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.
May 24th, 2015
Episode 205 of 790 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for May 24, 2015 is: erudite \AIR-uh-dyte\ adjective : having or showing knowledge that is gained by studying : possessing or displaying extensive knowledge acquired chiefly from books Examples: The university hosted an informative lecture given by an erudite scholar of Cold War history. "But because the stakes here feel so highthat is, because the Internet has not been the great equalizer we'd hoped it'd be but instead reinforces established winner-take-all systemsa serious, erudite appraisal of social media is exactly what we need right now." John Wilwol, San Francisco Chronicle, April 5, 2015 Did you know? Erudite derives via Middle English erudit from Latin eruditus, the past participle of the verb erudire, meaning "to instruct." A closer look at that verb shows that it is formed by combining the prefix e-, meaning "missing" or "absent," with the adjective rudis, which means "rude" or "ignorant" and is also the source of our word rude. We typically use the word rude to mean "discourteous" or "uncouth," but it can also mean "lacking refinement" or "uncivilized"; someone who is erudite, therefore, has been transformed from a roughened or uninformed state to a polished and knowledgeable one through a devotion to learning.