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 6th, 2015
Episode 311 of 900 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 06, 2015 is: turbid \TER-bid\ adjective 1 : cloudy or discolored by suspended particles 2 : confused, muddled Examples: The speed of the water flowing over the dam becomes obvious only when one observes the turbid water roiling below. "Overall, once white bass have spawned, they move out into the main lake and can be found in areas with a turbid layer over ultra-clear water." Mitch Eeagan, The Sioux City (Iowa) Journal, 1 Aug. 2015 Did you know? Turbid and turgid (which means "swollen or distended" or "overblown, pompous, or bombastic") are frequently mistaken for one another, and it's no wonder. Not only do the two words differ by only a letter, they are often used in contexts where either word could fit. For example, a flooded stream can be simultaneously cloudy and swollen, and badly written prose might be both unclear and grandiloquent. Nevertheless, the distinction between these two words, however fine, is an important one for conveying exact shades of meaning, so it's a good idea to keep them straight.