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.
September 4th, 2015
Episode 309 of 900 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 04, 2015 is: affront \uh-FRUNT\ verb 1 a : to insult especially to the face by behavior or language b : to cause offense to 2 : to face in defiance : confront 3 : to appear directly before Examples: The challenge going ahead is to initiate the necessary changes to the organization without making those who established it feel affronted. "Would architectural and design leaders here or nationally be affronted if the Michael Graves-designed building were to be demolished or repurposed or soldand if so, should that matter?" The Oregonian, editorial, 26 July 2015 Did you know? The Middle English afronten, the ancestor of the Modern English verb affront, was borrowed from the Anglo-French afrunter, a verb which means "to defy" but which also has the specific meaning "to strike on the forehead" or "to slap on the face." These more literal senses reveal the word's Latin origins, a combination of the Latin prefix ad-, meaning "to" or "towards," and front-, frons, which means "forehead" (and which is also the source of the English word front). While the striking or slapping sense of afrunter was not adopted by English, it is alluded to in the oldest use of the Modern English word: "to insult especially to the face."