Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day


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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.



September 25th, 2016

Episode 658 of 681 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 25, 2016 is: iota \eye-OH-tuh\ noun 1 : the 9th letter of the Greek alphabet 2 : an infinitesimal amount : jot Examples: "The rooms were impeccably decorated, with not an iota of clutter." — Judy DiForte, AnnArbor.com, 21 Mar. 2011 "The 'my way or the highway' representatives couldn't care one iota about those who do not share their specific values and goals." — Diane W. Mufson, The Herald-Dispatch (Huntington, West Virginia), 21 July 2016 Did you know? The words iota and jot share a lot more than just a common meaning—both ultimately derive from the same word. When Latin scholars transcribed the Greek name of the ninth letter of the Greek alphabet, they spelled it as either iota or jota (the letters i and j were simply variants of each other), and these spellings eventually passed into English as iota and jot. Since the Greek letter iota is the smallest letter of its alphabet, both words eventually came to be used in reference to very small things.

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