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.



April 25th, 2015

Episode 177 of 923 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 25, 2015 is: lissome \LISS-um\ adjective 1 : easily flexed 2 : lithe, nimble Examples: The lissome figures of the swimmers wriggled up and down the lanes of the pool. "One pas de deux, by Vernard J. Gilmore and Sarah Daley, whose arms floated from her lissome torso like drifting silk, offered a rare glimpse of the choreography's eerie capriciousness." Gia Kourlas, New York Times, December 8, 2014 Did you know? Lissome (sometimes spelled lissom) is a gently altered form of its synonym, lithesome. While lissome tends to be the more popular choice these days, the two words have similar pasts. They both appeared in the second half of the 18th century, and they both trace back to the much older lithe ("supple" or "graceful"), which first appeared in English during the 14th century and comes from an Old English word meaning "gentle." Lissome can also be an adverb meaning "in a supple or nimble manner," but this use is rare.

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