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 27th, 2015
Episode 239 of 718 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for June 27, 2015 is: mesmerize \MEZ-muh-ryze\ verb 1 : to subject to mesmerism; also : hypnotize 2 : spellbind Examples: Moviegoers will find themselves mesmerized by the visual intricacy and frenetic pacing of the animated sequence that opens the movie. "In 2008, Democrats had a 47-year-old candidate who mesmerized the party and ran away with the votes of Americans aged 18 to 29." Byron York, Daily Review (Morgan City, Louisiana), April 30, 2015 Did you know? Experts can't agree on whether Franz Anton Mesmer (17341815) was a quack or a genius, but all concede that the late 18th-century physician's name is the source of the word mesmerize. In his day, Mesmer was the toast of Paris, where he enjoyed the support of notables including Queen Marie Antoinette. He treated patients with a force he termed animal magnetism. Many believe that what he actually used was what we now call hypnotism. Mesmer's name was first applied to a technique for inducing hypnosis by one of his students in 1784.