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 7th, 2016
Episode 609 of 848 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for August 7, 2016 is: devotion \dih-VOH-shun\ noun 1 a : religious fervor : piety b : a religious exercise or practice for private use 2 : the act of devoting b : the fact or state of being ardently dedicated and loyal Examples: "Intensely competitive and a gifted athlete, [Mariano] Rivera will delight baseball fans. But the memories recounted here … ultimately reveal something deeper: Rivera's almost incredible humility, unshakeable faith, and devotion to his family (he married his childhood sweetheart, Clara)." — Publisher's Weekly Review, 12 Mar. 2014 "Precious made headlines last December for her act of devotion. The protective dog with big brown eyes guarded her owner after a fire broke out at their … home." — Erica Jones, NBCWashington.com, 23 July 2016 Did you know? When we take a vow, we pledge our devotion—whether to remain true to a partner, to uphold the law, or to honor the word of God. It should be no surprise then that devotion and its related verb devote come from the act of taking a vow. Both words originate from Latin devotus, which is the past participle of devovēre, a union of the prefix de- ("from") and the verb vovēre ("to vow"). Devote was once used as an adjective that could mean either "devout" or "devoted." While devout often connotes faithfulness of a religious nature, the adjective devoted conveys the sense of one's commitment to another through love and loyalty ("a devoted husband and father"; "the singer's devoted fans").