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.



December 10th, 2015

Episode 397 of 923 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for December 10, 2015 is: livid \LIV-id\ adjective 1 : discolored by bruising : black-and-blue 2 : ashen, pallid 3 : reddish 4 : very angry : enraged Examples: When Chase's mother caught him sneaking in after midnight, she was livid. "As part of St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman's 2016 budget proposal, downtown meters that expire at 5 p.m. would continue to charge for parking until 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Some downtown residents and business owners are livid." Frederick Melo, St. Paul (Minnesota) Pioneer Press, 15 Aug. 2015 Did you know? Livid has a colorful history. The Latin adjective lividus means "dull, grayish, or leaden blue." From this came the French livide and eventually the English livid, which was used to describe flesh discolored by a bruise when it was first recorded in the early 17th century. A slight extension of meaning gave it the sense "ashen or pallid," as used in describing a corpse. Livid eventually came to be used in this sense to characterize the complexion of a person pale with anger ("livid with rage"). From this meaning came two new senses in the 20th century. One was "reddish," as one is as likely to become red with anger as pale; the other was simply "angry" or "furious," the most common sense of the word today.

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