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, 2015
Episode 333 of 689 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 28, 2015 is: vilipend \VIL-uh-pend\ verb 1 : to hold or treat as of little worth or account : contemn 2 : to express a low opinion of : disparage Examples: As a women's movement pioneer, Susan B. Anthony fought against the dicta of those who would vilipend women by treating them as second-class citizens. "Most people who retire do so after having invested multiple years in employment. Most are on fixed incomes with tight budgets, hoping for good health and years of stress-free happiness. To vilipend them about their choice of not working, even if they are healthy enough, is just not fair." John F. Sauers, letter in The Rochester (New York) Democrat and Chronicle, 26 June 2005 Did you know? Vilipend first appeared in English in the 15th century and had its heyday during the 19th centurybeing found in the works of such well-known authors as Sir Walter Scott, William Makepeace Thackeray, and George Meredithbut it fell into relative obscurity by the 20th century. The word comes to us through French from the Latin roots vilis, meaning "cheap" or "vile," and pendere, meaning "to weigh" or "to estimate." These roots work in tandem to form a meaning of "to deem to be of little worth." Each has contributed separately to some other common English words. Other vilis offspring include vile and vilify, while pendere has spawned such terms as append, expend, and dispense.