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.



October 15th, 2014

Episode 6 of 681 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for October 15, 2014 is: doctrinaire \dahk-truh-NAIR\ adjective : attempting to put into effect an abstract doctrine or theory with little or no regard for practical difficulties Examples: "As doctrinaire as I may be about players being ready to play every day," Coach said, "they are also human beings; I need to accept they are going to need breaks once in a while." "We use endorsement interviews to see how candidates interact with their opponents, how politically daring (or doctrinaire) they are and whether theyre thinking more about the publics good or their own campaigns." Elizabeth Sullivan, Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), September 21, 2014 Did you know? Doctrinaire didn't start out as a critical word. In post-revolutionary France, a group who favored constitutional monarchy called themselves Doctrinaires. Doctrine in French, as in English, is a word for the principles on which a government is based; it is ultimately from Latin doctrina, meaning "teaching" or "instruction." But both ultraroyalists and revolutionists strongly derided any doctrine of reconciling royalty and representation as utterly impracticable, and they resented the Doctrinaires' influence over Louis XVIII. So when doctrinaire became an adjective, "there adhered to it some indescribable tincture of unpopularity which was totally indelible" (Blanc's History of Ten Years 1830-40, translated by Walter K. Kelly in 1848).

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