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.



June 29th, 2015

Episode 241 of 681 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for June 29, 2015 is: expeditious \ek-spuh-DISH-us\ adjective : marked by or acting with prompt efficiency Examples: Geraldine was impressed by the company's expeditious response, which arrived in the mail only one week after she had submitted her query. "[Councilman Frank Colonna] also noted that the recently formed Economic Development Commission is actively working to make the city more business friendly, and he hopes issues such as this can be dealt with in a more expeditious way." Ashleigh Ruhl, Press-Telegram (Long Beach, CA), May 9, 2015 Did you know? Like expeditious, all of the following words contain ped. Can you guess which ones get those three letters from the same Latin root as expeditious? encyclopedia, expedition, stampede, torpedo, orthopedic, & impede The Latin source of expeditious is the verb expedire, which means "to extricate," "to prepare," or "to be useful." The ped is from pes, meaning "foot." (The ex- means "out of," and the literal sense of expedire is "to free the feet.") The ped in impede also comes from pes. But the ped in encyclopedia and orthopedic is from the Greek pais, meaning "child"; stampede is from the Spanish estampar, meaning "to stamp"; and torpedo is from the Latin torpēre, meaning "to be sluggish." What about expedition? Meaning both "a journey" and "promptness," it is from expedire and, in turn, pes.