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.



January 9th, 2015

Episode 71 of 681 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for January 09, 2015 is: advocate \AD-vuh-kayt\ verb : to plead in favor of Examples: Many parents throughout the district have long advocated full-day kindergarten. "The task force advocates revising the state's social studies standards to promote news literacy and the importance of voting." Laurie Levy, ChicagoNow.com, December 4, 2014 Did you know? Benjamin Franklin may have been a great innovator in science and politics, but on the subject of advocate, he was against change. In 1789, he wrote a letter to his compatriot Noah Webster complaining about a "new word": the verb advocate. Like others of his day, Franklin knew advocate primarily as a noun meaning "one who pleads the cause of another," and he urged Webster to condemn the verb's use. In truth, the verb wasn't as new as Franklin assumed (etymologists have traced it back to 1599), though it was apparently surging in popularity in his day. Webster evidently did not heed Franklin's plea. His famous 1828 dictionary, An American Dictionary of the English Language, entered both the noun and the verb senses of advocate.