300 episodes

The huge Amazon Alexa hit Word of the Day is now available as a podcast!

Word of the Day teaches you a useful word, its definition, etymology, and gives you examples of how to use it in a sentence. A new word each and every day! Perfect for those looking to expand their vocabulary, learning English and looking for a boost and anyone who loves words.

Word of the Day Word of the Day

    • Language Learning

The huge Amazon Alexa hit Word of the Day is now available as a podcast!

Word of the Day teaches you a useful word, its definition, etymology, and gives you examples of how to use it in a sentence. A new word each and every day! Perfect for those looking to expand their vocabulary, learning English and looking for a boost and anyone who loves words.

    Abstemious

    Abstemious

    Abstemious is an adjective that means marked by restraint with food or alcohol.

    Our word of the day combines the Latin prefix A-B-S, meaning ‘from’ or ‘away’ with the suffix 

    temetum (TEM ay tomb) which refers to ‘intoxicating drink.’ As the word evolved, it came to refer to things other than alcohol. For example: When Chuck needed to lose weight, I worried about his ability to stick to a healthy diet. When it comes to his eating habits, he’s not exactly known for having an abstemious temperament.

    • 49 sec
    Brickbat

    Brickbat

    Brickbat is a noun that refers to an uncomplimentary remark.

    Our word of the day is a portmanteau, meaning it combines more than one word. In this case, we get the combination of ‘brick’ and ‘bat’ to get a word that, when used literally, refers to a something used as a weapon. But when used figuratively, it may refer to something like an unkind remark. For example: My question about Chad’s tiny apartment wasn’t intended as a brickbat. I just wanted to know if it offered enough space to host the upcoming new year’s eve party.

    • 48 sec
    Aliteracy

    Aliteracy

    Aliteracy is a noun that refers to the state of being able to read but uninterested in doing so.

    You may recognize our word of the day’s similarity to the word ‘illiteracy.’ Both words derive from the Latin word littera (LEE tar ah) which means ‘letter.’ Aliteracy adds the prefix ‘A’ which means ‘not.’ An aliterate person is not unable to read, but someone who chooses not to.

    There is a concern in the book industry that reading is something younger people don’t do anymore. The data isn’t yet clear on how justified this concern is, but it does seem that for many, aliteracy had taken a big toll on their habits.

    • 58 sec
    Farrago

    Farrago

    Farrago is a noun that refers to a confused mixture.

    Our word of the day comes almost directly from the Latin word for ‘mixed fodder,’ a feed given to cattle. In time, the word came to be used for other types of mixed things, for example: The bands selected for the festival were a farrago of heavy metal groups, folk trios and religious choirs. This odd mixture seemed as if it were made by someone in a perplexed state of mind.

    • 44 sec
    Prepossessing

    Prepossessing

    Prepossessing is an adjective that means creating a favorable impression.

    The Latin word possidere (pose ee DARE ay) means ‘to hold.’ From this we get the word ‘possess’ which maintains the meaning of its Latin ancestor. By adding the prefix P-R-E, we get get the word preposses, which is a synonym of ‘prejudice’ as in ‘I was hoping the mayor’s speech didn’t prejudice your opinion.’ A prepossessing individual prejudices our opinion in a favorable way.

    Having a prepossessing nature is always a big plus in the political world. Voters will often overlook many mistakes from people who make a favorable impression.

    • 59 sec
    Proscribe

    Proscribe

    Proscribe is a verb that means to forbid or condemn.

    Our word of the day combines the prefix P-R-O, meaning ‘before’ with S-C-R-I-B-E, which means ‘to write.’

    It referred to the fact that behavior that was forbidden or banned was ‘written down’ as law. More recently, the word has be used to describe behavior that is prohibited — even if the prohibition is not officially law. For example: The comedian proscribed the use of cell phones during his performance. Some may find this extreme, but in his case, banning cell phone use was the only way to ensure his shows weren’t illegally filmed.

    • 56 sec

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