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.



May 6th, 2016

Episode 516 of 681 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for May 6, 2016 is: tranche \TRAHNSH\ noun : a division or portion of a pool or whole Examples: "JPMorgan Chase must retain 5% of each tranche, or class, of notes to be issued by the trust…. The bank must also comply with disclosure and reporting requirements introduced for securitization…." — Allison Bisbey, The American Banker, 17 Mar. 2016 "The sale of a first trancheof shares to private investors via an initial public offering (IPO) … could start as soon as next year, with the eventual aim of being big enough to potentially buy some of the world's largest companies…." — Terry Macalister, The Guardian, 1 Apr. 2016 Did you know? In French, tranche means "slice." Cutting deeper into the word's etymology, we find the Old French word trancer, meaning "to cut." Tranche emerged in the English language in the late 19th century to describe financial appropriations. Today, it is often used specifically of an issue of bonds that is differentiated from other issues by such factors as maturity or rate of return. Another use of the French word tranche is in the French phrase une tranche de vie, meaning "a cross section of life." That phrase was coined by the dramatist Jean Jullien (1854-1919), who advocated naturalism in the theater.