• Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 25, 2018 is:

    secrete • \sih-KREET\  • verb

    1 : to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

    2 : to appropriate secretly : abstract


    The squirrel had secreted nuts all over the yard in preparation for winter, and as spring approached, more were still to be found.

    "Then he allegedly sneaked the cash into a truck, moved the truck outside and covered the bag with his raincoat before secreting it away in his personal car." — Tina Moore et al., The New York Post, 27 July 2018

    Did you know?

    If you guessed that the secret to the origins of secrete is the word secret, you are correct. Secrete developed in the mid-18th century as an alteration of a now obsolete verb secret. That verb had the meaning now carried by secrete and derived from the familiar noun secret ("something kept hidden or unexplained"). The noun, in turn, traces back to the Latin secretus, the past participle of the verb secernere, meaning "to separate" or "to distinguish." Incidentally, there is an earlier and distinct verb secrete with the more scientific meaning "to form and give off (a secretion)." That secrete is a back-formation from secretion, another word that can be traced back to secernere.

  • Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 24, 2018 is:

    glade • \GLAYD\  • noun

    : an open space surrounded by woods


    "Whenever they got a glimpse of the sun in an open glade they seemed unaccountably to have veered eastwards." — J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, 1954

    "Park on the side of the road near the sign where possible, but try to avoid going too far off into the mud. Walk past the sign and across a glade before descending into the hollow." — James Baughn, The Southeast Missourian, 5 Apr. 2018

    Did you know?

    We know that glade has been with us since at least the early 1500s, though the word's origins remain a bit of a mystery. Glade, which originally was often used not just to indicate a clearing in the woods but one which was also filled with sunlight, may come from the adjective glad. In Middle English, glad also meant "shining," a meaning that goes back to the word's Old English ancestor, glæd. Glæd is akin to Old High German glat ("shining, smooth") and Old Norse glathr ("sunny"). It may also be a relative of Old English geolu, the ancestor of the modern English word yellow.

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  • Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 23, 2018 is:

    biannual • \bye-AN-yuh-wul\  • adjective

    1 : occurring twice a year

    2 : occurring every two years


    "The first is status quo: We could leave current daylight saving time in place, and continue to set our clocks an hour forward in spring and an hour back in fall. But some Californians want to end those biannual clock shifts, in part because they correlate with increases in heart attacks, traffic accidents, and workplace accidents." — Joe Mathews, The Californian (Salinas, California), 15 Aug. 2018

    "The Television Critics Association's just-ended biannual conference was both a micro look at programming and a macro view of the medium's direction. In a parade stretching over two weeks, about 30 networks, channels and streaming platforms held more than 100 Q&A sessions and countless one-on-one interviews to prove they've got what viewers want." — The Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, Massachusetts), 11 Aug. 2018

    Did you know?

    When we describe something as biannual, we can mean either that it occurs twice a year or that it occurs once every two years. So how does someone know which particular meaning we have in mind? Well, unless we provide them with a contextual clue, they don't. Some people prefer to use semiannual to refer to something that occurs twice a year, reserving biannual for things that occur once every two years. This practice is hardly universal among English speakers, however, and biannual remains a potentially ambiguous word. Fortunately, English also provides us with biennial, a word that specifically refers to something that occurs every two years or that lasts or continues for two years.

  • Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 22, 2018 is:

    viva voce • \vye-vuh-VOH-see\  • adverb

    : by word of mouth : orally


    "He was examined according to standard inquisitorial procedures derived from Roman law and medieval practice. Interrogators put questions to the accused who answered viva voce, in writing, or both, as demanded." — Donald Weinstein, Savonarola: The Rise and Fall of a Renaissance Prophet, 2011

    "In the old days, voter turnout was significant because the rite was an open event and fun-filled. In colonial Maryland and Virginia, for example, a citizen would cast his vote orally—viva voce—and then would be rewarded with food and strong drink by the candidate he had just voted for." — Thomas V. DiBacco, The Washington Times, 26 Oct. 2016

    Did you know?

    Viva voce derives from Medieval Latin, where it translates literally as "with the living voice." In English it occurs in contexts, such as voting, in which something is done aloud for all to hear. Votes in Congress, for example, are done viva voce—members announce their votes by calling out "yea" or "nay." While the phrase was first used in English as an adverb in the 16th century, it can also appear as an adjective (as in "a viva voce examination") or a noun (where it refers to an examination conducted orally).

  • Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 21, 2018 is:

    panoply • \PAN-uh-plee\  • noun

    1 a : a full suit of armor

    b : ceremonial attire

    2 : something forming a protective covering

    3 a : a magnificent or impressive array

    b : a display of all appropriate appurtenances


    "Like many of the islands of the Caribbean, Jamaica is home to a cuisine that combines a heady mixture of flavors, spices, techniques and influences from the panoply of cultures that have inhabited its shores." — Maria Sonnenberg, Florida Today, 11 July 2018

    "'Autumn in Venice: Ernest Hemingway and His Last Muse' focuses on the final turbulent decade of a life, but Andrea di Robilant captures the full panoply of quirks and conflicts that often made Papa and those closest to him miserable." — Michael Mewshaw, The Washington Post, 26 July 2018

    Did you know?

    Panoply comes from the Greek word panoplia, which referred to the full suit of armor worn by hoplites, heavily armed infantry soldiers of ancient Greece. Panoplia is a blend of the prefix pan-, meaning "all," and hopla, meaning "arms" or "armor." (As you may have guessed already, hopla is also an ancestor of hoplite.) Panoply entered the English language in the 17th century, and since then it has developed other senses which extend both the "armor" and the "full set" aspects of its original use.

  • Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 20, 2018 is:

    milieu • \meel-YOO\  • noun

    : the physical or social setting in which something occurs or develops : environment


    "In researching my second film, Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict, I learned just how much independence and bravery it took for Guggenheim to step away from her very traditional roots and move at the age of 20 to Paris, where she … became part of the milieu of the Surrealist artists, and ultimately set out on the path to becoming a world famous patron." — Lisa Vreeland, Town & Country, March 2018

    "Critics have called [Nicole] Holofcener 'the female Woody Allen,' noting that the two directors, both Jewish, explore a milieu disproportionately populated by writers, artists, and shrinks." — Ariel Levy, The New Yorker, 6 Aug. 2018

    Did you know?

    The etymology of milieu comes down to mi and lieu. English speakers learned the word (and borrowed both its spelling and meaning) from French. The modern French term comes from two much older French forms, mi, meaning "middle," and lieu, meaning "place." Like so many terms in the Romance languages, those Old French forms can ultimately be traced to Latin; mi is an offspring of Latin medius (meaning "middle") and lieu is a derivative of locus (meaning "place"). English speakers have used milieu for the environment or setting of something since at least the mid-1800s, but other lieu descendants are much older. We've used both lieu itself (meaning "place" or "stead," as in "in lieu of") and lieutenant since the 13th century.

  • Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 19, 2018 is:

    atone • \uh-TOHN\  • verb

    1 : to make amends : to provide or serve as reparation or compensation for something bad or unwelcome — usually + for

    2 : to make reparation or supply satisfaction for : expiate — used in the passive voice with for


    James tried to atone for the mistakes of his youth by devoting his life to helping others.

    "Tony Stark became Iron Man partially to atone for his history of global weapons profiteering." — Alex Biese and Felecia Wellington Radel, Asbury Park (New Jersey) Press, 1 July 2018

    Did you know?

    Atone comes to us from the combination in Middle English of at and on, the latter of which is an old variant of one. Together they meant "in harmony." (In current English, we use "at one" with a similar suggestion of harmony in such phrases as "at one with nature.") When it first entered English, atone meant "to reconcile" and suggested the restoration of a peaceful and harmonious state between people or groups. These days the verb specifically implies addressing the damage (or disharmony) caused by one's own behavior.

  • Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 18, 2018 is:

    lenitive • \LEN-uh-tiv\  • adjective

    : alleviating pain or harshness : soothing


    Peppermint, chamomile, and ginger are all reputed to have a lenitive effect on the digestive system.

    "The air in Eastbourne … is melancholy with the sweet memories of childhood, and the promises it breathes are prayerful and lenitive: all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well." — Howard Jacobson, The Independent (London), 2 Aug. 2008

    Did you know?

    Lenitive first appears in English in the 15th century. It derives from the Latin verb lenire ("to soften or soothe"), which was itself formed from the adjective lenis, meaning "soft" or "mild." Lenire also gave us the adjective lenient, which usually means "tolerant" or "indulgent" today but in its original sense carried the meaning of "relieving pain or stress." Often found in medical contexts, lenitive can also be a noun referring to a treatment (such as a salve) with soothing or healing properties.

  • Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 17, 2018 is:

    chiliad • \KILL-ee-ad\  • noun

    1 : a group of 1000

    2 : a period of 1000 years; especially : one reckoned from the beginning of the Christian era


    Erin's pursuit of an MD degree felt like it took a chiliad, but she achieved her goal and is now running her own pediatric clinic.

    "While teachers may offer children some new vocab words, there are some at-home tricks parents can also use to make sure their children learn a chiliad of new words." — Herb Scribner, The Petoskey (Michigan) News-Review, 6 Sept. 2015

    Did you know?

    What's the difference between a chiliad and a millennium? Not much: both are a period of 1000 years. While millennium is more widely used, chiliad is actually older. Chiliad first appeared in the late 1500s and was originally used to mean "a group of 1000," as in "a chiliad of arrows"; millennium didn't make its way into written English until some decades later, in the early 1600s. Not surprisingly, both words trace back to roots that mean "thousand." Millennium comes from Latin mille, and chiliad is a descendant of Greek chilioi.

  • Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 16, 2018 is:

    resplendent • \rih-SPLEN-dunt\  • adjective

    : shining brilliantly : characterized by a glowing splendor


    His eyes were drawn to his elegant wife—resplendent in a fashionable evening gown—who had just appeared at the top of the stairway.

    "The princes, all of whom have served in some capacity in the British armed forces, were resplendent in blue RAF uniforms, and the women glowed in stylish ensembles." — Maria Puente, USA Today, 11 July 2018

    Did you know?

    Resplendent has a lot in common with splendid (meaning, among other things, "shining" or "brilliant"), splendent ("shining" or "glossy"), and splendor ("brightness" or "luster"). Each of these glowing terms gets its shine from the Latin verb splendēre ("to shine"). In the case of resplendent, the prefix re- added to splendēre, formed the Latin resplendēre, meaning "to shine back." Splendent, splendor, and resplendent were first used in English during the 15th century, but splendid didn't light up our language until over 175 years later; its earliest known use dates from the early 1600s.