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.
August 15th, 2015
Episode 288 of 689 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for August 15, 2015 is: lodestone \LOHD-stohn\ noun 1 : magnetite possessing polarity 2 : something that strongly attracts Examples: "The Miami thoroughfare formally known as Southwest Eighth Street is the heart of Little Havana. It's the next-best-thing to visiting Cuba for many Americans, the lodestone of the large Cuban-American community that settled in Miami in waves after Fidel Castros 1959 revolution." John Borsden, Charlotte News & Observer, June 13, 2015 "The map shows the distribution of high-tech manufacturing firms in the southeastern United States. Viewing the information this way allows Jim and Deb to see where these firms are clustered, helping to identify towns and cities that are lodestones of high-tech entrepreneurialism." John Tierney, The Atlantic, February 18, 2014 Did you know? Lodestone (also spelled loadstone) is made up of distinctly English components, ones that have been part of our language since before the 12th century. Lode comes from the Old English lād, which meant "way," "journey," or "course." The word stone derives from the Old English stān, which had the same meaning as the modern term. When the two ancient words were combined to form lodestone around 1518, the new term referred to magnetite, an oxide of iron that forms a natural magnet. Later, the word came to describe anything that strongly attracts.