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 16th, 2015

Episode 321 of 681 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 16, 2015 is: haptic \HAP-tik\ adjective 1 : relating to or based on the sense of touch 2 : characterized by a predilection for the sense of touch Examples: "Palmer Luckey, Oculus founder, says the Touch [video game controller] combines motion controls with physical buttons and haptic feedback such as vibrations." Chris Gaylord, The Christian Science Monitor, 12 June 2015 "Unlike most haptic systems, which rely on some sort of vibration motor, the technology behind the Hands Omni gloves instead uses something simpler: air. Small bladders are placed in the gloves' fingertips and, when the user reaches out to grab something in the virtual game world, the device selectively inflates those bladders, putting pressure on the user's fingertips and evoking the sensation of actually touching a physical object." Dan Moren, Popular Science, 27 Apr. 2015 Did you know? Haptic (from the Greek haptesthai, meaning "to touch") entered English in the second half of the 19th century as a medical synonym for tactile. By the middle of the 20th century, it had developed a psychological sense, describing individuals whose perception supposedly depended primarily on touch rather than sight. Although almost no one today divides humans into "haptic" and "visual" personalities, English retains the broadened psychological sense of haptic as well as the older "tactile" sense.