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.



October 4th, 2016

Episode 667 of 923 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for October 4, 2016 is: banausic \buh-NAW-sik\ adjective : relating to or concerned with earning a living — used pejoratively; also : utilitarian, practical Examples: "At the far end was a wooden board on which were hung saws, chisels, knives and other banausic instruments of the trade." — Sebastian Faulk, Human Traces, 2005 "That story is followed by a brilliant allegory of reality TV and the cult of personality,Rumours About Me, in which a simple company man sees his banausicdaily life … broadcast by the media until he is transformed into 'a nobody who was known by everybody.'" — Christine Thomas, The Miami Herald, 2 Nov. 2008 Did you know? The ancient Greeks held intellectual pursuits in the highest esteem, and they considered ideal a leisurely life of contemplation. A large population of slaves enabled many Greek citizens to adopt that preferred lifestyle. Those who had others to do the heavy lifting for them tended to regard professional labor with contempt. Their prejudice against the need to toil to earn a living is reflected in the Greek adjective banausikos (the root of banausic), which not only means "of an artisan" (from the word for "artisan," banausos) but "nonintellectual" as well.

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