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.



February 22nd, 2016

Episode 457 of 923 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 22, 2016 is: bumptious \BUMP-shus\ adjective : presumptuously, obtusely, and often noisily self-assertive : obtrusive Examples: The talk show often features interesting guests, but the bumptious host's tendency to turn the interview back to himself can get annoying. "He had a sense of himself that was strong; that’s why he was successful as an actor. But he was never bumptious or presumptive, he was gentle." — Brian Cox, quoted in The Guardian, 15 Jan. 2016 Did you know? Etymologists believe that bumptious was probably coined, perhaps playfully, from the noun bump plus -tious. (Think of the obtrusive way an overly assertive person might "bump" through a crowd.) When bumptious was first used around 1800, it meant "conceited." Charles Dickens used it that way in David Copperfield: "His hair was very smooth and wavy; but I was informed … that it was a wig … and that he needn't be so 'bounceable'—somebody else said 'bumptious'—about it, because his own red hair was very plainly to be seen behind."

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