10 episodes

Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day Merriam-Webster

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Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.

    parlay

    parlay

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 28, 2021 is: parlay \PAHR-lay\ verb
    Parlay means "to turn (something) into something of greater value."

    // The young actor parlayed his popularity as a teen heartthrob into a successful film career.

    [See the entry >](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/parlay)

    Examples:

    "Since his pro debut in 1995, [Manny Pacquiao] has won world titles in a record eight weight classes and parlayed boxing fame into political [clout](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/clout)." — Morgan Campbell, The New York Times, 22 Aug. 2021

    Did you know?

    In gambling, parlay is used for a series of bets in which a person places a bet, then puts the original stake of money and all of its winnings on new wagers. The noun comes from the French name for such bets: [paroli](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/paroli). Be careful not to mix up the verb parlay with the similar word [parley](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/parley), meaning "to speak with another or to confer."

    • 1 min
    misbegotten

    misbegotten

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 27, 2021 is: misbegotten \miss-bih-GAH-tun\ adjective
    Misbegotten means "ill-conceived." It can also mean "having an improper origin."

    // The celebrity's misbegotten tweet went viral. 

    // The university's Board of Trustees rejected the misbegotten plan for building a new football stadium.

    [See the entry >](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/misbegotten)

    Examples:

    "… one of those misbegotten oddities that cheats you out of the film you imagine you'll be getting from its opening 10 minutes...." — Robbie Collin, The Daily Telegraph (London), 6 Aug. 2021

    Did you know?

    In the beginning, there was begietan, and begietan begot beyeten; then in the days of Middle English beyeten begot begeten. All of the Old English and Middle English ancestors above basically meant the same thing as the modern [beget](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/beget)—that is, "to father" or "to produce as an effect or outgrowth." That linguistic line with the prefix [mis-](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mis-#h2) (meaning "wrongly" or "badly") brought forth misbegotten.

    • 1 min
    dedication

    dedication

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 26, 2021 is: dedication \ded-ih-KAY-shun\ noun
    Dedication means "devotion or loyalty to a person or cause."

    // With great dedication, the scientists worked to perfect the vaccine.

    // At his retirement party, his boss said a few words about Tom's dedication and commitment to the company.

    [See the entry >](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dedication)

    Examples:

    "President Steven Eggland, PhD, named the foundation in honor of his Norwegian immigrant heritage and the family's longtime dedication to charitable acts and modest philanthropy." — The Lincoln (Nebraska) Journal Star, 26 Aug. 2021

    Did you know?

    Dedication goes back to the 14th century in which it referred to the solemn act of [dedicating](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dedicate#h2) something, such as a calendar day or a church, to a deity or to a sacred use. Centuries later, it came to be used for the act of devoting time and energy to a particular purpose. Nowadays, dedication commonly indicates the quality of being loyal or devoted to a cause, ideal, or purpose.

    • 1 min
    obtuse

    obtuse

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 25, 2021 is: obtuse \ahb-TOOSS\ adjective
    Obtuse means "difficult to understand" or "unable to understand what is obvious."

    // The attorney explained the obtuse language in the contract to her client.

    // Maybe I am being obtuse, but I didn't understand the end of the movie.

    [See the entry >](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obtuse)

    Examples:

    "There are speeches and flags and somewhat obtuse artistic presentations, then at or near the end, the Olympic flame enters the stadium and is delivered to a cauldron … to burn for the next 16 days." — Brandon Veale, The Duluth (Minnesota) News-Tribune, 23 July 2021

    Did you know?

    Obtuse comes from a Latin word meaning "dull" or "blunt." It can describe a geometric angle that is not [acute](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/acute) or a person who is mentally "[dull](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dull)." In addition, obtuse can mean "hard to comprehend." That meaning is probably from confusion with the similar-sounding [abstruse](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/obtuse#note-1).

    • 1 min
    hobnob

    hobnob

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 24, 2021 is: hobnob \HAHB-nahb\ verb
    Hobnob means "to come or be together as friends."

    // Local business owners hobnobbed at the fundraiser.

    // The entertainment columnist learns about the latest gossip by hobnobbing with celebrities.

    [See the entry >](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hobnob)

    Examples:

    "Does declaring affection for Tanglewood, the iconic venue in the Berkshires, make me seem like a self-important [muckety-muck](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/muckety-muck) eager to hobnob with elites from Boston and Manhattan? Well, so be it." — Chris Churchill, The Times-Union (Albany, New York), 25 July 2021

    Did you know?

    In William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, Sir Toby Belch warned Viola (who was disguised as a man) that Sir Andrew wanted to duel. "Hob, nob is his word," said Sir Toby, using "hob, nob" to mean something like "hit or miss." Sir Toby's term is probably an alteration of "hab nab," a phrase that meant "to have or not have, however it may turn out." After Shakespeare's day, hob and nob were used in the phrases "to drink hob or nob" and "to drink hobnob," which meant "to drink alternately to each other." Since "drinking hobnob" was generally done among friends, hobnob came to refer to congenial social interaction.

    • 1 min
    chastise

    chastise

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 23, 2021 is: chastise \chass-TYZE\ verb
    Chastise means "to criticize (someone) harshly for doing something wrong."

    // The boss eventually had to chastise certain employees for being consistently late.

    [See the entry >](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chastise)

    Examples:

    "I used to chastise people for not working as efficiently as the WWE. … I was judgmental and I was apprehensive and I wanted to be back in the ring because I loved that immediate gratification." — John Cena, quoted in USA Today, 5 Aug. 2021

    Did you know?

    There are many words to express the infliction of a penalty in return for wrongdoing—for example, chastise, [castigate](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/castigate), [chasten](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chasten), [correct](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/correct), [discipline](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discipline), and [punish](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/punish). Of these, chastise, chasten, and castigate share similar origins as well as similar meanings. Chastise developed as an altered form of chasten, which comes from the Anglo-French chastier, which has its roots in the Latin verb castigare, which also gave English the word castigate.

    • 1 min

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