693 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.

    Subterfuge

    Subterfuge

    Subterfuge is a noun that refers to deception.

    Our word of the day combines the Latin prefix S-U-B-T-E-R, meaning ‘secretly’ with F-U-G-E from the Latin verb for ‘to flee.’ The words together give us a word to describe someone secretly escaping the truth.

    We went to the retreat thinking we were participating in a camping trip, but soon discovered that the trip was just subterfuge for their true purpose: a high-level financial scam.

    • 43 sec
    Ignominy

    Ignominy

    Ignominy is a noun that refers to deep humiliation or disgrace.

    The root Latin word of ignominy is nomen (NO men) which means ‘name’ or ‘repute.’ When a person’s name has been disgraced they have suffered great harm to their name or reputation. Our word of the day is used to capture this sense of humiliation. For example: Becoming class valedictorian was a great source of pride for Thomas. But when he was discovered cheating on his finals exams, that pride was replaced by ignominy.

    • 46 sec
    Intransigent

    Intransigent

    Intransigent is an adjective that means uncompromising.

    The Latin word transigere (tran SEE jare ay) means ‘to come to an agreement.’ As this word evolved into intransigent, it added the prefix I-N to mean ‘not’ and became a word to mean ‘unable to come to an agreement.’

    Everyone else in the family wanted to watch a horror movie last night, but I was intransigent on the issue. I wanted to watch an old John Wayne western and I refused to settle for anything else.

    • 46 sec
    Puissant

    Puissant

    Puissant is an adjective that means powerful.

    Our word of the day comes from the Latin word posse (POSS ay) which means ‘to be able.’ A puissant person or group who is able to do quite a lot because of their power.

    If we wanted to accomplish our goals, we needed the help of a puissant advocate of worker’s rights. Without some powerful people assisting us, we had no hope.

    • 37 sec
    Conflagration

    Conflagration

    Conflagration is a noun that refers to a large, disastrous fire.

    Our word of the day comes almost directly from the Latin word conflagare (con flah GAR ay) which simply means ‘fire.’ But a conflagration isn’t just a fire — it’s an out-of-control blaze that causes unintended damage. In other words, you wouldn’t use it to describe a bonfire or the small blaze in your fireplace.

    It saddened me to see all the damage caused by the conflagration at the museum. There’s something dejecting about seeing all that beauty destroyed by one giant fire.

    • 52 sec
    Lilliputian

    Lilliputian

    Lilliputian is an adjective that means small or petty.

    Our word of the day comes from the Jonathan Swift novel Gulliver’s Travels as a reference to a tiny group of people roughly six inches tall. More recently the word may be used as a noun to refer to a small, petty thing or as an adjective. For example: I lost my nail clipper as we were climbing the mountain. But in the midst of such a monumental occurrence, we had no time for such lilliputian concerns.

    • 46 sec

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