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 2nd, 2015

Episode 275 of 923 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for August 02, 2015 is: brusque \BRUSK\ adjective 1 : markedly short and abrupt 2 : blunt in manner or speech often to the point of ungracious harshness Examples: On her first day of work, Diana's new boss gave her only a brusque greeting before showing her the place where she would be working. "In a brusque statement, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner would only say Schock's resignation Tuesday is 'a sad day for the people of Illinois and the 18th District.'" Associated Press, March 17, 2015 Did you know? We borrowed brusque from French in the 1600s. The French, in turn, had borrowed it from Italian, where it was spelled brusco and meant "tart." And the Italian term came from bruscus, the Medieval Latin name for butcher's-broom, a shrub whose bristly leaf-like twigs have long been used for making brooms. English speakers initially used brusque to refer to a tartness in wine, but the word soon came to denote a harsh and stiff mannerwhich is just what you might expect of a word bristling with associations to stiff, scratchy brooms.

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