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 5th, 2016

Episode 576 of 689 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for July 5, 2016 is: felicitous \fih-LISS-uh-tus\ adjective 1 : very well suited or expressed : apt 2 : pleasant, delightful Examples: The warm air and clear, dark skies made for felicitous conditions for the fireworks show. "Experience has been instructive to Moulder, who has learned that churches have been particularly felicitous spaces. Granted, the general public may associate the music with nightclubs and sensuality, but jazz has deep roots in the church that flowered in the form of works such as John Coltrane's 'A Love Supreme'…." — Howard Reich, The Chicago Tribune, 3 Mar. 2016 Did you know? The adjective felicitous has been a part of our language since the late 18th century, but felicity, the noun meaning "great happiness," and later, "aptness," was around even in Middle English (as felicite, a borrowing from Anglo-French). Both words ultimately derive from the Latin adjective felix, meaning "fruitful" or "happy." The connection between happy and felicitous continues today in that both words can mean "notably fitting, effective, or well adapted." Happy typically suggests what is effectively or successfully appropriate (as in "a happy choice of words"), and felicitous often implies an aptness that is opportune, telling, or graceful (as in "a felicitous phrase").

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