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.



May 28th, 2015

Episode 209 of 681 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for May 28, 2015 is: fictioneer \fik-shuh-NEER\ noun : someone who writes fiction especially in quantity and without high standards Examples: Dwight was a fictioneer who specialized in pulp novels, producing over 300 of them in his long career. "Is it right for such irresponsiblefictioneersto be playing around unconscionably with such tragic subject matter?" Jeff Simon, Buffalo (New York) News, November 18, 2014 Did you know? In Latin, the verb fingere means "to shape, fashion, or feign." Fictioneers surely do shape stories and feign the truth, so you could say that the noun fictioneer is etymologically true to its ancestor. The word fiction had been around for more than 500 years by the time fictioneer appeared in English in 1923, bearing a suffix that harks back to such words as engineer and pamphleteer. The word is used generally to refer to any writer of fiction but often specifically to one who writes with little concern for literary quality. Fictioneer and fiction aren't the only English feigners and shapers born of fingere. The words effigy, feign, and figment are among others that trace back to that Latin verb.