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 4th, 2016
Episode 494 of 720 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 4, 2016 is: mash \MASH\ noun : an intense and usually passing infatuation; also : the object of infatuation Examples: You'd think Henry had a mash on Sylvia from the way he lights up whenever she walks into the room. "We would use the expression, 'The lady has a mash on you,' and then we would poke our chests 'way out as if we were pretty important." — Louis Armstrong, Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans, 1954 Did you know? Those shot by Cupid's arrow know that love can spur a desire to hold one's beloved tightly and never let go. Perhaps that embracing feeling of love is why mash, originally a word for an act of squeezing and crushing, became a term for an intense infatuation, or the object of it, in 1870. The more popular crush showed its loving side in 1884, and main squeeze had begun crossing the lips of sweethearts by 1926. Mash itself is not widely used today, but the compound mash note, referring to a love letter, has enjoyed many happy years since its union in 1890.