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.



September 17th, 2016

Episode 650 of 681 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 17, 2016 is: gadarene \GAD-uh-reen\ adjective : headlong, precipitate Examples: The chairman was worried that in the company's gadarene rush to go public its original obligation to the customer would be forgotten. "Virginia's innate conservatism has spared it from foolishly joining many a Gadarene rush. But its glacial embrace of change has also kept it from adopting necessary and beneficial reforms, such as charter schools and new revenue for transportation." — The Richmond (Virginia) Times Dispatch, 3 Feb. 2013 Did you know? Gadara, in Biblical times, was a town just southeast of the Sea of Galilee. In the account given in the book of Matthew (8:28), Jesus, on a visit there, exorcised the demons from two possessed people and sent the demons into some nearby swine. The possessed swine ran in a mad dash down a steep bank into the Sea and drowned. Gadarene, an adjective used to describe a headlong rush (and often capitalized in recognition of its origin), made its first known plunge into our lexicon in the 1920s. The swine sometimes make an appearance as well, as when an imprudently hasty act is compared to "the rush of the Gadarene swine."