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.
October 10th, 2016
Episode 673 of 903 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for October 10, 2016 is: roister \ROY-ster\ verb : to engage in noisy revelry : carouse Examples: Hugh didn't get much sleep last night because his neighbors were roistering until the wee hours of the morning. "North Highlands, apparently, is also what they call a part of Scotland where the prince's grandmum (the Queen Mother) kept a wee castle where the little royals used to roister." — Carlos Alcala, The Sacramento (California) Bee, 27 Oct. 2005 Did you know? As British writer Hugo Williams asserted in The Times Literary Supplement (November 15, 1991), roistering tends to be "funnier, sillier and less harmful than standard hooliganism, being based on nonsense rather than violence." Boisterous roisterers might be chagrined to learn that the word roister derives from a Middle French word that means "lout" or "boor," rustre. Ultimately, however, it is from the fairly neutral Latin word rusticus, meaning "rural." In the 16th century, the original English verb was simply roist, and one who roisted was a roister. Later, we changed the verb to roister and the corresponding noun to roisterer.