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.
June 5th, 2016
Episode 546 of 900 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for June 5, 2016 is: lucid \LOO-sid\ adjective 1 a : suffused with light : luminous b : translucent 2 : having full use of one's faculties : sane 3 : clear to the understanding : intelligible Examples: "The sound swelled and enveloped us, and indeed it was like laughter, waves upon waves of … lucid laughter…." — Anne Rice, Memnoch the Devil, 1995 "His writing is lucid and perceptive, and his instincts for the arcane and interesting are unerring, making the text scholarly yet still accessible to the lay reader…." — The Publisher's Weekly Review, 14 Mar. 2016 Did you know? It's easy enough to shed some light on the origins of lucid: it derives—via the Latin adjective lucidus, meaning "shining"—from the Latin verb lucēre, meaning "to shine." Lucid has been used by English speakers since at least the late 16th century. Originally, it meant merely "filled with light" or "shining," but it has since developed extended senses describing someone whose mind is clear or something with a clear meaning. Other shining examples of lucēre descendants include translucent, lucent ("glowing"), and the somewhat rarer relucent ("reflecting light" or "shining"). Even the word light itself derives from the same ancient word that led to lucēre.