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.



March 13th, 2015

Episode 134 of 923 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for March 13, 2015 is: nonage \NAH-nij\ noun 1 : minority 2 a : a period of youth b : lack of maturity Examples: "Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-imposed nonage. This nonage is self-imposed if its cause lies not in lack of understanding but in indecision and lack of courage to use one's own mind without another's guidance." Immanuel Kant, "What is Enlightenment?" (1784), translated by Mary C. Smith "[Adolf] Berle was an amazing person. He entered Harvard College in his nonage, being only fourteen years old." Keith Paul Bishop, National Law Review, October 9, 2014 Did you know? Minority, majority; infancy, adulthood; nonage, full agehere you have the three contrasting pairs that constitute the vocabulary of legal age. Minority, infancy, and nonage are synonyms that mean "the state or time of being under legal age." Majority, adulthood, and full age mean "the state or time of being of legal age." (All these words, particularly infancy and adulthood, have other meanings as well, of course.) Nonage came to us by way of Middle English from an Anglo-French union of non- and age, which combine to mean "not of age."

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