Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day


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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.



June 3rd, 2015

Episode 215 of 681 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for June 03, 2015 is: adulate \AJ-uh-layt\ verb : to flatter or admire excessively or slavishly Examples: A portrait of the family patriarch, a man adulated by the public while generally feared by his family, hung above the mantle. "Weadulatethe wealthy, the notorious and egocentric and even the crass and depraved and pay little attention to people who are thoughtful, erudite, wise, compassionate and generous." Dorothy Dimitre, San Mateo (California) Daily Journal, November 7, 2012 Did you know? Man's best friend is often thought of in admiring terms as faithful and true, but there are also people who more clearly perceive the fawning and cringing aspect of doggishness. When the Romans used the Latin verb adulari to mean "to fawn on," they equated it with the behavior of a dog toward its master. The actual root of the word may even be connected to an earlier Indo-European word for "tail" (which, of course, brings tail wagging to mind). In English, we first used the noun adulation, meaning "exhibition of excessive fondness" (similar in meaning but not etymologically related to adoration), then the adjective adulatory (an adulatory speech, for example, is an excessively flattering one), before we came up with the verb in the 18th century.