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.



August 5th, 2015

Episode 278 of 681 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for August 05, 2015 is: hermitage \HER-mih-tij\ noun 1 : the habitation of a hermit 2 : a secluded residence or private retreat; also : monastery 3 : the life or condition of a hermit Examples: "At a Catholic hermitage near Lac Saint-Jean, the Franciscan Capuchin friar Sylvain Richer told me he grew up saying 'Beam me up, Scotty.'" Associated Press, June 29, 2015 "The facility will include a convent, a chapel, a library, a Rosary Walk area, coffee shops, hermitages or small cottages, and areas for larger retreat groups and for people or couples to stay." Rebecca McKinsey, Daily Times Herald (Carroll, Iowa), December 22, 2014 Did you know? Hermitage is of course related to hermit, a word for one who retreats from society to live in solitude, often for religious reasons. The origins of hermitage and hermit are found in Greek. Erēmos (meaning "desolate") gave rise to erēmia (meaning "desert") and eventually to the noun erēmitēs, which was used for a person living in the desert, or, more broadly, for a recluse. The word journeyed from Greek to Latin to Anglo-French to Middle English, where it eventually transformed into hermit. The related hermitage was borrowed into English from Anglo-French in the 14th century. A hermitage can be the dwelling of a hermit (e.g., a mountain shack or a monastery) or simply a secluded home.