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.
August 10th, 2016
Episode 612 of 797 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for August 10, 2016 is: resilience \rih-ZIL-yunss\ noun 1 : the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress 2 :an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change Examples: Terry and Rayanne were proud of their daughter's resilience during her search for a summer job—after being passed over for one positon, she immediately applied to five more. "Meet three ordinary women who reached the end of their rope. But instead of giving up—after a tough adoption, drug addiction and a financial nightmare—they came back. Not just fighting, but thriving. Their inspiring stories will make you cheer for their resilience and want to learn from their life lessons." — Amanda Robb, Good Housekeeping, April 2014 Did you know? In physics, resilience is the ability of an elastic material (such as rubber or animal tissue) to absorb energy (such as from a blow) and release that energy as it springs back to its original shape. The recovery that occurs in this phenomenon can be viewed as analogous to a person's ability to bounce back after a jarring setback. Author P. G. Wodehouse took note of this when he wrote: "There is in certain men … a quality of resilience, a sturdy refusal to acknowledge defeat, which aids them as effectively in affairs of the heart as in encounters of a sterner and more practical kind." The word resilience derives from the present participle of the Latin verb resilire, meaning "to jump back" or "to recoil." The base of resilire is salire, a verb meaning "to leap" that also pops up in the etymologies of such sprightly words as sally and somersault.