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 23rd, 2016
Episode 458 of 689 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 23, 2016 is: hale \HAIL\ adjective : free from defect, disease, or infirmity : sound; also : retaining exceptional health and vigor Examples: "He was a rich and powerful noble, then in his sixty-second year, but hale and sturdy, a great horseman and hunter and a pious man." — Edith Wharton, "Kerfol," 1916 "These twins were New Year's babies in 1926. Today the two men arehaleand healthy and love to banter with each other about old times and their lives." — Marilyn Salzl Brinkman, The St. Cloud (Minnesota) Times, 18 Dec. 2015 Did you know? When you need a word to describe someone or something in good health, you might pick hale or a synonym such as healthy, sound, or robust. Of those terms, healthy is the most general, implying full strength and vigor or simply freedom from signs of disease. Sound generally emphasizes the complete absence of defects of mind or body. Robust implies the opposite of all that is delicate or sickly and usually suggests muscular strength as well as the ability to work or play long and hard. Hale applies especially to robustness in later life. The phrase "hale and hearty" is often used to describe an older person who retains the physical qualities of youth.