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.



February 9th, 2015

Episode 102 of 681 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 09, 2015 is: tantara \tan-TAIR-uh\ noun : the blare of a trumpet or horn Examples: A tantara announced the arrival of the Queen, and everyone snapped to attention. " after restoring the tomb to its former condition, we returned to the palace. But hardly had we sat down ere we heard the tantara of trumpets and clash of cymbals, and the rattling of war men's lances." Sir Richard Burton, The Arabian Nights, 1884-1886 Did you know? Tantara is a shortening of the Latin taratantara, an onomatopoetic word that in ancient times evoked the terrible sound of the war-trumpet. When tantara entered English in the 16th century, the sound it evoked was a merry one. "Tantara, tantara, the trumpets sound, / Which makes our hearte with joy abound," wrote Humphrey Gifford in 1580. Today, tantara is sometimes used as a synonym of fanfare, a word for a short, lively sound of trumpets that may also be onomatopoetic in origin.