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June 23, 2019
lade
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for June 23, 2019 is: lade \LAYD\ verb 1 a : to put a load or burden on or in : [load](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/load#h2) b : to put or place as a load especially for shipment : [ship](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ship#h2) c : to load heavily or oppressively 2 : [dip](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dip), [ladle](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ladle#h2) Examples: "… we might, for example, see what are arguably Mr. Boontje's two most influential designs: his Blossom chandelier for Swarovski, a sparkling spray of branches laden with rosy crystals; and the more affordable Garland light…." — Pilar Viladas, The New York Times, 9 May 2019 "There were no pictures on the walls but here and there boughs laden with heavy-petalled flowers spread widely against them." — Virginia Woolf, The Voyage Out, 1915 Did you know? Lade most often occurs in its past participle form laden, as shown in our examples. There is also the adjective [laden](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/laden), best distinguished from the verb by its placement before nouns, as in "laden ships" or "a laden heart." (The adjective is also at work in hyphenated terms like sugar-laden.) Lade has been in use for more than a millennium and formerly had a nominal counterpart: the noun lade, meaning "load" or "cargo," came to be around the same time but is now obsolete. A few short decades after it faded from active use, the noun [lading](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lading) took on the same meaning. Lading is still in use and appears most often in bill of lading—a term referring to a document that lists goods being shipped and specifies the terms of their transport.
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2 min
June 22, 2019
puckish
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for June 22, 2019 is: puckish \PUCK-ish\ adjective : [impish](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/impish), [whimsical](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whimsical) Examples: "Ms. Jamon, with her charm and puckish humor, makes the restaurant feel like a home. For Christmas in 2009, after their move from Los Angeles, there was a fully decorated tree hanging upside down from the ceiling. 'Everything in the world seems upside down,' she said, 'so I decided to match it.'" — John Willoughby, The New York Times, 14 Mar. 2019 "[Thomas] Venning said the wheelchair became a symbol … of [Stephen] [Hawking's](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Hawking) 'puckish sense of humor.' He once ran over Prince Charles' toes—and reportedly joked that he wished he had done the same to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher—and appeared in a 'Monty Python' skit running down fellow physicist Brian Cox." — The Salt Lake Tribune, 22 Oct. 2018 Did you know? We know Puck as "that merry wanderer of the night," the shape-changing, maiden-frightening, mischief-sowing henchman to the king of the fairies in William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. The Bard drew on English folklore in casting his character, but the traditional Puck was more malicious than the Shakespearean imp; he was an evil spirit or demon. In medieval England, this nasty hobgoblin was known as the puke or pouke, names related to the Old Norse pūki, meaning "devil." (There is no connection to modern English [puke](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/puke).) But it was the Bard's characterization that stuck, and by the time the adjective puckish started appearing regularly in English texts in the 1800s the association was one of impishness, not evil.
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1 min
June 21, 2019
tonsorial
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for June 21, 2019 is: tonsorial \tahn-SOR-ee-ul\ adjective : of or relating to a [barber](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/barber) or the work of a barber Examples: "Once again Ryan's Barber Shop and Shaving Parlor … provided the tonsorial team the chairs and the needed supplies for the men to sit down and get their faces cleaned up or hair trimmed." — Steve Moran, The Asbury Park (New Jersey) Press, 6 Dec. 2018 "I think we are still a long way off from having tonsorial robots, so whatever the trends and styles that come about ... as long as we are all still growing hair out of our heads, there will be patrons attending the barbershop." — Adam Castleforte, quoted in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 24 Sept. 2018 Did you know? Tonsorial is a fancy word that describes the work of those who give shaves and haircuts. (It can apply more broadly to [hairdressers](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hairdresser) as well.) It derives from the Latin verb tondēre, meaning "to shear, clip, or crop." (Another descendant, [tonsor](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tonsor), is an archaic word for a [barber](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/barber).) You might be more familiar with the related noun [tonsure](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tonsure), which refers to the shaven crown or patch worn by monks and other clerics, or the religious rite of clipping the hair of one being admitted as a cleric. The verb [tonsure](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tonsure#h2) means "to shave the head of" or "to confer the tonsure upon."
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1 min
June 20, 2019
demeanor
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for June 20, 2019 is: demeanor \dih-MEE-ner\ noun : behavior toward others : outward [manner](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/manner) Examples: The professor's friendly and laid-back demeanor made him a favorite among the students. "Detroit's well-earned place as one of America's most iconic cities is a credit to its past, present and future. It is a city that has never had it easy, but its steely demeanor has also always encased and protected a powerful heart." — Adweek.com, 14 May 2019 Did you know? There's a long trail from the Latin origins of demeanor to its English incarnation. It starts with minari, "to threaten"—a word connected to the threatening cries of cattle drivers. Leaving minari, we soon encounter a close Latin relation, minare; it means "to drive," and was once used specifically of driving animals for herding. From there, the path leads us to Anglo-French, where we pass by mener ("to lead") and then demener ("to conduct"). Next comes Middle English demenen and then Modern English [demean](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/demean#h2), both meaning "to conduct (oneself) in a certain manner." And, finally, we take one last step, and add the suffix [-or](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/-or#h8) to demean to get demeanor.
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1 min
June 19, 2019
insuperable
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for June 19, 2019 is: insuperable \in-SOO-puh-ruh-bul\ adjective : incapable of being surmounted, overcome, passed over, or solved Examples: Though it had appeared that the visiting team had an insuperable lead, the home team rallied to win in the end. "'Life and Fate,' his resulting magnum opus, is not likely to be unseated as the greatest Second World War novel ever written. Grossman's challenge over the ten years of its composition seems nearly insuperable: to evoke the scope and magnitude of the conflict without turning his characters into cogs in a vast military machine." — Sam Sacks, The New Yorker, 25 June 2013 Did you know? Insuperable first appeared in print in the 14th century, and as a close synonym to [insurmountable](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/insurmountable), it still means now approximately what it did then. In Latin, superare means "to go over, surmount, overcome, or excel." (The [sur-](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sur-) in [surmount](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/surmount) is related to the Latin prefix super-.) The Latin word insuperabilis, from which insuperable is derived, was formed by combining the negative prefix in- with superare plus abilis ("able"). Hence, insuperabilis means "unable to be surmounted, overcome, or passed over," or more simply, "insurmountable." The word can describe physical barriers that cannot be scaled (such as walls or mountains) as well as more figurative challenges, obstacles, or difficulties.
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2 min
June 18, 2019
boilerplate
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for June 18, 2019 is: boilerplate \BOY-ler-playt\ noun 1 : syndicated material supplied especially to weekly newspapers in [matrix](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/matrix) or plate form 2 a : standardized text b : formulaic or hackneyed language 3 : tightly packed icy snow Examples: "'I think the middle class is getting clobbered,' he said one day, over lunch. 'I think there has to be a significant change in both, over time, fiscal policy and tax policy.' He was trying to get that view 'further insinuated into the White House,' he said. It seemed like boilerplate, and I didn't quote it." — Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, 26 Apr. 2019 "… we ask each of our esteemed colleagues to negotiate hard to get anti-harassment language woven into all service agreements, to make it part of the basic boilerplate and/or the standard asks in any negotiation." — Monika Tashman, Esq., et al., Billboard.com, 12 Nov. 2018 Did you know? In the days before computers, small, local newspapers around the U.S. relied heavily on feature stories, editorials, and other printed material supplied by large publishing [syndicates](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/syndicates). The syndicates delivered that copy on metal plates with the type already in place so the local papers wouldn't have to set it. Printers apparently dubbed those syndicated plates "boiler plates" because of their resemblance to the plating used in making steam boilers. Soon boilerplate came to refer to the printed material on the plates as well as to the plates themselves. Because boilerplate stories were more often filler than hard news, the word acquired negative connotations and gained another sense widely used today, such as "hackneyed or unoriginal writing."
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2 min
June 17, 2019
flounce
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for June 17, 2019 is: flounce \FLOUNSS\ verb 1 a : to move with exaggerated jerky or bouncy motions b : to go with sudden determination 2 : [flounder](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flounder#h2), [struggle](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/struggle) Examples: "With skirts flouncing, 15 young women ascended the steps … to a traditional Mexican birthday song played in a [mariachi](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mariachi) style." — Laurel Wamsley and Vanessa Romo, NPR, 19 July 2017 "The Master of the Music flounced out with the choir flouncing out in perfect unison behind him." — Terry Pratchett, Unseen Academicals, 2009 Did you know? The story behind flounce is an elusive one. The verb's earliest recorded uses in English occurred in the mid-1500s, and some scholars believe it is related to the Norwegian verb flunsa (meaning "to hurry" or "to work briskly") and Swedish flunsa ("to fall with a splash" or "to plunge"). The connection is uncertain, however, because the flunsa verbs did not appear in their respective languages until the 18th century, long after flounce surfaced in English. A second distinct sense of [flounce](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flounce#h3), referring to a strip or ruffle of fabric attached on one edge, did not appear in English until the 18th century. This flounce derives from the Middle English frouncen, meaning "to curl."
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1 min
June 16, 2019
assiduous
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for June 16, 2019 is: assiduous \uh-SIJ-uh-wus\ adjective : showing great care, attention, and effort : marked by careful [unremitting](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unremitting) attention or persistent application Examples: "Ryan Murphy …, in his last FX series before founding his Netflix empire, was also assiduous about hiring transgender actors and creative staff…." — James Poniewozik, The New York Times, 1 June 2018 "In conjunction with his efforts as a painter, [Goya](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/goya) was an assiduous draftsman and printmaker. His first efforts at etching include … royal portraiture and grand subject paintings such as the Feast of Bacchus." — Michael A. Gibson, Jr. and Jessica Brandrup, NBCDFW.com (Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas), 24 Oct. 2018 Did you know? Judges presiding over [assizes](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/assize) (former periodical sessions of the superior courts in English counties) had to be assiduous in assessing how to best address their cases. Not only were their efforts invaluable, but they also serve as a fine demonstration of the etymologies of assiduous, [assess](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/assess), and assize. All three of those words derive from the Latin verb assidēre, which is variously translated as "to sit beside," "to take care of," or "to assist in the office of a judge." Assidēre, in turn, is a composite of the prefix ad- (in this case, meaning "near" or "adjacent to") and sedēre, meaning "to sit."
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1 min
June 15, 2019
recidivism
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for June 15, 2019 is: recidivism \rih-SID-uh-viz-um\ noun : a tendency to relapse into a previous condition or mode of behavior; especially : relapse into criminal behavior Examples: The judge took the guilty felon's rate of recidivism into account when she deliberated her sentence. "She said her main purpose is to support seniors' efforts to 'age in place' with dignity, rather than face premature institutionalization. Her outreach has reduced recidivism into hospitals for many seniors." — Mort Mazor, The Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Florida), 8 May 2019 Did you know? Recidivism means literally "a falling back" and usually implies "into bad habits." It comes from the Latin word recidivus, which means "recurring." Recidivus itself comes from the Latin verb recidere, which is a composite of the prefix re- and the verb cadere (meaning "to fall") and means "to fall back." [Recidivists](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/recidivist) tend to relapse, or "fall back," into old habits and particularly crime. Deciduous and incident are two other English words that have roots in cadere. [Deciduous](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/deciduous) comes from the verb decidere (de- plus cadere), which means "to fall off." And [incident](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/incident) comes from incidere (in- plus cadere), which means "to fall into."
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2 min
June 14, 2019
oneiric
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for June 14, 2019 is: oneiric \oh-NYE-rik\ adjective : of or relating to dreams : [dreamy](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dreamy) Examples: The paintings, filled with fantastical imagery conjured by the artist's imagination, have a compellingly oneiric quality. "Somewhere along the twisty path of the twentieth century, Vladimir Nabokov, our brilliant dreamer-in-chief, came into contact with [aeronautical engineer and philosopher John W.] Dunne's theories of oneiric prophecy and was evidently inspired by them." — Nicholson Baker, The New Republic, 21 Feb. 2018 Did you know? The notion of using the Greek noun oneiros (meaning "dream") to form the English adjective oneiric wasn't dreamed up until the mid-19th century. But back in the late 1500s and early 1600s, linguistic dreamers came up with a few oneiros spin-offs, giving English [oneirocriticism](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oneirocriticism), [oneirocritical](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oneirocritical), and [oneirocritic](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oneirocritic) (each referring to dream interpreters or interpretation). The surge in oneiros derivatives at that time may have been fueled by the interest then among English-speaking scholars in Oneirocritica, a book about dream interpretation by 2nd-century Greek soothsayer Artemidorus Daldianus. In the 17th century, English speakers also melded Greek oneiros with the combining form [­-mancy](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/-mancy) ("divination") to create [oneiromancy](https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oneiromancy), meaning "divination by means of dreams."
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2 min
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