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.



September 28th, 2016

Episode 661 of 681 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 28, 2016 is: vamoose \vuh-MOOSS\ verb : to depart quickly Examples: With the sheriff and his posse hot on their tails, the bank robbers knew they had better vamoose. "Five minutes later the police arrived, and of course there was no sign of illegal activity. The crooks monitored the police radio and knew when tovamoose." — The Rockford (Illinois) Register Star, 14 July 2016 Did you know? In the 1820s and '30s, the American Southwest was rough-and-tumble territory—the true Wild West. English-speaking cowboys, Texas Rangers, and gold prospectors regularly rubbed elbows with Spanish-speaking vaqueros in the local saloons, and a certain amount of linguistic intermixing was inevitable. One Spanish term that caught on with English speakers was vamos, which means "let's go." Cowpokes and dudes alike adopted the word, at first using a range of spellings and pronunciations that varied considerably in their proximity to the original Spanish form. But when the dust settled, the version most American English speakers were using was vamoose.