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 9th, 2015
Episode 251 of 900 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for July 09, 2015 is: garderobe \GAR-drohb\ noun 1 : a wardrobe or its contents 2 : a private room : bedroom 3 : privy, toilet Examples: On our tour of the castle, the guide made sure to point out the garderobe. "Located in Langley-on-Tyne, Northumberland, the castle has the best-preserved medieval latrines, or garderobes, in Europe. Historians think it was a garrison because it has 12." Sue Kovach Shuman, The Star-Ledger (Newark, New Jersey), April 30, 2006 Did you know? Garderobe entered the English language in the 15th century and continues in use to this day, though its frequency has diminished significantly since the 19th century. Originally, its primary duty was to provide English speakers with a word for a room or closet in which to store clothing. Later, by extension, it was used for private bedrooms and bathrooms. Today you are most likely to encounter the word in a description of an old castle, such as in our example sentences. Garder, the French word for "guard" on which garderobe is based, has also served English well by directly contributing to the formation of such words as award, guard, regard, and, yes, wardrobe.