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.
February 28th, 2016
Episode 463 of 681 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 28, 2016 is: lexical \LEK-sih-kul\ adjective 1 : of or relating to words or the vocabulary of a language as distinguished from its grammar and construction 2 : of or relating to a lexicon or to lexicography Examples: For her paper on youth slang, Elyse studied the lexical habits of her generation versus those of her parents and grandparents. "It should come as no great surprise that writers are behind many of our lexical innovations. But the fact is, we have no idea who to credit for most of our lexicon." — Andy Bodle, The Guardian, 4 Feb. 2016 Did you know? The word lexicon can be used as a synonym of dictionary, and the word lexicography refers to the practice of dictionary making. Both of these words, as well as lexical, derive from the Greek word lexis, meaning "word" or "speech." A fourth descendant of lexis is lexiphanic, an archaic adjective describing one who uses pretentious words for effect. Lexis should not be confused with the Latin lex, or "law," which is used in legal phrases such as lex non scripta, meaning "unwritten law."