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 12th, 2015
Episode 164 of 681 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 12, 2015 is: lotusland \LOH-tus-land\ noun 1 : a place inducing contentment especially through offering an idyllic living situation 2 : a state or an ideal marked by contentment often achieved through self-indulgence Examples: The tropical resort was stunning, but after two weeks of recreation and relaxation, I was ready to leave lotusland and return home. "As a work of fiction it was artless at best, but as a portrait of the pampered children of lotusland it had a devastating aura of authenticity; younger people may have read it for titillation, but their parents read it as a disturbing report from an unknown country." Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post, October 12, 1987 Did you know? In Homer's Odyssey, Odysseus and his men discover a magical land of lotus-eaters. Some of the sailors eat the delicious "lotus" and forget about their homeland, pleading to stay forever in this "lotusland." (It is likely that the lotus in question was inspired by the fruit of a real plant of the buckthorn family, perhaps the jujube, whose sweet juice is used in candy making and which has given its name to a popular fruity candy.) The label lotusland is now applied to any place resembling such an ideal of perfection, but it also carries connotations of indolence and self-indulgence, possibly derived from the way the sailors refused to work once they reached the original lotusland. The dreamy unreality of a lotusland is a nice place to visit, but you wouldn't want to live there.