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.
January 2nd, 2016
Episode 412 of 681 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for January 2, 2016 is: quash \KWAHSH\ verb : to nullify especially by judicial action Examples: "A federal judge Friday quashed the subpoena for a reporter who wrote about the early termination of clinical trial for an Amgen drug because the company had not exhausted other possible ways to get the information." — Bartholomew Sullivan, The Ventura County (California) Star, 21 Aug. 2015 "The commission's rules require five affirmative votes to trigger a judicial review, or four opposing votes to quash the petition." — Tony Briscoe, The Chicago Tribune, 19 Nov. 2015 Did you know? There are two quash verbs in English, and although their meanings are vaguely similar, they have entirely different origins. Both essentially mean to get rid of something—you can quash a rumor, for example, or you can quash a judicial order. The legal term quash (defined above) comes from an Anglo-French word, casser, meaning "to annul," and ultimately from Latin cassus, meaning "void." The other quash means "to suppress or extinguish summarily and completely." It derives from the Middle English word quashen, meaning "to smash," and ultimately from a form of the Latin verb quatere, meaning "to shake."