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.



March 22nd, 2016

Episode 481 of 681 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for March 22, 2016 is: hie \HYE\ verb 1 : to go quickly : hasten 2 : to cause (oneself) to go quickly Examples: "Then hie you hence to Friar Laurence's cell; / There stays a husband to make you a wife." — William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, 1597 "The Tulsa State Fair is an annual, autumnal assault on the senses—a cornucopia of cacophony, a symphony of scents, a fulsomeness of flashing lights, a horde of humanity hieing themselves hither and yon along … the Expo Square fairgrounds." — James D. Watts Jr., The Tulsa (Oklahoma) World, 30 Sept. 2015 Did you know? Hie has been part of English since the 12th century, and it stems from the even hoarier hīgian, an Old English word meaning "to strive" or "to hasten." Hie enjoyed a high popularity period from the 16th to the 19th centuries, and you're sure to encounter it in the literature of those times—writers from Shakespeare to Twain penned it into their prose. But don't get the idea that hie is just a word of the past; it regularly pops up in current publications as well—often, though not always, in contexts in which the author is wanting to approximate an old-timey way of communicating.