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 7th, 2015

Episode 100 of 688 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 07, 2015 is: diapason \dye-uh-PAY-zun\ noun 1 a : the principal foundation stop in the organ extending through the complete range of the instrument b : the entire range of musical tones 2 a : tuning fork b : a standard of pitch Examples: We knew the audience enjoyed Heather's stand-up comedy from the diapasons of laughter that erupted throughout her routine. "The programme, genially introduced by Peter King, showed us what a very fine sound the Klais [organ] can produce, played by a master. From the tinkling bells to the mighty diapason, it filled the Abbey with a wealth of tuneful lush harmony." Peter Lloyd Williams, Bath (UK) Chronicle, May 19, 2014 Did you know? Diapason covers a wide range of meanings in English, almost all pertaining to music or sound. The word derives from the Greek roots dia-, which means "through" and occurs in such words as diameter and diagonal, and pasōn, the genitive feminine plural of pas, meaning "all." Pas is related to the prefix pan-, which is used in such words as pantheism and pandemic. In Greek, the phrase hē dia pasōn chordōn symphōnia translates literally to "the concord through all the notes," with the word concord here referring to a combination of tones that are heard simultaneously and produce an agreeable impression on the listener.

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