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.
November 10th, 2014
Episode 14 of 790 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for November 10, 2014 is: egregious \ih-GREE-juss\ adjective : conspicuous; especially : conspicuously bad : flagrant Examples: It was an egregious breach of theater etiquette on Eugene's part when he left his cell phone on during the play and it rang during an important scene. "Stanford still leads in the nation in scoring defense, but had perhaps the most egregious defensive breakdown of the weekend, failing to cover a Notre Dame receiver who scored the winning touchdown on a fourth-down pass with 1:01 left." Jake Curtis, San Francisco Chronicle, October 5, 2014 Did you know? Egregious derives from the Latin word egregius, meaning "distinguished" or "eminent." In its earliest English uses, egregious was a compliment to someone who had a remarkably good quality that placed him or her eminently above others. That's how English philosopher and theorist Thomas Hobbes used it in flattering a colleague when he remarked, "I am not so egregious a mathematician as you are." Since Hobbes' day, however, the meaning of the word has become noticeably less complimentary, possibly as a result of ironic use of its original sense.