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.



August 6th, 2016

Episode 608 of 689 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for August 6, 2016 is: misanthrope \MISS-un-throhp\ noun : a person who hates or distrusts humankind Examples: "The conventional image of Groucho [Marx] was that he was on the side of the little guy, and he spoke defiantly and insolently to powerful people and wealthy people. But my feeling is that Groucho was out to deflate everybody—that he was a thoroughgoing misanthrope." — Lee Siegel, speaking on NPR, 23 Jan. 2016 "Many feared that we would become asocial creatures, misanthropes who would rather hide behind the safety of a screen than face the intimacy of a spoken conversation." — Jenna Wortham, The New York Times, 22 May 2016 Did you know? The word misanthrope is human to the core—literally. One of its parents is the Greek noun anthrōpos, meaning "human being." Its other parent is the Greek verb misein, meaning "to hate." Misein also gave English misogamy ("a hatred of marriage"), misogyny ("hatred of women"), misology ("a hatred of argument, reasoning, or enlightenment"), and misoneism ("a hatred, fear, or intolerance of innovation or change"). Anthrōpos also joined forces with phil- (a combining form meaning "loving") to form the Greek ancestor of philanthropy ("active effort to help other people"). We also find anthrōpos when we delve into the foundations of the word anthropology.

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