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.



April 23rd, 2016

Episode 503 of 681 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 23, 2016 is: exodus \EK-suh-dus\ noun 1 : (capitalized) the mainly narrative second book of canonical Jewish and Christian Scripture 2 : a mass departure : emigration Examples: When the concert ended, the exodus of attendees clogged up traffic for miles. "The path of corporate exodus from New York City to New Jersey is well-worn, but real estate brokers and others say that the pace has quickened recently." — Kathleen Lynn, The Record (Bergen County, New Jersey), 28 Feb. 2016 Did you know? The Biblical book of Exodus describes the departure of the Israelites from Egypt, so it's no surprise that the word has come to refer more generally to any mass departure. The word itself was adopted into English (via Latin) from Greek Exodos, which literally means "the road out." The Greek word was formed by combining the prefix ex- and hodos, meaning "road" or "way." Other descendants of the prolific hodos in English include episode, method, odometer, and period. There are also several scientific words that can be traced back to hodos. Anode and cathode can refer, respectively, to the positive and negative electrodes of a diode, and hodoscope refers to an instrument for tracing the paths of ionizing particles.