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 30th, 2015
Episode 182 of 797 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 30, 2015 is: mogul \MOH-gul\ noun 1 : (capitalized Mogul) an Indian Muslim of or descended from one of several conquering groups of Mongol, Turkish, and Persian origin; especially : Great Mogul 2 : a person of rank, power, influence, or distinction often in a specified area Examples: The media mogul owned such a large number of newspapers and television stations across the country that his influence on political discourse could not be denied. "Music mogul Russell Simmons is producing a brand new stage musical that will celebrate three generations of hip-hop, from Run DMC to Kanye West." Mark Kennedy, The Associated Press, March 19, 2015 Did you know? Started by Babur, a descendant of Genghis Khan, the Muslim Mogul dynasty ruled much of India from the early 16th century to the mid-18th century. The Moguls (whose name is also spelled Moghul or Mughal) were known for their talented and powerful rulers (called "Great Moguls"), so it's no surprise that in English the word mogul came to denote a powerful person, as in today's familiar references to "media moguls." Skiers might wonder if such power moguls have anything to do with the name they use for a bump in a ski run, but that hilly homonym has nothing to do with Asian Mogul dynasties. We picked up the skier's mogul from German dialect, from a root that is probably related to the Viennese mugl, meaning "small hill."