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.
December 4th, 2015
Episode 391 of 795 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for December 04, 2015 is: imprimatur \im-pruh-MAH-toor\ noun 1 a : a license to print or publish especially by Roman Catholic episcopal authority b : approval of a publication under circumstances of official censorship 2 a : sanction, approval b : imprint c : a mark of approval or distinction Examples: "But that's the new Coachella. Being the country's most compelling music festival wasn't enough. It needed a celebrity imprimatur. And with Madonna's much publicized booking last year, the guest list bulged." Charles Aaron, Spin, August 2007 "Overseeing the design of the restaurant space is Paul Basile of Basile Studio. His imprimatur will also be on a major remodel of Craft & Commerce, which is in the midst of a $1.8 million redo." Lori Weisberg, The San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 Oct. 2015 Did you know? Imprimatur means "let it be printed" in New Latin. It comes from Latin imprimere, meaning to "imprint" or "impress." In the 1600s, the word appeared in the front matter of books, accompanied by the name of an official authorizing the book's printing. It was also in the 1600s that English speakers began using imprimatur in the general sense of "official approval." The Roman Catholic Church still issues imprimaturs for books concerned with religious matters (to indicate that a work contains nothing offensive to Catholic morals or faith), and there have been other authorities for imprimaturs as well. For example, when Samuel Pepys was president of the Royal Society, he placed his imprimatur on the title page of England's great scientific work, Sir Isaac Newton's Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, in 1687.