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.
September 26th, 2016
Episode 659 of 758 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 26, 2016 is: tantivy \tan-TIV-ee\ adverb : at a gallop Examples: The horse rushed tantivy over the dirt roads that wound through the fields and pastures. "Thus it came about that Denby and his man, ridingtantivyto the rescue, met the raiders two miles down the trail…." — Francis Lynde, The Helpers, 1899 Did you know? Tantivy is an adverb as well as a noun that refers to a rapid gallop. Although its precise origin isn't known, one theory has it that tantivy represents the sound of a galloping horse’s hooves. The noun does double duty as a word meaning "the blare of a trumpet or horn." This is probably due to confusion with tantara, a word for the sound of a trumpet that came about as an imitation of that sound. Both tantivy and tantara were used during foxhunts; in the heat of the chase, people may have jumbled the two.