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 27th, 2015
Episode 406 of 848 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for December 27, 2015 is: favonian \fuh-VOH-nee-un\ adjective : of or relating to the west wind : mild Examples: Our guests relaxed on the patio, watching the sunset and enjoying favonian breezes. "The singular microclimate of Neuras makes [wine production] possible, as the favonian wind blowing in from the Atlantic chills the area down, while a geological fault spills out five natural springs into the alkaline soil." — Richard Bangs, The Huffington Post,7 Oct. 2014 Did you know? In "Ode to the West Wind," poet Percy Bysshe Shelley called the "wild West Wind" the "breath of Autumn's being." But according to Greco-Roman tradition, the west wind was warm and usually gentle. Its Latin name, Favonius, is the basis for the English adjective favonian and derives from roots that are akin to the Latin fovēre, meaning "to warm." Zephyros, a Greek name for the west wind, is the ultimate source of zephyr, meaning "a gentle breeze." In Greco-Roman tradition, it was the north wind, Boreas (aka Aquilo), who was the rude and blustery type.