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.



June 5th, 2015

Episode 217 of 681 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for June 05, 2015 is: frugal \FROO-gul\ adjective : characterized by or reflecting economy in the use of resources Examples: In order to save both energy and money, Joni was frugal with air-conditioning, usually opting to turn on a fan instead whenever it got too hot in her apartment. "Budgeting makes most people groan, and it's easy to understand why. The idea of reining it in and becoming frugal feels like the financial equivalent of forsaking steak for rice cakes (no offense to anyone who prefers rice cakes)." Anna B. Wroblewska, Motley Fool, January 5, 2015 Did you know? Those who are frugal are unwilling to (lavishly) enjoy the fruits of their labors, so it may surprise you to learn that frugal ultimately derives from the Latin frux, meaning "fruit" or "value," and is even a distant cousin of the Latin word for "enjoy" (frui). The connection between fruit/value and restraint was first made in Latin; the Middle French word that English speakers eventually adopted as frugal came from the Latin adjective frugalis, a frux descendant meaning "virtuous" or "frugal." Although English speakers adopted frugal by the early 17th century, they were already lavishly supplied with earlier coinages to denote the idea, including sparing and thrifty.