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.

    confidant

    confidant

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for June 24, 2022 is: confidant \KAHN-fuh-dahnt\ noun
    A confidant is someone to whom secrets are entrusted, and especially a very close friend.

    // She told only her closest confidant where she had buried the money.

    // The longtime confidant of the disgraced mayor was also brought in for questioning.

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


    Examples:

    “Lee Strasberg, the Actors Studio director who was, with his wife, Paula, a confidant and caretaker of Marilyn Monroe, felt that an actor must plumb the depths of her psyche to find the emotional truth of a performance.” –James Sullivan, The Boston Globe, 20 Jan. 2022

    Did you know?

    If you're confident of the trustworthiness of your confidants, you're tuned into the origins of the word confidant. The word comes, via French, from the Italian confidente, meaning "trusting, having trust in," from Latin confīdere, meaning "to put one’s trust in, have confidence in.” Other descendants of confīdere in English include [confide]( https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/confide), [confidence]( https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/confidence), [confident](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/confident), and [confidential](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/confidential), all of which ultimately have Latin fīdere, meaning "to trust (in), rely (on)," as their root. Confidant (and its variant [confidante](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/confidante), used especially of a woman) and confident are often confused, a topic about which we have [plenty to say](https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/confidant-vs-confident-vs-confidante).

    • 1 min
    ingenuous

    ingenuous

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for June 23, 2022 is: ingenuous \in-JEN-yuh-wus\ adjective
    Ingenuous is most commonly used to describe someone who shows innocent or childlike simplicity and candidness.

    // The ingenuous enthusiasm shown by several of the older campers was contagious, and soon everyone was excited about the project.

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

    Examples:

    “I remember too well being young yet adult, confident yet ingenuous. It’s like marching off to war, armed with a bubble wand.” — Margo Bartlett, The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, 20 Apr. 2022

    Did you know?

    Ingenuous is most often used to describe someone who has a childlike innocence and openness. It should not be confused with [ingenious](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ingenious), which typically describes someone who is unusually inventive or clever, or something made or done in an especially original or clever way. The words look very much alike, but sound different: remember that ingenuous sounds like its linguistic relation [genuine](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/genuine), while ingenious sounds like [genius](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/genius)—despite the fact that there is no etymological connection between those two. For more on this pair, [read on](https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/ingenious-ingenuous-usage-difference).

    • 1 min
    quibble

    quibble

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for June 22, 2022 is: quibble \KWIB-ul\ verb
    To quibble is to argue or complain about small, unimportant things. The word can also mean "to evade the point of an argument by making trivial or frivolous objections."

    // If I may quibble for a moment with your description of the uniforms: they are navy blue, not royal blue.

    // The siblings often quibbled over whose turn it was to sit in the front seat of the car.

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

    Examples:

    “The Outfit is a smart movie—maybe a little too smart for its own good here and there, but let’s not quibble.” – Mick LaSalle, The San Francisco Chronicle, 15 Mar. 2022



    Did you know?

    Quibble is most familiar as a verb, but it can also function as a [noun](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quibble#h2) meaning "an evasion of or shift from the point" and "a minor objection or criticism." Both forms of quibble settled into English in the mid-17th century, presumably (though not definitively) as a diminutive of a now-obsolete noun quib, meaning “quibble.” Quib in turn may have come from a form of Latin qui, meaning “who,” a distant relation also of our word [who](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/who).

    • 1 min
    prescience

    prescience

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for June 21, 2022 is: prescience \PRESH-ee-unss\ noun
    Prescience is the ability to see or anticipate what will or might happen in the future.

    // Stacy had the prescience to know that the stock’s value wasn’t going to remain high forever, and she managed to sell it just before it started to decrease.

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

    Examples:

    "As the author of some of the most searing indictments of the damage governments and people can do, George Orwell has become synonymous with the kind of prescience most artists only dream of." — Clarke Reader, The Elbert County News (Kiowa, Colorado), 16 Mar. 2022

    Did you know?

    If you know the origin of [science](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/science) you already know half the story of prescience. Science comes from the Latin verb sciō, scīre, "to know," also source of such words as [conscience](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conscience), [conscious](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conscious), and [omniscience](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/omniscience). Prescience has as its ancestor a word that attached prae-, a predecessor of [pre-](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pre-), to this root to make praescire, meaning "to know beforehand."

    • 1 min
    garrulous

    garrulous

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for June 20, 2022 is: garrulous \GAIR-uh-lus\ adjective
    Garrulous can mean ["chatty"](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chatty) or "excessively talkative" when describing a person (or even a bird that calls or sings rapidly and constantly), or it can mean ["wordy"](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wordy) when referring to a piece of language itself, such as a letter or speech.

    // Annie’s garrulous and outgoing nature is a stark contrast to her brother’s more retiring demeanor.

    // His garrulous, rapid-fire presentation hyping the new feature was exciting at first, but soon became repetitive and tiresome.

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


    Examples:

    “Most college presidents I've met are outgoing, garrulous types who enjoy talking with students and faculty.” —John Boyle, The Asheville (North Carolina) Citizen Times, 15 May 2022

    Did you know?

    Garrulous is a 17th century Latin borrowing that has its origin in garrīre, meaning "to chatter, talk rapidly." That Latin root is probably imitative in origin—that is, it was coined to imitate what it refers to. English has a number of words that are imitative in origin, among them several others that describe ways of talking, such as [babble](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/babble) and [chatter](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chatter).

    • 1 min
    emancipation

    emancipation

    Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for June 19, 2022 is: emancipation \ih-man-suh-PAY-shun\ noun
    Emancipation is the act of freeing someone from the restraint, control, or power of another. It is especially used for the act of freeing someone from slavery.

    // Jomo Kenyatta played a key role in the emancipation of Kenya from European rule in the 1960s and became the first president of the newly independent nation.

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

    Examples:

    "Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day, is a nationwide celebration to commemorate the emancipation from slavery." — Jason Gonzalez, The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky), 15 May 2022

    Did you know?

    The Emancipation Proclamation, issued by Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, ordered that enslaved people living in rebellious territories be released from the bonds of ownership and made free people—their own masters. Though the proclamation's initial impact was limited, the order was true to the etymology of emancipation, which comes from a Latin word combining the prefix e-, meaning "away," and mancipare, meaning "to transfer ownership of.”

    • 1 min

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