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 8th, 2016
Episode 418 of 830 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for January 8, 2016 is: rugose \ROO-gohss\ adjective 1 : full of wrinkles 2 : having the veinlets sunken and the spaces between elevated Examples: The leaves of the plant are dark green and rugose. "I lost no time in asking directions of a stooped crone shuffling along the sleepy sidewalk, who turned her rugose visage towards me and shouted in a coarse and idiomatic form of French…." —John A. Minahan, The Providence (Rhode Island) Journal, 23 Aug. 2015 Did you know? Rugose was borrowed into English in the 15th century from the Latin adjective rugosus ("wrinkled"), which itself derives from ruga ("wrinkle"). One descendant of ruga that you'll probably recognize is corrugate, which initially meant "to form or shape into wrinkles or folds" (as in "corrugated cardboard"). Another, which might be more familiar to scientists, is rugulose, meaning "finely wrinkled." In addition, there is the noun rugosity, which can refer to either the quality or state of being full of wrinkles or to an individual wrinkled place. Rugose is most commonly encountered in technical contexts, but it's also found occasionally in literary contexts, as in our quote above, from the second-place winner in an H. P. Lovecraft short story contest in The Providence Journal.