1 a : thick or opaque with or as with roiled sediment b : heavy with smoke or mist 2 a : deficient in clarity or purity : foul, muddy b : characterized by or producing obscurity (as of mind or emotions) Examples: The speed of the water flowing over the dam becomes obvious only when one observes the turbid water roiling below. "Muddy, nutrient-rich lake water can harm the river, making it turbid and feeding algae blooms. Plus, it just looks nasty."...

Duration:00:01:52

megillah

2/26/2021
megillah • \muh-GHIL-uh\ • noun 1 slang : a long involved story or account 2 slang a : an elaborate, complicated production or sequence of events b : everything involved in what is under consideration : ball of wax Examples: "Well, one fine day last spring, I was laying off for a week at the Americana in New York when Solly phones me—a megillah about this inspiration that he and some other bookers had that morning in the steam room." — S. J. Perelman, The New Yorker, 18 Aug....

Duration:00:02:21

slipshod

2/25/2021
slipshod • \SLIP-SHAHD\ • adjective 1 a : wearing loose shoes or slippers b : down at the heel : shabby 2 : careless, slovenly Examples: "'What's worse is the rules about misinformation on social media are confusing and inconsistent, and enforcement of those policies is slipshod at best,' says Bill Fitzgerald, a privacy and technology researcher in CR's Digital Lab." — Consumer Reports, 13 Aug. 2020 "But Ryan Day couldn't help but harp on a slipshod second half in which the...

Duration:00:02:23

fathom

2/24/2021
fathom • \FA-thum\ • verb 1 : to make a searching exploratory investigation : probe 2 : to take soundings 3 : to measure by a sounding line 4 : to penetrate and come to understand Examples: Even those close to him can't always fathom why he repeatedly risks his life to climb the world's tallest mountains. "When the coronavirus pandemic struck, we expected the real estate business to hit a brick wall and never fathomed the possibility of 2020 becoming a record year for the...

Duration:00:02:21

habeas corpus

2/23/2021
habeas corpus • \HAY-bee-us-KOR-pus\ • noun 1 : any of several common-law writs issued to bring a party before a court or judge; especially : a writ for inquiring into the lawfulness of the restraint of a person who is imprisoned or detained in another's custody 2 : the right of a citizen to obtain a writ of habeas corpus as a protection against illegal imprisonment Examples: "Embraced by America's founders, the Great Writ, as [habeas corpus is] colloquially known, is enshrined in...

Duration:00:02:22

retarget

2/22/2021
retarget • \\ree-TAHR-gut\\ • verb : to direct (something) toward a different target Examples: "The beauty of retargeting is that computers do all the work. They figure out who you need to retarget and serve them the ad. If a person viewed your webpage but left without buying your product, donating to your charity, signing up for your newsletter, or doing whatever it is you need them to do, retargeting ads are a great way to direct them back to your site so you can close the deal."...

Duration:00:02:17

cognoscente

2/21/2021
cognoscente • \kahn-yuh-SHEN-tee\ • noun : a person who has expert knowledge in a subject : connoisseur Examples: "Though he was recognized among certain cognoscenti during his most active years, [American photographer Todd] Webb … had plenty to distract him from the trifles of stardom—including time spent as a fire ranger for the U.S. Forestry Service, naval photographer in World War II, gold prospector in Panama, and resident of, in turn, Provence, France; Bath, England; and...

Duration:00:02:03

perdure

2/20/2021
perdure • \per-DUR\ • verb : to continue to exist : last Examples: "The making of a variety show—a nearly extinct genre that perdures as comedy fodder—is also the subject of David Cerda's 'The Rip Nelson Holiday Quarantine Special,' presented by the Chicago company Hell in a Handbag." — Elizabeth Vincentelli, The New York Times, 2 Dec. 2020 "For many in Europe, the rise of the politically engaged intellectual … occurred at the end of the 19th century when writers, artists and...

Duration:00:01:28

anodyne

2/19/2021
anodyne • \AN-uh-dyne\ • adjective 1 : serving to alleviate pain 2 : not likely to offend or arouse tensions : innocuous Examples: "Since much of TikTok is wordless and anodyne, Tik-Tok seems the perfect corporate antidote to more pointed and politicized commentary on Twitter or Facebook." — Elizabeth C. Tippett, Government Technology, 3 Dec. 2020 "He also voiced the donkey in the Shrek movies, talked to animals in the Dr. Dolittle movies, and goofed his way through an anodyne...

Duration:00:02:15

toady

2/18/2021
toady • \TOH-dee\ • noun : one who flatters in the hope of gaining favors : sycophant Examples: The editorial unfairly characterizes the appointee as one of the mayor's toadies, ignoring her long record of service to the community. "The series' characters were borrowed from its British parent—the buffoonish boss, the over-the-top toady, the everyman prankster and the sweet receptionist—but the delightful journeys of Michael, Dwight, Jim and Pam belonged entirely to the talent and...

Duration:00:01:45

indissoluble

2/17/2021
indissoluble • \in-dih-SAHL-yuh-bul\ • adjective : not dissoluble; especially : incapable of being annulled, undone, or broken : permanent Examples: "He was the only soul aboard with whom I could speak openly, in an absolute sense; for that matter, he to me the same. We were locked together in an indissoluble embrace, its nature the most simple and straightforward first principle: that no hurt should reach the men that we could prohibit." — William Brinkley, The Last Ship,...

Duration:00:02:00

underwhelm

2/16/2021
underwhelm • \un-der-WELM\ • verb : to fail to impress or stimulate Examples: "Nesmith's short stints continue to underwhelm. During one four-minute stretch in the fourth quarter, he missed a 3-pointer by a wide margin and committed three fouls." — Adam Himmelsbach, The Boston Globe, 4 Jan. 2021 "He underwhelmed in 2019, leveling out after a dynamic start in Detroit, which earned him All-Star honors. But Greene bounced back in 2020, posting a 2.60 ERA with a 21:9 strikeout-to-walk...

Duration:00:01:39

durable

2/15/2021
durable • \DUR-uh-bul\ • adjective : able to exist for a long time without significant deterioration; also : designed to be durable Examples: The couch is covered in an eye-catching yet durable fabric that will last for years. "And yet books about United States presidents—biographies, autobiographies, tell-alls … —have been among the most durable literary genres since the presidency of George Washington." — Christopher Borrelli, The Chicago Tribune, 12 Nov. 2020 Did you...

Duration:00:01:33

prothalamion

2/14/2021
prothalamion • \proh-thuh-LAY-mee-un\ • noun : a song in celebration of a marriage Examples: "In that month Ghalib wrote a prothalamion on the occasion of the forthcoming marriage of the king's youngest son, Mirza Jawan Bakht." — Ralph Russell, The Oxford India Ghalib, 2003 "The epilogue, in the form of a prothalamion on the marriage of the poet's sister Cecilia, was designed to bring the work to an optimistic close." — Ian Ousby, The Cambridge Paperback Guide to Literature in...

Duration:00:02:17

limn

2/13/2021
limn • \LIM\ • verb 1 : to draw or paint on a surface 2 : to outline in clear sharp detail : delineate 3 : describe Examples: "The book limns how the two men, so different in their origins and art, were remarkably similar in profound ways." — Nancy Hass, The New York Times, 17 Dec. 2020 "Her turbulent relationship with her husband, superstar poet Ted Hughes, is limned in terms of the relationship between Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw, as they saw themselves. Together they...

Duration:00:01:46