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 11th, 2015
Episode 223 of 848 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for June 11, 2015 is: inculcate \in-KUL-kayt\ verb : to teach and impress by frequent repetitions or admonitions Examples: Mark and Victoria tried to inculcate in their children the values of hard work, self-reliance, and respect for other people. "When Duke went to seven Final Fours over a nine-year span from 1986 through 1994, the Blue Devils were invariably led by juniors and seniors inculcated in how Krzyzewski wanted the game played." Barry Jacobs, Charlotte (North Carolina) News & Observer, April 10, 2015 Did you know? Inculcate derives from the past participle of the Latin verb inculcare, meaning "to tread on." In Latin, inculcare possesses both literal and figurative meanings, referring to either the act of walking over something or to that of impressing something upon the mind, often by way of steady repetition. It is the figurative sense that survives with inculcate, which was first used in English in the 16th century. Inculcare was formed in Latin by combining the prefix in- with calcare, meaning "to trample," and ultimately derives from the noun calx, meaning "heel." In normal usage inculcate is typically followed by the prepositions in or into, with the object of the preposition being the person or thing receiving the instruction.