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.



July 13th, 2015

Episode 255 of 681 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for July 13, 2015 is: estival \ESS-tuh-vul\ adjective : of or relating to the summer Examples: The children were reveling in their weeks of summer vacation, filling their school-free estival afternoons with swimming and playing. "Guests heeded the dress suggestion and came in the estival attire requested on the Betty Hunley-created invitation: 'white linen, seersucker or summer chic.'" Nell Nolan, Times-Picayune (New Orleans, Louisiana), July 31, 2010 Did you know? Estival and festival look so much alike that you might think they're very closely related, but that isn't the case. Estival traces back to aestas, which is the Latin word for "summer" (and which also gave us estivate, a verb for spending the summer in a torpid statea sort of hot-weather equivalent of hibernation). Festival also comes from Latin, but it has a different and unrelated root. It derives from festivus, a term that means "festive" or "merry." Festivus is also the ancestor of festive and festivity as well as the much rarer festivous (which also means "festive") and infestive, meaning "not merry, mirthless."