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 24th, 2015
Episode 329 of 681 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 24, 2015 is: timeless \TYME-luss\ adjective 1 a : having no beginning or end : eternal b : not restricted to a particular time or date 2 : not affected by time : ageless Examples: Fashion experts say that a black dress worn with a strand of pearls is timeless. "That song's timeless mix of celebration and longing served as an ideal segue to the Kentucky-bred songwriter's set, which mixed pain with immediate pleasure and ultimate rewards in an intoxicating way." Patrick Foster, The Washington Post, 22 Aug. 2015 Did you know? "Time is money." "Time is the great physician." "Time is a dressmaker specializing in alterations." Everyone seems to know what time is, but what does it mean to be "timeless"that is, "without time"? Until around the turn of the 20th century, timeless was sometimes used to mean "untimely" or "premature," as in "he met his timeless end." That usage, which dates back to the late 16th century, is now considered archaic, but an equally venerable sense, "eternal" or "having no beginning or end," has proven more enduring. The two remaining senses are somewhat newer. The "not restricted to a particular time or date" meaning dates to the mid-18th century, while the most modern meaning"ageless"didn't exist until just before the turn of the 20th century. (By the way, the quotations we started with came from Benjamin Franklin, British statesman Benjamin Disraeli, and American writer Faith Baldwin, respectively.)