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.
October 14th, 2015
Episode 349 of 923 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for October 14, 2015 is: affluent \AF-loo-unt\ adjective 1 : flowing in abundance 2 : having a generously sufficient and typically increasing supply of material possessions Examples: The town relies on its affluent part-time residentsthose who arrive when the local mountains glisten with snow. "Fewer than 400 of the nation's most affluent families have supplied almost half of the money raised so far by presidential candidates in both parties, according to a survey of federal campaign data by The Times." The New York Times, 14 Aug. 2015 Did you know? Are your coffers overflowing? Is your cash flow more than adequate? Are your assets fluid? If so, you can consider yourself affluent. Today's word is all about flowthat is to say, it's based on the Latin word for "flow," which is fluere. (Some other fluere descendants are confluence, fluctuate, fluid, influence, mellifluous, and superfluous.) The older sense of affluent refers, both literally and figuratively, to an abundant flow, as in "an affluent fountain" or "affluent joy." The use of "affluent fortune" for an abundant flow of money is what likely led to the use of affluent as a synonym of wealthy.