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.
March 12th, 2015
Episode 133 of 830 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for March 12, 2015 is: mythomania \mith-uh-MAY-nee-uh\ noun : an excessive or abnormal propensity for lying and exaggerating Examples: The idea of trust is an important theme in the book; the reader is never sure of the extent of the protagonist's mythomania. "The pathological liar cannot help lying, even when the lie causes harm. It is this aspect of mythomania that distinguishes it as an illness rather than a habit." Gloria Wall, Journal Review (Crawfordsville, Indiana), April 27, 2012 Did you know? We wouldn't lie to you about the history of mythomania. It comes from two ancient roots, the Greek mythos (meaning "myth") and the Late Latin mania (meaning "insanity marked by uncontrolled emotion or excitement"). One myth about mythomania is that it's a very old word; actually, the earliest known uses of the term date only from the beginning of the 20th century. It was predated by a related word, mythomaniac, which appeared around the middle of the 19th century. Mythomaniac initially referred to someone who was obsessed with or passionate about myths, but it was eventually used for individuals affected with or exhibiting mythomania.