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.



February 14th, 2015

Episode 107 of 923 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 14, 2015 is: folderol \FAHL-duh-rahl\ noun 1 : a useless ornament or accessory : trifle 2 : nonsense Examples: Stacy wanted nothing to do with the fuss and folderol of Valentine's Day and felt lucky that she had found in Lucas a partner who felt the same way. "We are overwhelmed with data from every quarter, and our capacity to filter fact from fraud is limited. Men and women of good intent who simply seek 'the truth' upon which to base their opinions find themselves awash in folderol." Doug McIntyre, Daily Beast, December 3, 2014 Did you know? Hogwash, claptrap, hooey, drivel, malarkey: English is rife with words that mean "nonsense," and folderol is one of the many. Though not the most common of the words for "nonsense," it's been around since 1820 and is still heard today. Folderol comes from fol-de-rol (or fal-de-ral), which used to be a nonsense refrain in songs, much like tra-la-la. The oldest recorded instance of someone "singing folderol" occurs in Irish dramatist George Farquhar's 1701 play Sir Harry Wildair, in which a character sings, "Fal, al, deral!"

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