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 16th, 2016
Episode 618 of 794 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for August 16, 2016 is: dedication \ded-ih-KAY-shun\ noun 1 : a devoting or setting aside for a particular purpose or use 2 : a name and often a message prefixed to a literary, musical, or artistic production in tribute to a person or cause 3 : self-sacrificing devotion 4 : a ceremony to mark the official completion or opening of something (as a building) Examples: "Each of my days with my children embodies my dedication when I am open to them. Sitting around our kitchen table over dinner … we are giving thanks, talking to each other, laughing…." — Kathryn Black, in The Imperfect Mom, 2006 "My wife would say my best habit is ... my work ethic. She's impressed by my dedication." — Jimmie Johnson, quoted in Good Housekeeping, April 2012 Did you know? The word dedication first appears in the 14th century as a name for the solemn act of dedicating something, such as a calendar day or a church, to a divine being or to a sacred use. The word—formed from the Latin past participle of dedicare, meaning "to dedicate"—did not take hold in secular contexts until a few centuries later when English speakers began using it to refer to the act of devoting time and energy to a particular purpose. One of the earliest writers to do so is William Shakespeare. "His life I gave him, and did thereto ad / My love without retention or restraint, / All his in dedication….," proclaims his character Antonio in Twelfth Night. Dedication has also come to describe the quality of being loyal or devoted to a cause, ideal, or purpose. Nowadays, people are commonly spoken of as having a dedication to his or her family or work.