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 8th, 2016

Episode 579 of 681 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for July 8, 2016 is: lout \LOUT\ noun : an awkward brutish person Examples: To get away from the obnoxious louts making noise in the restaurant, Jared and Fiona asked the waiter if they could be moved to another table. "Leaf blowers kick a lot of dust up. Often, after I've just washed my car I will drive past some lout who is blowing crud directly at my passenger door." — Paul Mulshine, The Newark Star Ledger, 2 June 2016 Did you know? Lout belongs to the large group of words we use to indicate an undesirable person, a boor, a bumpkin, a dolt, a clod. We've used lout in this way since the mid-1500s. As early as the 800s, however, lout functioned as a verb with the meaning "to bow in respect." No one is quite sure how the verb sense developed into a noun meaning "a brutish person." Perhaps the awkward posture of one bowing down led over time to the idea that the person was personally low and awkward as well.