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 5th, 2015
Episode 126 of 797 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for March 05, 2015 is: ilk \ILK\ noun : sort, kind Examples: The hole beneath the stairs of the cabin's porch allows in squirrels, woodchucks, and other creatures of that ilk. "In many parts of the world, anyone who will ever buy a smartphone probably has done so, and now we're on to the steady business of buying a new one only when we break, lose, or need to replace our old phones. When analysts discuss growth predictions for cell phones and their ilk, they signal nothing but caution." Lindsey Turrentine, CNET, February 6, 2015 Did you know? The Old English pronoun ilca is the predecessor of the modern noun ilk, but by way of a pronoun ilk that does not exist in most dialects of modern English. That ilk is synonymous with same, and persists in Scots where it's used in the phrase "of that ilk," meaning "of the same place, territorial designation, or name." It is used chiefly in reference to the names of land-owning families and their eponymous estates, as in "the Guthries of that ilk," which means "the Guthries of Guthrie." Centuries ago a misunderstanding arose concerning the Scots phrase: it was interpreted as meaning "of that kind or sort," a usage that found its way into modern English. Ilk has been established in English with its current meaning and part of speech since the late 18th century.