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.
December 24th, 2014
Episode 55 of 689 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for December 24, 2014 is: extraneous \ek-STRAY-nee-us\ adjective 1 : existing on or coming from the outside 2 a : not forming an essential or vital part b : having no relevance 3 : being a number obtained in solving an equation that is not a solution of the equation Examples: The woman who reported the robbery kept bringing up extraneous facts, such as what she'd had for lunch. "Considering that the penguins were nearly cut out of the original movie as extraneous extras, we should also celebrate their survival instincts." Bruce Kirkland, London Free Press, November 25, 2014 Did you know? We'll try not to weigh you down with a lot of extraneous information about the word extraneous, but we will tell you that it has been a part of the English language since at least 1638. It derives from the Latin word extraneus, which literally means "external." Extraneus is also the root of the words strange and estrange ("to alienate the affections or confidence of").