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.



January 12th, 2015

Episode 74 of 681 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for January 12, 2015 is: longueur \lawn-GUR\ noun : a dull and tedious passage or section (as of a book, play, or musical composition) usually used in plural Examples: "This production has its occasional longueurs, but glorious singing and energetic choreography quickly rope us back in." Rick Rogers, The Oklahoman, June 28, 2007 "The Berg Collection version of 'Camera' provides an unmediated look at the Master at work, removing dead and dull passages, fixing inept or lame plot developments, eradicating longueurs, and seeking out opportunities to sharpen imagery." John Colapinto, The New Yorker, December 4, 2014 Did you know? You've probably come across long, tedious sections of books, plays, or musical works before, but perhaps you didn't know there was a word for them. English speakers began using the French borrowing longueur in the late 18th century. In French, longueurs are tedious passages, and longueur literally means "length." The first recorded use of longueur in English comes from the writer Horace Walpole, who wrote in a letter, "Boswell's book is gossiping; . . . but there are woful longueurs, both about his hero and himself."