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.
January 30th, 2015
Episode 92 of 900 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for January 30, 2015 is: urticaria \er-tuh-KAIR-ee-uh\ noun : hives Examples: The first sign of the patient's allergic reaction to the medication was an outbreak of urticaria. "Chronic urticaria is common and can appear on any part of the body. Sunlight and heat can be triggers for some people, whereas cold is a trigger for others." Keith Roach, Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Florida), October 14, 2014 Did you know? Hives can be caused by a number of things. It can be a reaction to a piece of food you ate, a new medication you took, or irritants in the air you're breathingor to wandering into a patch of nettles. Urticaria, the medical term for hives, points the finger at nettles, at least etymologically: it comes from the Latin word urtica, meaning "nettle." Urtica itself is related to the Latin verb urere, meaning "to burn," a nod to the stinging hairs many species of nettle possess.