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 14th, 2015
Episode 380 of 903 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for November 14, 2015 is: equanimity \ee-kwuh-NIM-uh-tee\ noun 1 : evenness of mind especially under stress 2 : right disposition : balance Examples: The most successful athletes find a way to maintain equanimity in the face of disappointment and failure. "The theme of crime and punishment, with an emphasis on compassion, threads through this road movie, culminating in a conversation with a human-rights attorney whose equanimity in the face of daunting challenges mirrors Panahi's." Sheri Linden, The Los Angeles Times, 9 Oct. 2015 Did you know? If you think equanimity looks like it has something to do with equal, you've guessed correctly. Both equanimity and equal are derived from aequus, a Latin adjective meaning "level" or "equal." Equanimity comes from the combination of aequus and animus ("soul" or "mind") in the Latin phrase aequo animo, which means "with even mind." English speakers began using equanimity early in the 17th century with the now obsolete sense "fairness or justness of judgment," which was in keeping with the meaning of the Latin phrase. Equanimity quickly came to suggest keeping a cool head under any sort of pressure, not merely when presented with a problem, and eventually it developed an extended sense for general balance and harmony.