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.
April 26th, 2016
Episode 506 of 681 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 26, 2016 is: inveterate \in-VET-uh-rut\ adjective 1 : firmly established by long persistence 2 : confirmed in a habit : habitual Examples: Since Ernie is an inveterate liar, we naturally didn't believe him when he told us he'd met the movie star. "As an inveterate letter writer, I started sending email as soon as I could sign on with dial-up, and became impatient to connect via DSL." — Deborah Lee Luskin, The Rutland (Vermont) Herald, 25 Feb. 2016 Did you know? Like veteran, inveterate ultimately comes from Latin vetus, which means "old," and which led to the Latin verb inveterare ("to age"). That verb in turn gave rise eventually to the adjective inveteratus, the direct source of our adjective inveterate (in use since the 14th century). In the past, inveterate has meant "long-standing" or simply "old." For example, one 16th-century writer warned of "Those great Flyes which in the springe time of the yeare creepe out of inveterate walls." Today, inveterate most often applies to a habit, attitude, or feeling of such long existence that it is practically ineradicable or unalterable.