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.
November 11th, 2015
Episode 377 of 688 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for November 11, 2015 is: dewy \DOO-ee\ adjective 1 : moist with, affected by, or suggestive of dew 2 : innocent, unsophisticated Examples: The lawn was dewy and cool on our feet as we set off for a short barefoot walk just after sunrise. "Listening to their greatest hits with the 5th Dimension and as a duothe dewy confessions of everlasting love, the sunny songs of soft psychedeliarecalls a time in pop when innocence was still relatively easy to manufacture." Rashod Ollison, The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Virginia), 2 Oct. 2015 Did you know? "And her faire deawy eies with kisses deare Shee ofte did bathe" (Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene). "I would these dewy teares were from the ground" (William Shakespeare, Richard III). "Till dewie sleep Oppress'd them" (John Milton, Paradise Lost). "Strengthen me, enlighten me Thou dewy dawn of memory" (Alfred Tennyson, "Ode to Memory"). Such lines exemplify how the greats have poetically extended the characteristics of dewy grass to misty or crying eyes, as well as to things, like sleep, that affect people gently like forming dew, or to things, like memory, that gradually vanish like a morning's dew. In recent times, the adjective has often been used to describe the luminous complexions of models and starletsan extension of the "suggestive of dew" meaning. It was not until the 20th century that people began to connect newly formed, undisturbed dew with freshness or purity and, in turn, with innocence and unsophistication, as in our second example sentence.