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.
May 1st, 2015
Episode 183 of 758 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for May 01, 2015 is: aficionado \uh-fish-ee-uh-NAH-doh\ noun : a person who likes, knows about, and appreciates a usually fervently pursued interest or activity : devotee Examples: Mickey's brother, an aficionado of jazz, was a regular at the downtown clubs and often bought new records on the day they were released. "For American chess aficionados, lopsided defeats in three U.S. vs. U.S.S.R. team matches in less than a decade after World War II was an understandably painful blow." Shelby Lyman, The Charlotte Observer (North Carolina), April 3, 2015 Did you know? The affection an aficionado has for his or her favorite subject isn't merely emotionalit's also etymological. Back in the early 1800s, English borrowed aficionado from the past participle of the Spanish verb aficionar, which means "to inspire affection." That verb comes from the Spanish noun afición, meaning "affection." Both Spanish words trace to the Latin affectio (which is also an ancestor of the English word affection). Affectio, in turn, is from afficere ("to influence") and gave English speakers the noun and verbs affect.