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.



June 8th, 2015

Episode 220 of 689 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for June 08, 2015 is: youthquake \YOOTH-kwayk\ noun : a shift in cultural norms influenced by the values, tastes, and mores of young people Examples: "One late afternoon in the summer of 2009, I was walking down Wythe Avenue, a thoroughfare in Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood still lined with warehouses that were home to vintage clothing and indie-band practice spaces and peppered with a few bars and restaurants. At this point, Williamsburg had earned a reputation as the home of a global youthquake of fashion, music and culture." Anne Szustek, Business Insider, March 11, 2015 "There have been innumerable situations in which the senior employees of Dons firm have seemed unwilling or unable to truly understand the changes the world was going through. They tried to harness the energy of the youthquake of the 60s here and there, but the true import of all the cultural and social changes of the last decade more or less passed them by." Maureen Ryan, Huffington Post, April 27, 2015 Did you know? The 1960s were a time of seismic social upheaval brought about by young people bent on shaking up the establishment. From politics to fashion to music, the ways of youth produced far-reaching cultural changes. Linguistically, the sixties saw the addition to English of such words as flower child, peacenik, hippie, love beads, trippy, vibe, freak-out, and love-in. Not surprisingly, they also saw the emergence of youthquake. Although commonly attributed to Vogue editor Diana Vreeland, an earlier use of youthquake in print comes from a 1966 article in McCall's: "the youthquake, as some call it ... has swept both sides of the Atlantic."

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