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.



July 30th, 2016

Episode 601 of 681 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for July 30, 2016 is: littoral \LIT-uh-rul\ adjective : of, relating to, or situated or growing on or near a shore especially of the sea Examples: The report shows dramatic improvement in the condition of the state's littoral waters since the cleanup effort began. "But this project will permanently add new sand to the beach and dune system of Dauphin Island's East End, and the new sand will stay in thelittoralsystem for centuries." — Scott Douglass, The Mobile (Alabama) Register, 6 Mar. 2016 Did you know? You're most likely to encounter littoral in contexts relating to the military and marine sciences. A littoral combat ship is a fast and easily maneuverable combat ship built for use in coastal waters. And in marine ecology, the littoral zone is a coastal zone characterized by abundant dissolved oxygen, sunlight, nutrients, and generally high wave energies and water motion. Littoral can also be found as a noun referring to a coastal region or, more technically, to the shore zone between the high tide and low tide points. The adjective is the older of the two, dating from the mid-17th century; the noun dates from the early 19th century. The word comes to English from Latin litoralis, itself from litor- or litus, meaning "seashore."

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