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 10th, 2015

Episode 283 of 681 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for August 10, 2015 is: multifarious \mul-tuh-FAIR-ee-us\ adjective : having or occurring in great variety : diverse Examples: John listed his multifarious interests and activities on his college application. "The report presents a convincing case that the agency has been stretched too thin in its multifarious dutiesfrom combating counterfeiters and computer criminals to standing guard over presidents present and past and their widows." editorial, New York Times, December 29, 2014 Did you know? Dictionary makers have dated the first appearance of multifarious in print as 1593and rightly sobut before that time another word similar in form and meaning was being used: multifary, meaning "in many ways" and appearing (and disappearing) in the 15th century. Before either of the English words existed, there was the Medieval Latin word multifarius (same meaning as multifarious), from Latin multifariam, meaning "in many places" or "on many sides." Multi-, as you may know, is a combining form meaning "many." A relative of multifarious in English is omnifarious ("of all varieties, forms, or kinds"), created with omni- ("all") rather than multi-.