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.



March 19th, 2016

Episode 478 of 923 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for March 19, 2016 is: kismet \KIZZ-met\ noun : fate Examples: It may have been kismet that brought the business duo together, but it was a case of smart research and development on his part and innovative advertising on hers that really launched the product. "The fact that Davis Love III was named U.S. Ryder Cup captain the same day his son, Dru, … won his first college title was too much kismetto ignore." — Ryan Herrington, Golf World, 2 Mar. 2015 Did you know? Is it your fate to tie macramé while drinking coffee and eating sherbet in a minaret? That would be an unusual destiny, but if it turns out to be your kismet, you will owe much to Turkish and Arabic. We borrowed kismet from Turkish in the 1800s, but it ultimately derives from the Arabic qisma, meaning "portion" or "lot." Several other terms in our bizarre opening question (namely, macramé, coffee, sherbet, and minaret) have roots in those languages too. In the case of macramé and minaret, there is a little French influence as well. Coffee and macramé also have Italian relations, and sherbet has an ancestor in a Persian name for a type of cold drink.

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