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 10th, 2016
Episode 520 of 790 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for May 10, 2016 is: urbane \er-BAYN\ adjective : notably polite or polished in manner Examples: Deirdre was an urbane and sociable party guest who could seamlessly transition from one conversation to the next. "In its heyday among the mod generation, the writing essentially peddled the fantasy of being a more sedentary James Bond: a sophisticated and urbane man about town, drowning in lady friends." — Megan McArdle, Bloomberg View(bloombergview.com), 13 Oct. 2015 Did you know? City slickers and country folk have long debated whether life is better in town or in the wide open spaces, and urbane is a term that springs from the throes of that debate. The word traces back to Latin urbs, meaning "city," and in its earliest English uses urbane was synonymous with its close relative urban ("of, relating to, characteristic of, or constituting a city"). Urbane developed its modern sense of savoir faire from the belief (no doubt fostered by city dwellers) that living in the city made one more suave and polished than did leading a rural life.