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.



August 4th, 2016

Episode 606 of 923 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for August 4, 2016 is: edify \ED-uh-fye\ verb : to instruct and improve especially in moral and religious knowledge : uplift; also : enlighten, inform Examples: "Reading Lawrence, I am amazed and edified by the raw emotional intensity of his characters. I’m looking for ways to internalize this rich, untamed emotion and try to impart something of it to the characters who come to life in my keyboard." — A. B. Yehoshua, quoted in The New York Times Book Review, 16 June 2016 "He said he hopes the group takes away the community they began to build, so they can unify and edify each other to do the work of recovery." — Taylor Stuck, The Herald-Dispatch (Huntington, West Virginia), 15 May 2016 Did you know? The Latin noun aedes, meaning "house" or "temple," is the root of aedificare, a verb meaning "to erect a house." Generations of speakers built on that meaning, and by the Late Latin period, the verb had gained the figurative sense of "to instruct or improve spiritually." The word eventually passed through Anglo-French before Middle English speakers adopted it as edify during the 14th century. Two of its early meanings, "to build" and "to establish," are now considered archaic; the only current sense of edify is essentially the same as that figurative meaning in Late Latin, "to instruct and improve in moral and religious knowledge."

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