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Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day

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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.

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sounding board

April 3rd, 2015

Episode 155 of 713 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 03, 2015 is: sounding board \SOUND-ing-BORD\ noun : a person or group on whom one tries out an idea or opinion as a means of evaluating it Examples: Mika and Meg have used one another as sounding boards for the 15 years they've shared an office. "Slade had met with Roelandt in the past to discuss some of the inventor's ideas. He served as a sounding board for Roelandt and Frear as they improved the P5 and developed a pricing strategy." Rob Swenson, Sioux Falls Business Journal, March 3, 2015 Did you know? Beginning during the Renaissance, a flat wooden canopy called a sounding board was placed over church pulpits, amplifying the sound of the preacher's voice, carrying it to the farthest reaches of the church. Similarly, ideas can be spread by a figurative sounding board. A publication, for example, can be a sounding board for propaganda. That's one modern sense of the word. But when sound bounces off a literal sounding board, not only does it reach more people, it also comes across more clearly. Likewise, "bouncing" ideas off another person can lend clarity to one's thought processes. If someone comes to you and says "How does this sound?" and leaves with his or her mind made up (whether or not you've ventured a word), you have served as a very effective sounding board.

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