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.
October 14th, 2014
Episode 5 of 903 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for October 14, 2014 is: judgment \JUJ-munt\ noun 1 : a formal utterance of an authoritative opinion 2 : a formal decision given by a court 3 : the capacity for judging or the exercise of this capacity Examples: Theresa showed good judgment by clearing her family out of the house as soon as she smelled gas. "Christenson said he'll reserve judgment on the larger iPhone 6 until he holds one in his hand." Neil Nisperos, Redlands Daily Facts (California), September 10, 2014 Did you know? Judgment can also be spelled "judgement," and usage experts have long disagreed over which spelling is the preferred one. Henry Fowler asserted, "The OED [Oxford English Dictionary] prefers the older and more reasonable spelling. 'Judgement' is therefore here recommended." William Safire held an opposite opinion, writing, "My judgment is that Fowler is not to be followed." "Judgement" is in fact the older spelling, but it dropped from favor and for centuries "judgment" was the only spelling to appear in dictionaries. That changed when the OED (Fowler's source) was published showing "judgement" as an equal variant. Today, "judgment" is more popular in the U.S., whereas both spellings make a good showing in Britain.