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 18th, 2016

Episode 453 of 923 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 18, 2016 is: deasil \DEE-zil\ adv : clockwise Examples: The worshippers dance around the firedeasil, orsunwise. "Three times wewalked deasilaround our central candle. By the third cycle I felt power flowing from Sky's fingers to mine, from my fingers to Alyce's." — Cate Tiernan, Spellbound, 2001 Did you know? According to an old custom, you can bring someone good fortune by walking around the person clockwise three times while carrying a torch or candle. In Scottish Gaelic, the word deiseil is used for the direction one walks in such a luck-bringing ritual. English speakers modified the spelling to deasil, and have used the word to describe clockwise motion in a variety of rituals.

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