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 19th, 2015

Episode 200 of 681 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for May 19, 2015 is: prudent \PROO-dunt\ adjective 1 : marked by wisdom or judiciousness 2 : shrewd in the management of practical affairs 3 : cautious, discreet 4 : thrifty, frugal Examples: The couple's financial advisor helped them devise a prudent investment strategy. "As a group, they tend not to be water wasters. Wasting water costs them money in the form of pumping groundwater needlessly. Farmers are more prudent than that." Dennis L. Taylor, The Californian (Salinas, California), April 5, 2015 Did you know? Prudent arrived in Middle English around the 14th century and traces back, by way of Middle French, to the Latin verb providēre, meaning "to see ahead, foresee, provide (for)." One who is prudent literally has the foresight to make sound or shrewd decisions. Providēre combines pro-, meaning "before," and vidēre, meaning "to see," and it may look familiar to you; it is also the source of our words provide, provident, provision, and improvise. Vidēre also has many English offspring, including evident, supervise, video, and vision.