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.
October 8th, 2015
Episode 343 of 797 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for October 08, 2015 is: manqué \mahng-KAY\ adjective : short of or frustrated in the fulfillment of one's aspirations or talentsused postpositively Examples: Natalie is an actress manqué who moved to New York 10 years ago and is still looking for her first big break. "At the center of the author's examination is Alexander Popper, a fiction writer manqué reluctant law-school graduate who winds up handling misdemeanor cases for the Cook County Public Defender." The Austin (Texas) American-Statesman, 27 Nov. 2011 Did you know? The etymology of manqué is likely to vex left-handers. English speakers picked up manqué directly from French more than two centuries ago, and it ultimately comes from Latin mancus, meaning "having a crippled hand." But in between the Latin and French portions of this word's history came the Italian word manco, which means both "lacking" and "left-handed." Lefties may be further displeased to learn that manqué isn't the only English word with a history that links left-handedness with something undesirable. For example, the word awkward comes from awke, a Middle English word meaning both "turned the wrong way" and "left-handed." And the noun gawk ("a clumsy stupid person") probably comes from a gawk that means "left-handed" in dialectal English.