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 31st, 2015
Episode 366 of 718 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for October 31, 2015 is: ebullient \ih-BULL-yunt\ adjective 1 : boiling, agitated 2 : having or showing liveliness and enthusiasm : exuberant Examples: "Keegan, effortlessly ebullient even on his worst days, is probably the easiest person in the history of civilization to have a conversation with." Jay Martel, The New Yorker (online), 9 Sept. 2015 "You have to feel ebullient in what you're wearing. Especially in the spring, you want to enjoy yourself." Alexa Adams, quoted in Reuters UK, 16 Sept. 2015 Did you know? Someone who is ebullient is bubbling over with enthusiasm, so it shouldn't be much of a surprise that the adjective ebullient derives from the Latin verb ebullire, which means "to bubble out." (The stem bullire is an ancestor of our word boil and derives from bulla, the Latin word for "bubble.") In its earliest known uses in English in the late 1500s, ebullient was used in the sense of "boiling" or "bubbling" that might have described a pot simmering on the stove. Only later did the word's meaning broaden to encompass emotional agitation (particularly of the exuberant kind) in addition to the tempestuous roiling of a boiling liquid.