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.



September 13th, 2015

Episode 318 of 923 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 13, 2015 is: druthers \DRUH-therz\ noun : free choice : preference used especially in the phrase if one had one's druthers Examples: If I had my druthers, I'd be relaxing at the beach this weekend instead of cleaning out my garage. "If Hammond had his druthers, the jail would move out of downtown, an idea that has taken hold in cities across the country, from Baltimore to Napa, Calif." Clint Cooper, Chattanooga (Tennessee) Times Free Press, 7 June 2015 Did you know? Druther is an alteration of "would rather." "Any way you druther have it, that is the way I druther have it," says Huck to Tom in Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer, Detective. This example of metanalysis (the shifting of a sound from one constituent of a phrase to another) had likely been around for some time in everyday speech when Twain put those words in Huck's mouth. By then, in fact, druthers had already become a plural noun, so Tom could reply, "There ain't any druthers about it, Huck Finn; nobody said anything about druthers." Druthers is essentially a dialectal term and it tends to suggest an informality of tone, but in current use it doesn't necessarily suggest a lack of sophistication or education.

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