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.



August 3rd, 2016

Episode 605 of 689 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for August 3, 2016 is: amity \AM-uh-tee\ noun : friendship; especially : friendly relations between nations Examples: "Cousin friendships really are special. They provide an unmatched level of amityand support, without the rivalries that often exist between siblings." — Helaine Becker, Today's Parent, June 2006 "The amity between the two leaders was palpable from the start as Mr. Modi broke with protocol to greet Mr. Obama at the airport with a warm handshake and hug." — Peter Baker and Ellen Barry, The New York Times, 26 Jan. 2015 Did you know? Amity has been used in English to describe friendship or friendliness for well over 500 years. It is derived from the Latin word for "friend," amicus, and has come to be used especially for relationships between political leaders and nations in which goodwill is shown despite differences that might exist between the two parties. Amicus is also the root of the adjectives amiable and amicable. Amiable implies having qualities that make one liked and easy to deal with—for example, "The owners of the bed-and-breakfast were very amiable." Amicable is closer in meaning to amity: it implies friendliness and politeness with the desire to avoid disagreement and argument. A relationship between coworkers might be described as amicable. Other family members of amicus are the Spanish borrowing amigo ("friend") and the antonymous enemy, which developed from the Latin combination of the prefix in- ("not") with amicus.

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