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.



August 31st, 2016

Episode 633 of 688 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for August 31, 2016 is: trepidation \trep-uh-DAY-shun\ noun : timorous uncertain agitation : apprehension Examples: Fran's trepidation going into the interview dissipated quickly, and her confidence and poise led her to getting offered the job a week later. "The couple's trepidation isn't about how the state would handle the rare orchids.… They simply are worried that the state would not pay them what their land is worth, if … officials … decide to try and purchase a portion of their land to widen Route 22." — Ronnie Wachter, The Chicago Tribune, 1 Aug. 2016 Did you know? If you've ever trembled with fright, you know something of both the sensation and etymology of trepidation. The word comes from the Latin verb trepidare, which means "to tremble." When it first appeared in English in the early 1600s, it meant "tremulous motion" or "tremor." Around the same time, English speakers also started using the "nervous agitation" sense of trepidation that we use today.

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