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 13th, 2016
Episode 523 of 903 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for May 13, 2016 is: venerate \VEN-uh-rayt\ verb 1 : to regard with reverential respect or with admiring deference 2 : to honor (something, such as an icon or a relic) with a ritual act of devotion Examples: "In William Shakespeare's classic, the Romans venerate their leader, but Brutus sees that Julius Caesar may be too powerful for the good of the nation." — Chris Kocher, The Star-Gazette (Elmira, New York), 10 Mar. 2016 "Robert Mickens, a longtime Vatican analyst, said venerating saints or praying at the tombs of martyrs is a time-honored Catholic practice, but he questioned the decision to display the remains of the two saints." — Jim Yardley, The New York Times, 5 Feb. 2016 Did you know? Venerate, revere, reverence, worship, and adore all mean to honor and admire profoundly and respectfully. Venerate implies a holding as holy or sacrosanct because of character, association, or age. Revere stresses deference and tenderness of feeling ("a professor revered by students"). Reverence presupposes an intrinsic merit and inviolability in the one honored and a similar depth of feeling in the one honoring ("she reverenced the academy's code of honor"). Worship implies homage usually expressed in words or ceremony ("he worships their memory"). Adore implies love and stresses the notion of an individual and personal attachment ("we adored our doctor"). Venerate, incidentally, traces back to the Latin verb venerari, from vener-, meaning "love" or "charm."