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 31st, 2015
Episode 152 of 688 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for March 31, 2015 is: refluent \REH-floo-unt\ adjective : flowing back Examples: "And in haste the refluent ocean / Fled away from the shore and left the line of the sand-beach / Covered with waifs of the tide." Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline, 1847 " and I could imagine that the clean water broke away from her sides in refluent wavelets as though in recoil from a thing unclean." Frank Norris, A Deal in Wheat and Other Stories of the New and Old West, 1903 Did you know? Refluent was first documented in English during the 15th century, and it can be traced back to the Latin verb refluere, meaning "to flow back." Refluere, in turn, was formed from the prefix re- and the verb fluere ("to flow"). Other fluere descendants in English include confluent ("flowing together"), fluent and fluid (both of which share the earliest sense of "flowing easily"), circumfluent ("flowing around"), and even affluent (which first meant "flowing abundantly"). Refluent even has an antonym derived from fluereeffluent, meaning "flowing out."