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.
January 28th, 2016
Episode 437 of 689 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for January 28, 2016 is: jeremiad \jair-uh-MYE-ud\ noun : a prolonged lamentation or complaint; also : a cautionary or angry harangue Examples: Mrs. Whinge waggled a finger at us and launched into a doleful jeremiad about how we would come to no good end. "[Pope Francis's] now-famousjeremiadsas pope against today's culture of excessive consumption and environmental degradation are rooted in a thrift ethic that he acquired early in life and never abandoned." — David Blankenhorn, The Deseret Morning News (Salt Lake City), 11 Dec. 2015 Did you know? Jeremiah was a Jewish prophet who lived from about 650 to 570 BC. He spent his days lambasting the Hebrews for their false worship and social injustice and denouncing the king for his selfishness, materialism, and inequities. When not calling on his people to quit their wicked ways, he was lamenting his own lot; a portion of the Bible's Book of Jeremiah is devoted to his "confessions," a series of lamentations on the hardships endured by a prophet with an unpopular message. Nowadays, English speakers use Jeremiah for a pessimistic person and jeremiad for the way these Jeremiahs carry on. The word jeremiad was actually borrowed from the French, who coined it as jérémiade.