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 27th, 2015
Episode 208 of 689 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for May 27, 2015 is: riot act \RYE-ut-AKT\ noun : a vigorous reprimand or warning used in the phrase read the riot act Examples: Celia's parents read her the riot act after she stayed out for almost an hour past her curfew. "[Angela Merkel] read Greece and other affected zone members the riot act: their borrowing and spending was out of control, and they'd have to rein it in, just as Germany had done." Paul Hockenos, The Nation, March 12, 2015 Did you know? Many people were displeased when George I became king of England in 1714, and his opponents were soon leading rebellions and protests against him. The British government, anxious to stop the protests, passed a law called the "Riot Act." It allowed public officials to break up gatherings of 12 or more people by reading aloud a proclamation, warning those who heard it that they must disperse within the hour or be guilty of a felony punishable by death. By 1819, riot act was also being used more generally for any stern warning or reprimand. Although the law long ago fell into disuse and was finally repealed in 1973, the term that it generated lives on today.
Have you trembled ‘round the campfire as the ghost stories are told? Do tales of horrors wrought by nature and beyond strike fear in your soul? Is it best when you are afraid to turn out the light? Thrill to stories that strike at your deepest fears, as host Stephen Kilpatrick brings the best of horror fiction to your ears and your mind, read to you by the most chilling narrators that podcasting has to offer. <br /> <br /> Podcasting the finest in genre fiction, Tales to Terrify is where the depths of horror reveal the truths of good, evil, and the human spirit in the District of Wonders podcast network. Like all shows in the District of Wonders, Tales to Terrify is supported by a welcoming community of dedicated fans and contributors. Subscribe today, and begin your journey through the spine-tingling depths of storytelling.<br /> <br /> Everyone has a story in the District of Wonders. Come and find yours.