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.



May 3rd, 2015

Episode 185 of 923 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for May 03, 2015 is: predicate \PRED-uh-kayt\ verb 1 : affirm, declare 2 a : to assert to be a quality, attribute, or property used with of b : to make (a term) the predicate in a proposition 3 : found, base usually used with on 4 : imply Examples: "We don't elect them to agree with us, but rather to explain to us the best options available. All of this is predicated on the sacred trust that elected officials will share all options they've explored, identify the ones they haven't, and share the rationale behind their decisions." Robert F. Walsh, Stratford (Connecticut) Star, January 29, 2015 "His speech ushered in a new era of social media. Agencies sprung up promising client services predicated on [Mark] Zuckerberg's vision of a more social, interactive approach to marketing communication." Mark Ritson, Marketing Week, January 15, 2015 Did you know? The verb predicate means, among other things, "to found or base." Despite being attested as early as 1754, that sense has endured attack as a misuse on the grounds that it is not true to its Latin root praedicare, meaning "to proclaim, assert." This criticism, however, has subsided. Predicate can also mean "imply," but be careful about using it to mean "predict"that use does appear in published sources sometimes, but it's an easy target for usage commentators, who are bound to consider it an all-too-predictable error. The meaning of predicate directly tapped from its Latin rootthat is, "to assert"most often occurs in metaphysic contemplation. A simplistic example of such use is the statement "if y is said to be x (e.g., an apple is a fruit), everything that is predicated of y is predicated of x."

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