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.
December 15th, 2015
Episode 402 of 830 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for December 15, 2015 is: natatorial \nay-tuh-TOR-ee-ul\ adjective 1 : of or relating to swimming 2 : adapted to or characterized by swimming Examples: This year's swim team has considerably more natatorial talent than have previous years' teams. "Natatorial legs are modified for swimming, producing a feathered oar-like form, used by beetles and bugs that spend their lives in water." Whitney Crenshaw and Richard Redak, Bugs Rule!, 2013 Did you know? The Latin verb natare, meaning "to swim," gave English the word natatorial and its variant natatory. It also gave us natant ("swimming or floating in water"); supernatant ("floating on the surface"); natation ("the action or art of swimming"); and last but not least, natatorium ("an indoor swimming pool"). A few common English words are related to this rather obscure bunch, among them nurture, nutrient, and nutrition, but these descend not from natare, but from nutrire, a Latin word (meaning "to nourish") that shares an ancestor with natare.