Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day


From the fun and familiar to the strange and obscure, learn something new every day with Merriam-Webster.

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Our Editor's Take

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day is a podcast for people who like to learn a new word every day. Each episode is one or two minutes long. The host is Merriam-Webster editor-at-large Peter Sokolowski. At the beginning of every episode, he states the day of the year and the word of the day. Next, he spells the word. Then, he says the word's part of speech and whether it is singular or plural.

Next, he reads a few sentences on the podcast from an article that uses the word. For example, the podcast hosts reads from a book review that includes the word "disapprobation." Putting the word in the context of an interesting story may help people remember it. Reading an inconsequential sentence with the word in it might be less effective.

At the end of each episode of Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day, Peter shares any of the word's known origins. Many words in the English language come from Greek or Latin, but this is only part of the story. For example, the word "maudlin" has roots to the biblical figure Mary Magdalene.

Listeners may enjoy learning when certain terms became common use. It is often much earlier than one would expect. For example, "meet-cute" was in a New York Times Book Review in 1952.

Peter also mentions that there are some things even scholars might not know about the word. He also says if the word is common or rare. Sometimes, he will tell listeners a synonym or related term for extra context. This might be a more contemporary word than the word of the day. The related term may not be in Merriam-Webster's Dictionary yet. Peter gives the example of "twisties" that happen to gymnasts, similar to "yips." Only the latter made it into the dictionary so far.

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day is a fascinating exploration of English's past, present, and future. This fast and fun podcast can help anyone who wants to expand their vocabulary.

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