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.
July 15th, 2015
Episode 257 of 688 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for July 15, 2015 is: innocuous \ih-NAH-kyuh-wus\ adjective 1 : producing no injury : harmless 2 : not likely to give offense or to arouse strong feelings or hostility : inoffensive, insipid Examples: Laura was relieved to discover that the wild plants her dog had eaten were innocuous. "We're constantly being tracked through social media and our Internet browsing habits for such innocuous details as age, marital status, where we live, recent life events, education level and dog ownership, so companies can pitch their wares to us." Elizabeth Simpson, Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Virginia), June 21, 2015 Did you know? Innocuous has harmful rootsit comes to us from the Latin adjective innocuus, which was formed by combining the negative prefix in- with a form of the verb nocēre, meaning "to harm" or "to hurt." In addition, nocēre is related to the truly "harmful" words noxious, nocent, and even nocuous. Innocent is from nocēre as well, but like innocuous it has the in- prefix negating the hurtful possibilities. Innocuous first appeared in print in 1631 with the clearly Latin-derived meaning "harmless or causing no injury" (as in "an innocuous gas"). The second sense is a metaphorical extension of the idea of injury used to indicate that someone or something does not cause hurt feelings, or even strong feelings ("an innocuous book" or "innocuous issues," for example).
Have you trembled ‘round the campfire as the ghost stories are told? Do tales of horrors wrought by nature and beyond strike fear in your soul? Is it best when you are afraid to turn out the light? Thrill to stories that strike at your deepest fears, as host Stephen Kilpatrick brings the best of horror fiction to your ears and your mind, read to you by the most chilling narrators that podcasting has to offer. <br /> <br /> Podcasting the finest in genre fiction, Tales to Terrify is where the depths of horror reveal the truths of good, evil, and the human spirit in the District of Wonders podcast network. Like all shows in the District of Wonders, Tales to Terrify is supported by a welcoming community of dedicated fans and contributors. Subscribe today, and begin your journey through the spine-tingling depths of storytelling.<br /> <br /> Everyone has a story in the District of Wonders. Come and find yours.