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Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day

Merriam-Webster

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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.

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callow

May 3rd, 2016

Episode 513 of 717 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for May 3, 2016 is: callow \KAL-oh\ adjective : lacking adult sophistication : immature Examples: "So callowwas Williams that there was a clause in his first contract, which he signed at the age of 18, that stipulated the team would pay for his mother to be with him at least one week of every month." — Steve Hummer, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 9 Dec. 2012 "At 5-10, 145 pounds, Justin Thomas, 22, seems too slight and callow to be a good example … of the foundational act on which modern professional golf is built. At least until he springs into his downswing with a driver." — Golf Digest, February 2016 Did you know? You might not expect a relationship between the word callow and baldness, but that connection does in fact exist. Callow comes from calu, a word that meant "bald" in Middle English and Old English. By the 17th century, callow had come to mean "without feathers" and was applied to young birds not yet ready for flight. The term was also used for those who hadn't yet spread their wings in a figurative sense. Callow continues to mean "inexperienced" or "unsophisticated" today.

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