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.
June 20th, 2015
Episode 232 of 848 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for June 20, 2015 is: hobbit \HOB-it\ noun : a member of a fictitious peaceful and genial race of small humanlike creatures that dwell underground Examples: Anthony attended the science-fiction and fantasy convention dressed as a hobbit. "Jones' 10x20 hobbit-style house comes equipped with the iconic ivy-covered roof and many amenities indoors, including a washer/dryer, full kitchen, shower room and even a flat screen TV." Keith Lovely, Jr., HLNtv.com, February 9, 2015 Did you know? "What is a hobbit?" wrote J. R. R. Tolkien in the 1937 fantasy novel that introduced Mr. Bilbo Baggins. The author then answered himself: "They are (or were) little people, about half our height, and smaller than the bearded Dwarves.... There is little or no magic about them, except the ordinary everyday sort which helps them to disappear when large stupid folk like you and me come blundering along...." Tolkien tells us that hobbits "are inclined to be fat," and that they "dress in bright colours"; they "have good-natured faces, and deep fruity laughs (especially after dinner)." Tolkien, a professional linguist who taught at Oxford, coined the word hobbit (and many other termsin fact, a whole new language) for The Hobbit and for his enormously popular series The Lord of the Rings.