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 24th, 2016
Episode 504 of 688 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 24, 2016 is: omniscient \ahm-NISH-unt\ adjective 1 : having infinite awareness, understanding, and insight 2 : possessed of universal or complete knowledge Examples: The novel opens with an omniscient narrator recalling memories of her twelfth birthday. "Digital advertisers … are increasingly omniscient: no longer do advertisers know just general things about you—a worldly professional, say, with superb taste in journalism—but they target you, specifically." — The Economist, 26 Mar. 2016 Did you know? One who is omniscient literally knows all. The word omniscient, which has been part of English since at least the beginning of the 17th century, brings together two Latin roots: the prefix omni-, meaning "all," and the verb scire, meaning "to know." You will recognize omni- as the prefix that tells all in such words as omnivorous ("eating all" or, more precisely, "eating both meat and vegetables") and omnipotent ("all-powerful"). Scire likewise has a number of other knowledge-related descendants in English, including conscience, science, and prescience (meaning "foreknowledge").