Displaying items by tag: Words for Thought

16 January 2017

WFT- Circumlocution Again

Recently, Merriam Webster's Word of the Day was circumlocution:

1: the use of an unnecessarily large number of words to express an idea
2: evasion in speech


Although M-W's definition specifies "the use of an unnecessarily large number of words," there are some situations where it is helpful...or even holy.

23 July 2016

WFT- fatidic

For the longest time I've avoided any expression that includes the word "fate" because I thought the concept of fate was tied to the pagan idea of “the fates”: the three robed women called "moirai" (apportioners) who wove the destiny of everyone.

Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for March 8th was a related word, fatidic:

: of or relating to prophecy


12 October 2014

WFT- teleological

It's been a while since there has been a Word of the Day that has really caught my attention and connected with Scripture in a meaningful way but September 24th was just such a day.  The Merriam Webster word for that day was teleological.

: exhibiting or relating to design or purpose especially in nature


Along with this definition they provided the following explanation...

Teleological (which comes to us by way of New Latin from the Greek root tele-, telos, meaning "end or purpose") and its close relative teleology both entered English in the 18th century, followed by teleologist in the 19th century. Teleology has the basic meaning of "the study of ends or purposes." A teleologist attempts to understand the purpose of something by looking at its results. A teleological philosopher might argue that we should judge whether an act is good or bad by seeing if it produces a good or bad result, and a teleological explanation of evolutionary changes claims that all such changes occur for a definite purpose.


Did you notice the meaning of the Greek word telos?  It means "end or purpose" as in a goal or objective... not an ending or ceasing.

17 December 2012

WFT- hagiography

Today’s Word of the Day from Merriam-Webster is hagiography.

It means (1) a biography of saints or venerated persons; (2) an idealizing or idolizing biography.

Their “Did You Know” section on the word caught my eye:

Like "biography" and "autograph," the word "hagiography" has to do with the written word.  The combining form "-graphy" comes from Greek "graphein," meaning "to write."  "Hagio-" comes from a Greek word that means "saintly" or "holy."  This origin is seen in "Hagiographa," the Greek designation of the Ketuvim, the third division of the Hebrew Bible.  Our English word "hagiography," though it can refer to biography of actual saints, is these days more often applied to biography that treats ordinary human subjects as if they were saints.


The Ketuvim is labeled Hagiographa in Greek but it also means a biography of saints (or holy ones).

Who knew?

When we consider the whole of Scripture as "The Word" and the Word is G-d (John 1:1) then Scripture is His story: the story of the Messiah, the Word made flesh, and His creation of and interaction with humanity.

All of Scripture is a "biography" of sorts of the truly Holy One.


30 October 2012

WFT- abide

My daughter’s cry pierced the darkened hallway.

"Daddy, don’t leave!"

I turned back to her room and sat back down on her bed. "What’s wrong, sweetie?"

"I can’t go to sleep if you aren’t here."

Joyful tears well up in my eyes as I remember that moment from a decade ago. It seems like only yesterday. It was the day that the Lord taught me the meaning of the word "abide".

03 September 2011

WFT- mettle

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for August 31 was mettle.

1     a : vigor and strength of spirit or temperament     b : staying quality : stamina

2 : quality of temperament or disposition

20 August 2011

WFT- utile

Continuing in the "wayyy back" theme from the last Word for Thought, I reached into the Merriam-Webster email archives from September 25, 2009.  Yes, yes, I know.  I need to stay a bit more up to date. :)

The M-W Word of the day was utile and it was defined as


They also provided details regarding the origin of the word:

20 August 2011

WFT- ab ovo

I reached wayyy back into the pile of pending Word of the Day email and came up with this one from September 17, 2009: ab ovo.

Merriam-Webster provided this definition

from the beginning

and this background on the word:

02 July 2011

WFT- extenuate

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for June 30, 2011 was extenuate.

1: to lessen or to try to lessen the seriousness or extent of by making partial excuses : mitigate 2: to lessen the strength or effect of

Regarding the word's origins they offered this:

05 March 2011

WFT- laodicean

The Merriam Webster Word of the Day for September 21, 2009 was laodicean.

For those of you who are acquainted with Scripture this may sound familiar.  This word comes from the name Laodicea which is one of the seven churches mentioned in the book of Revelation.  The Laodicean believers were known for their lukewarm behavior.  In fact, that is the modern meaning of this word:

lukewarm or indifferent in religion or politics

In fact, M-W refers to Scripture in their etymology of the word:

For grins, I went to Webster's 1828 dictionary to look up the words liberalism and conservatism after writing recent Word For Thought articles about them.  His 1828 dictionary is much more reflective of Webster's Christian character than modern dictionaries that carry his name.  I found these insights (the emphasis is mine):

Liberal (Liberalism was not present)

05 February 2011

WFT- conservatism

Previously in the Words For Thought series we examined the word "liberalism".  Now let's take a look at conservatism.  Here is what Merriam-Webster has to say about it:


1 capitalized a : the principles and policies of a Conservative party    b : the Conservative party 2 a : disposition in politics to preserve what is established    b : a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change; specifically : such a philosophy calling for lower taxes, limited government regulation of business and investing, a strong national defense, and individual financial responsibility for personal needs (as retirement income or health-care coverage) 3 : the tendency to prefer an existing or traditional situation to change

04 February 2011

WFT- liberalism

Anyone who frequents this blog knows about the "Words For Thought" series where I examine words, their meanings, and their use in a Scriptural context.

Two of the words that I found to be rather interesting lately are liberalism and conservativism. They don't always mean what we think they mean.  This article (and the next few that follow it) will examine these words.  Let's start with...


1 : the quality or state of being liberal 2 aoften capitalized : a movement in modern Protestantism emphasizing intellectual liberty and the spiritual and ethical content of Christianity    b : a theory in economics emphasizing individual freedom from restraint and usually based on free competition, the self-regulating market, and the gold standard    c : a political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties; specifically : such a philosophy that considers government as a crucial instrument for amelioration of social inequities (as those involving race, gender, or class)    d capitalized : the principles and policies of a Liberal party

29 January 2011

WFT- pink

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for September 16th, 2009 was pink.

First: I know... I know.  I'm WAYYY behind if I am pulling up a WotD from 2009. :)

Second: no... this word does not refer to the color.  It's a verb:

1 a : to perforate in an ornamental pattern b : to cut a saw-toothed edge on 2 a : pierce, stab b : to wound by irony, criticism, or ridicule

23 October 2010

WFT- renovate

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for October 21st was renovate.

1: to restore to a former better state (as by cleaning, repairing, or rebuilding) 2: to restore to life, vigor, or activity : revive

08 August 2010

WFT- august

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for August 1st 2007 was the adjective august.

marked by majestic dignity or grandeur

They provided this insightful bit of information about the origins of the word:

"August" comes from the Latin word "augustus," meaning "consecrated" or "venerable," which in turn is related to the Latin "augur," meaning "consecrated by augury" or "auspicious." In 8 B.C. the Roman Senate honored Augustus Caesar, the first Roman emperor, by changing the name of their month "Sextilis" to "Augustus." Middle English speakers inherited the name of the month of August, but it wasn't until the mid-1600s that "august" came to be used generically in English, more or less as "augustus" was in Latin, to refer to someone with imperial qualities.

23 July 2010

WFT- shibboleth

Even more so than our last "Word for Thought", copacetic, the origins of the Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for March 26th are Hebraic.  The word was shibboleth.

1 : catchword, slogan 2 : a widely held belief or truism 3 : a custom or usage regarded as distinctive of a particular group

23 July 2010

WFT- copacetic

Whoah, dude!  The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for March 23rd was, like, wayyy cool.  It was, uh... uh...

Oh, yeah... copacetic!  \koh-puh-SET-ik\

That means "very satisfactory", dude.  Sweeeet.

OK, yes, the word is often associated with "dudes" from the valley because of its prevalent use during various movies of the 80's and early 90's but its use in America goes back to the 1920's and the early jazz era.

04 July 2010

WFT- archetype

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for March 16th was archetype [AHR-kih-type].

the original pattern or model of which all things of the same type are representations or copies : prototype; also : a perfect example

04 July 2010


The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for March 9th was eclectic.

1 : selecting what appears to be best in various doctrines, methods, or styles 2 : composed of elements drawn from various sources; also : heterogeneous

03 July 2010

WFT- licit

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for March 4th was licit.

conforming to the requirements of the law : not forbidden by law : permissible

In their "Did you know?" section they provided this:

"Licit" is far less common than its antonym "illicit," but you probably won’t be surprised to learn that the former is the older of the two. Not by much, though: the first known use of "licit" in print is from 1483, whereas "illicit" shows up in print for the first time in 1506. For some reason "illicit" took off while "licit" just plodded along. When "licit" appears these days it often modifies "drugs" or "crops." Meanwhile, "illicit" shows up before words like "thrill" and "passion" (as well as "gambling," "relationship," "activities," and, of course, "drugs" and "crops.") The Latin word "licitus," meaning "lawful," is the root of the pair; "licitus" itself is from "lic?re," meaning "to be permitted."

03 July 2010

WFT- proscribe

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for February 25th was proscribe.

1 : outlaw 2 : to condemn or forbid as harmful or unlawful

They provided this information regarding the origins of the word:

"Proscribe" and "prescribe" each have a Latin-derived prefix that means "before" attached to the verb "scribe" (from "scribere," meaning "to write"). Yet the two words have very distinct, often nearly opposite meanings. Why? In a way, you could say it's the law. In the 15th and 16th centuries both words had legal implications. To "proscribe" was to publish the name of a person who had been condemned, outlawed, or banished. To "prescribe" meant "to lay down a rule," including legal rules or orders.

03 July 2010

WFT- logomachy

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for February 23rd was logomachy. (loh-GAH-muh-kee)

1 : a dispute over or about words 2 : a controversy marked by verbiage

They provided this background on the word:

It doesn't take much to start people arguing about words, but there's no quarrel about the origin of "logomachy." It comes from the Greek roots "logos," meaning "word" or "speech," and "machesthai," meaning "to fight," and it entered English in the mid-1500s. If you're a word enthusiast, you probably know that "logos" is the root of many English words ("monologue," "neologism," "logic," and most words ending in "-logy," for example), but what about other derivatives of "machesthai"? Actually, this is a tough one even for word whizzes. Only a few very rare English words come from "machesthai." Here are two of them: "heresimach" ("an active opponent of heresy and heretics") and "naumachia" ("an ancient Roman spectacle representing a naval battle").

10 April 2010

WFT- thaumaturgy

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for February 22nd was thaumaturgy.

the performance of miracles; specifically : magic

The words origins:

The magic of "thaumaturgy" is miraculous. The word, from a Greek word meaning "miracle working," is applicable to any performance of miracles, especially by incantation. It can also be used of things that merely seem miraculous and unexplainable, like the thaumaturgy of a motion picture's illusions (aka "movie magic"), or the thaumaturgy at work in an athletic team's "miracle" comeback. In addition to "thaumaturgy," we also have "thaumaturge" and "thaumaturgist," both of which mean "a performer of miracles" or "a magician," and the adjective "thaumaturgic," meaning "performing miracles" or "of, relating to, or dependent on thaumaturgy."

Some of you may be thinking... "Magic!?  Why is he bringing up magic in regards to Scripture?".

03 April 2010

WFT- uxorial

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for March 29th was uxorial.

of, relating to, or characteristic of a wife

The origins of the word:

With help from "-ial," "-ious," and "-icide," the Latin word "uxor," meaning "wife," has given us the English words "uxorial," "uxorious" (meaning "excessively fond of or submissive to a wife"), and "uxoricide" ("murder of a wife by her husband" or "a wife murderer"). Do we have equivalent "husband" words? Well, sort of. "Maritus" means "husband" in Latin, so "marital" can mean "of or relating to a husband and his role in marriage" (although "maritus" also means "married," and the "of or relating to marriage or the married state" sense of "marital" is far more common). And while "mariticide" is "spouse killing," it can also be specifically "husband-killing."

03 April 2010

WFT- puerile

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for April 1st was puerile (no foolin'!)

Their definition:

1 : juvenile 2 : childish, silly

(I wonder if their choice for April 1st, April Fools Day, was coincidental?  Hmmm...)

03 April 2010

WFT- ruthless

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for April 2nd was ruthless. Their definition:

having no pity : merciless, cruel

27 March 2010

WFT- prescience

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for February 15th was prescience.

Here is their definition:

: foreknowledge of events:  a : divine omniscience  b : human anticipation of the course of events : foresight

27 March 2010

WFT- tare

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for February 17th was tare.
Here is the definition they provided:
1 : a deduction from the gross weight of a substance and its container made in allowance for the weight of the container; also : the weight of the container 2 : counterweight
M-W provided the following example sentence:
Before charging us for the blueberries we'd picked, the attendant at Annie's Fields deducted the tare from the weight of the filled buckets.
24 February 2010

WFT- elicit

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for February 3rd was elicit.

They provided the following definition:

1 : to draw forth or bring out (something latent or potential) 2 : to call forth or draw out (as information or a response)

They also provided the following background on the word:

"Elicit" derives from the past participle of the Latin verb "elicere," formed by combining the prefix "e-" with the verb "lacere," meaning "to entice by charm or attraction." It is not related to its near-homophone, the adjective "illicit" — that word, meaning "unlawful," traces back to another Latin verb, "lic?re," meaning "to be permitted." Nor is "elicit" related to the verb "solicit," even though it sounds like it should be. "Solicit" derives from Latin "sollicitare" ("to disturb"), formed by combining the adjective "sollus," meaning "whole," with the past participle of the verb "ci?re," meaning "to move."

"To entice by charm or attraction"... hmmm.

Isn't that what is happening in many mainstream churches today?

30 January 2010

WFT- sternutation

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for September 15th was sternutation.  MW defined the word as such:

the act, fact, or noise of sneezing

Here is the information they provided regarding the origin of the word:

"Sternutation" comes from Latin and is a descendant of the verb "sternuere," meaning "to sneeze." One of the earliest known English uses occurred in a 16th-century edition of a book on midwifery, in a passage about infants suffering from frequent "sternutation and sneesynge." The term has long been used in serious medical contexts, but also on occasion for humorous effect. In 1850, for example, author Grace Greenwood observed that U.S. senators from opposing political parties would often come together to share snuff: "And all three forget their sectional differences in a delightful concert of sternutation. No business is too grave, no speaker too eloquent, to be 'sneezed at.'"


You may be thinking something like "OK, let's see this guy pull something out of Scripture about sneezing."  Well, actually, Scripture does have a very specific reference to sneezing.  It is found in 2 Kings in the story of Elisha and the Shunnamite woman's son.

18 January 2010

WFT- noetic

With the launch of the site in mid-December, holidays, travelling to visit family, and getting back into the swing of work I have been slow to catch up on my "Words For Thought" articles.  Monday, January 18th had a rather interesting word so I decided to write on it before catching up on the other 50+ words in the queue.  So here is the MW word of the day:

noetic (noh ET ik)

of, relating to, or based on the intellect

15 December 2009

WFT- philosophy

One of the earliest words that I was considering for a "Words For Thought" article was philosophy.

Rather than using Merriam Webster I had searched for this word on the Online Etymology Dictionary and found this:

philosophy from O.Fr. filosofie (12c.), from L. philosophia, from Gk. philosophia "love of knowledge, wisdom," from philo- "loving" + sophia "knowledge, wisdom," from sophis "wise, learned."

Meaning "system a person forms for conduct of life" is attested from 1771. Philosophize is attested from 1594.

18 October 2009

WFT- munificent

The M-W Word of the Day for September 14th was munificent.  They defined the word as follows:

1 : very liberal in giving or bestowing : lavish 2 : characterized by great liberality or generosity

17 October 2009

WFT- slough

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for September 10th was slough.

1 : to cast off or become cast off 2 : to crumble slowly and fall away 3 : to get rid of or discard as irksome, objectionable, or disadvantageous — usually used with off

Here is the background they provided on the word:

17 October 2009

WFT- irenic

On September 8th the Merriam Webster Word of the Day was irenic.

favoring, conducive to, or operating towards peace, moderation, or conciliation

In typical Word of the Day fashion, M-W provided this etymology:

In Greek mythology, Eirene was one of the Horae, the goddesses of the seasons and natural order; in the Iliad the Horae are the custodians of the gates of Olympus. According to Hesiod, the Horae were the daughters of Zeus and a Titaness named Themis, and their names indicate their function and relation to human life. Eirene was the goddess of peace. Her name is also the Greek word for "peace," and it gave rise to "irenic" and other peaceable terms including "irenics" (a theological term for advocacy of Christian unity), "Irena" (the genus name of two species of birds found in southern Asia and the Philippines), and the name "Irene." [emphasis added]

19 September 2009

WFT- defile

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for August 29th was defile.  The surprise definition:

to march off in a line

Here is what M-W provided on this word:

The "defile" that means "to contaminate," a homograph of today's Word of the Day, dates back to the 14th century and is derived from the Old French verb "defouler," meaning "to trample on" or "mistreat." Today's word, on the other hand, arrived in English in the early 18th century. It is also from French, but is derived from the verb "défiler," formed by combining "de-" with "filer" ("to move in a column"). "Défiler" is also the source of the English noun "defile," which means "narrow passage or gorge."

19 September 2009

WFT- eleemosynary

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for August 27th was eleemosynary(pronounced el-ih-MAH-suh-nair-ee).  It is an adjective that means:

of, relating to, or supported by charity

As always, M-W provided wonderful insight into the word:

30 August 2009

WFT- trichologist

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for August 17th was trichologist.

a person who specializes in hair and scalp care; broadly : a person whose occupation is the dressing or cutting of hair

In the "Did you know?" section they provided this:

29 August 2009

WFT- ingratiate

The Merriam-Webster word of the day for August 13th was ingratiate.

to gain favor or favorable acceptance for by deliberate effort — usually used with "with"

M-W provided this information about the word:
29 August 2009

WFT- demean

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for August 6th was demean.

Meaning : to conduct or behave (oneself) usually in a proper manner

Example Sentence Sylvia was proud of the polite way her young children demeaned themselves in front of the dinner guests.

29 August 2009

WFT- empyreal

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for August 25th was empyreal (em-pye-REE-ul).

1 : of or relating to the firmament : celestial 2 : sublime

29 August 2009

WFT- tantivity

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for August 4th was tantivity.  Their definition:

in a headlong dash : at a gallop

29 August 2009

WFT- levigate

On August 3rd the Merriam-Webster Word of the Day was levigate.  They provided this definition:

1 : polish, smooth 2 a : to grind to a fine smooth powder while in moist condition  b : to separate (fine powder) from coarser material by suspending in a liquid

They also provided this background information on the word:

29 August 2009

WFT- contemn

On August 20th, the Merriam-Webster Word of the Day was contemn.

to view or treat with contempt : scorn

29 August 2009

WFT- abstemious

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for August 16th was abstemious.

marked by restraint especially in the consumption of food or alcohol; also : reflecting such restraint

M-W provided the following additional information about the word:

"Abstemious" and "abstain" look alike, and both have meanings involving self-restraint or self-denial. So they must both come from the same root, right? Yes and no. Both get their start from the Latin prefix "abs-," meaning "from" or "away," but "abstain" traces to "abs-" plus the Latin verb "ten?re" (meaning "to hold"), while "abstemious" gets its "-temious" from a suffix akin to the Latin noun "temetum," meaning "intoxicating drink."

In regards to abstaining from food a few passages come to mind.

I have posted a number of articles under the category of "Words for Thought". Part of the purpose in writing those articles is to share interesting insights into words that are often unusual. Today I would like to focus on words from a different perspective: words that are common in our society but that we often use without fully considering the meaning of what we are saying.  The first article of this type was posted last August.  I guess it's time for an update.  Next up: gangsta...


I recently heard one of my professional colleagues describe herself (in a facetious manner) as "gangsta".  The quote: "I am so gangsta!"

I had not heard that expression so I looked it up and came across this description of "gangsta rap":

08 August 2009

WFT- tribulation

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for July 31st was tribulation.

distress or suffering resulting from oppression or persecution; also : a trying experience

There are a number of passages regarding tribulation mentioned in Scripture.

Messiah gives us words of warning...

08 August 2009

WFT- con amore

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for July 29th was con amore (pronounced kahn uh MOR ee).

1 : with love, devotion, or zest 2 : in a tender manner — used as a direction in music

This was the etymology they provided:

02 August 2009

WFT- hyperbole

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for July 27th was hyperbole [hye PER buh lee] which they defined as:

extravagant exaggeration

02 August 2009

WFT- quaff

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for July 27th was quaff.

to drink deeply

In addition to the definition they provided this:

Nowadays, "quaff" has an old-fashioned, literary sound to it. For more contemporary words that suggest drinking a lot of something, especially in big gulps and in large quantity, you might try "drain," "pound," or "slug." If you are a daintier drinker, you might say that you prefer to "sip," "imbibe" or "partake in" the beverage of your choice. "Quaff" is by no means the oldest of these terms — earliest evidence of it in use is from the early 1500s, whereas "sip" dates to the 14th century — but it is the only one with the mysterious "origin unknown" etymology.

02 August 2009

WFT- verbatim

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for July 27th was verbatim. This is their definition:

in the exact words : word for word

This was the additional information they provided on the word:

Latin has a phrase for "exactly as written": "verbatim ac litteratim," which literally means "word for word and letter for letter." Like the "verbatim" in that Latin phrase, the English "verbatim" means "word for word." As you may have noticed, there's a "verb" in "verbatim" — and that's no mere coincidence. Both "verb" and "verbatim" are derived from the Latin word for "word," which is "verbum." Other common English words that share this root include "adverb," "proverb," and "verbose." Even the word "word" itself is related. "Verbatim" can also be an adjective meaning "being in or following the exact words" (as in "a verbatim report") and a rarer noun referring to an account, translation, or report that follows the original word for word.

An interesting anecdote came to mind when I saw this word.

02 August 2009

WFT- nyctalopia

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for July 21st was nyctalopia. Though it might seem so, this word isn't weird compared to the previous word for thought.

M-W provided this definition:

reduced visual capacity in faint light (as at night) : night blindness

This was the additional information they provided in the "Did you know?" section:

"Nyctalopia" comes to us from the Latin word "nyctalops," which means "suffering from night blindness." It is ultimately derived from the Greek word "nyktalops," which was formed by combining the word for "night" ("nyx") with the words for "blind" and "eye" ("alaos" and "?ps," respectively). English speakers have been using "nyctalopia" to refer to reduced vision in faint light or at night since the 17th century. We added the somewhat more pedestrian "night blindness" to the lexicon in the 18th century.
27 July 2009

WFT- usufruct

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for July 13th was usufruct (YOO zuh frukt).

Here is the definition they provided:

1 : the legal right of using and enjoying the fruits or profits of something belonging to another 2 : the right to use or enjoy something

27 July 2009

WFT- diurnal

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for July 7th was diurnal.

Here is the definition:

1 : recurring every day 2 : of, relating to, or occurring in the daytime

Here are a few passages that come to mind:

Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth. - Proverbs 27:1

So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. - Matthew 6:34

27 July 2009

WFT- abject

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for July 2nd was abject.  M-W provided this definition:

1 : sunk to or existing in a low state or condition 2 : very low in spirit or hope : wretched 3 : expressing or offered in a humble and often ingratiating spirit

20 July 2009

WFT- grudging

The Merriam-Webster word of the day for July 14th was grudging.   M-W provided this definition:

1 : unwilling, reluctant 2 : done, given, or allowed unwillingly, reluctantly, or sparingly

19 July 2009

WFT- desolate

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for June 25th was desolate.

1 : devoid of inhabitants and visitors : deserted 2 : joyless, disconsolate, and sorrowful through or as if  through separation from a loved one 3 a : showing the effects of abandonment and neglect :  dilapidated  *b : barren, lifeless  c : devoid of warmth, comfort, or hope :  gloomy


19 July 2009

WFT- cavalcade

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for June 24th was cavalcade.

1 (a) : a procession of riders or carriages (b) : a procession of vehicles or ships 2 : a dramatic sequence or procession : series

Modern American presidents often travel in a cavalcade of Chevy Suburbans.

Messiah was in a cavalcade... twice.  No presidents or Suburbans were present, of course. :)

19 July 2009

WFT- preeminent

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for June 17th was preeminent.  They provided this definition:

having paramount rank, dignity, or importance : outstanding, supreme

G-d is supreme (Revelation 5:13).  All believers would agree upon this... but who among believers is preeminent?  The Catholic church says Peter is preeminent.  Others say Paul since he wrote much of the New Testament.  The disciples had this same question:

19 July 2009

WFT- effrontery

The Merriam-Webster word of the day for June 15th was effrontery.

shameless boldness : insolence

Interestingly we find Romans mentioned in the history of the word:

18 July 2009

WFT- obnubilate

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for May 26th was obnubilate.

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Pronounced \ahb-NOO-buh-layt\ the word is a verb that means "to becloud, obscure".

18 July 2009

WFT- genius

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for October 17th, 2008 was genius.  (Yes, I am a bit behind schedule in my writing. :) )

1 : a single strongly marked capacity or aptitude 2 : extraordinary intellectual power especially as manifested in creative activity 3 : a person endowed with transcendent mental superiority; especially : a person with a very high IQ

18 July 2009

WFT- dross

The Merriam-Webster word of the day for March 26 was dross.

1 : the scum that forms on the surface of molten metal 2 : waste or foreign matter : impurity 3 : something that is base, trivial, or inferior

The history of the word they provided included this:

"Dross" has been a part of the English language since Anglo-Saxon times; one  19th-century book on Old English vocabulary dates it back to 1050 A.D. Its Old  English ancestors are related to Germanic and Scandinavian words for "dregs" (as  in "the dregs of the coffee") — and, like "dregs," "dross" is a word for the  less-than-desirable parts of something. Over the years, the relative  worthlessness of dross has often been set in contrast to the value of gold, as  for example in British poet Christina Rossetti's "The Lowest Room": "Besides,  those days were golden days, / Whilst these are days of dross" (1875).

18 July 2009

WFT- metathesis

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for February 9, 2008 was metathesis.

a change of place or condition: as a: transposition of two phonemes in a word b: a chemical reaction in which different kinds of molecules exchange parts to  form other kinds of molecules

13 July 2009

WFT- inexorable

Merriam Webster's Word of the Day for Thursday, July 9th was inexorable.

not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped : relentless

As always, they provided interesting etymological insight into the word:

24 June 2009

WFT- corvine

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for June 23rd was corvine:

of or relating to the crows : resembling a crow

14 June 2009

WFT- spurious

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for May 31st was spurious (pronounced SPYUR-ee-us).  M-W provided this definition:

1 : of illegitimate birth 2 : not genuine : false

14 June 2009

WFT- tenebrous

The Merrriam-Webster Word of the Day for June 1st was tenebrous.

The definition is as follows:

1 : shut off from the light : dark, murky 2 : hard to understand : obscure 3 : causing gloom

14 June 2009

WFT- repudiate

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for May 16th was repudiate and they provided this definition:

1 : to refuse to have anything to do with : disown 2 : to refuse to acknowledge, accept, or pay

14 June 2009

WFT- domiciliary

The Merriam-Webster Word of the day for May 17th was domiciliary.  Their definition was the following:

of, relating to, or constituting a domicile: as a : provided or taking place in  the home b : providing care and living space (as for disabled veterans)

05 June 2009

WFT- deterge

Merriam Webster's Word of the day for June 4th was deterge.

If you are thinking that sounds a lot like detergent then you're right!  M-W provided this definition

to wash off : to cleanse

04 June 2009

WFT- pompadour

Merriam Webster's word of the day for June 3rd was pompadour-

1 a : a man's style of hairdressing in which the hair is combed into a high mound in front  b : a woman's style of hairdressing in which the hair is brushed into a loose full roll around the face 2 : hair dressed in a pompadour

02 June 2009

WFT- malinger

The Merriam-Webster word of the day for June 1st was malinger.   M-W defined it this way:

to pretend or exaggerate incapacity or illness (as to avoid duty or  work)

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for May 26th was Philadelphia lawyer.

The word means "a lawyer knowledgeable in the most minute aspects of the law".  M-W provided the following background:

26 May 2009

WFT- manumit

This week has provided an abundance of words for thought.  Merriam-Webster's word of the day for May 26th was manumit.

M-W defined the word as "to release from slavery" and provided the following information:

26 May 2009

WFT- deasil

The Merriam-Webster Word of the day for May 20th was deasil.  Note that it is deasil and not diesel (the fuel).

Deasil means clockwise.  M-W says...

According to an old custom, you can bring someone good fortune by walking around  the person clockwise three times while carrying a torch or candle. In Scottish  Gaelic, the word "deiseil" is used for the direction one walks in such a  luck-bringing ritual. English speakers modified the spelling to "deasil," and  have used the word to describe clockwise motion in a variety of rituals.

25 May 2009

WFT- destitute

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for May 24th was destitute.

1 : lacking something needed or desirable 2 : lacking possessions and resources; especially : suffering extreme poverty

24 May 2009

WFT- carrefour

The Merriam-Webster word of the day for Friday May 22nd was carrefour.  They provided this definition:

1 : crossroads 2 : square, plaza

17 May 2009

WFT- scrupulous

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for Friday, May 15th was scrupulous.

1 : having moral integrity : acting in strict regard for what is considered right or proper 2 : punctiliously exact : painstaking

13 May 2009

WFT- whinge

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for Monday, May 11th was whinge.

to complain fretfully : whine

In their "Did you know?" section, M-W provided the following:

"Whinge" isn't just a spelling variant of "whine." "Whinge" and "whine" are actually entirely different words with separate histories. "Whine" traces to an Old English verb, "hwinan," which means "to make a humming or whirring sound." When "hwinan" became "whinen"in Middle English, it meant "to wail distressfully"; "whine" didn't acquire its "complain" sense until the 16th century. "Whinge," on the other hand, comes from a different Old English verb, "hwinsian," which means "to wail or moan discontentedly." "Whinge" retains that original sense today, though nowadays it puts less emphasis on the sound of the complaining and more on the discontentment behind the complaint.

This brings to mind an admonition from Scripture:

11 May 2009

WFT- fidelity

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for Sunday, May 10th was fidelity.

1 : the quality or state of being faithful

2 : accuracy


This was the etymological information they provided for the word:

01 March 2009

WFT- exorbitant

The Merriam-Webster's word of the day for February 23rd was exorbitant.  M-W defined the word as follows:

1 : not coming within the scope of the law
2 : exceeding the customary or appropriate limits in intensity,  quality, amount, or size
While the second definition is the most common usage the first is what brings some Scripture to mind.
24 February 2009

WFT- onerous

The Merriam-Webster word of the day for February 24th 2009 is onerous.

1 : involving, imposing, or constituting a burden : troublesome
2 : having legal obligations that outweigh the advantages
This reminded me of the words of Yochanan:
09 February 2009

WFT- cognate

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for Wednesday, February 4th, 2009 was cognate.

1 : of the same or similar nature 2 : related; especially : related by descent from the same ancestral language

This brings to mind one of the very first word studies I ever did.  I was using Vine's Expository Dictionary [ed- the paper version... not online.  I don't think there was an "online" back then. :) ]

09 February 2009

WFT- indubitable

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for Thursday, January 29th was indubitable.

This takes me back to childhood memories of the Three Stooges (who were Jewish!) and their statements using "indubitably". :)

M-W provides this definition:

too evident to be doubted : unquestionable

09 February 2009

WFT- primogeniture

The Merriam-Webster word of the day for Wednesday, January 28th was primogeniture.

M-W provided the following definition:

1 : the state of being the firstborn of the children of the same parents 2 : an exclusive right of inheritance belonging to the eldest son


This brings to mind a passage from Colossians:

27 January 2009

WFT- cynosure

Unless you are already familiar with the term you might be upset if you heard someone use Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for January 24th to describe Messiah.

The word is cynosure and M-W provides the following definition:

1 : the northern constellation Ursa Minor; also : North Star
2 : one that serves to direct or guide
3 : a center of attraction or attention
27 January 2009

WFT- engender

Merriam Webster's Word of the Day for Monday, January 26th was engender.

They provided the following definitions:
1 : beget, procreate
2 : to cause to exist or to develop : produce
3 : to assume form : originate
The following etymology was also provided and very insightful:
22 January 2009

WFT- reconcile

The Merriam-Webster word of the day for January 22nd was reconcile.  Here is the definition:

1 a : to restore to friendship or harmony b : settle, resolve 2 : to cause to submit to or accept something unpleasant 3 a : to check (a financial account) against another for accuracy b : to account for

Some very obvious references can be made with Scripture.  Here is the etymology:

22 January 2009

WFT- palatable

After a long break from words that brought anything Scriptural to mind...

The Merriam-Webster word of the day for January 21st was "palatable".  These meanings were given:

1 : agreeable to the palate or taste
2 : agreeable or acceptable to the mind
Long time readers of WFT articles will likely see what is coming. :)
15 October 2008

WFT- facetious

The Merriam-Webster word of the day for October 14th was "facetious":

1 : joking or jesting often inappropriately : waggish 2 : meant to be humorous or funny : not serious

15 October 2008

WFT- palmary

The Merriam-Webster word of the day for October 15th was palmary which means "outstanding, best".  M-W provided this etymological information:

English speakers have been using "palmary" since the 1600s, and its history  stretches back even further than that.

15 October 2008

WFT- indagate

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day for October 9th was indagate which means "to search into; investigate".

Although slightly different in meaning it brought to mind this passage in 1Thes 5:21-

But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;

30 September 2008

WFT- prodigy

The Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for Friday 9/26/2008 was "prodigy":

1. something extraordinary : wonder 2 : a highly talented child

30 September 2008

WFT- exonerate

The Merriam-Webster word of the day for Monday, September 29th was exonerate:

1 : to relieve of a responsibility, obligation, or hardship 2 : to clear from accusation or blame

18 September 2008

WFT- eponymous

Merriam- Webster's word of the day for Sunday, September 14th, 2008 was "eponymous":

of, relating to, or being one for whom or which something is or is believed to  be named

14 September 2008

WFT- circumlocution

Merriam Webster's word of the day for Tuesday, September 9th was circumlocution:

1 : the use of an unnecessarily large number of words to express an idea 2 : evasion in speech

03 September 2008


Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for Saturday, August 30th was exasperate:

1 : to excite the anger of : enrage 2 : to cause irritation or annoyance to

This immediately brought to mind the admonition of Paul to the believers in Colossae:
26 August 2008

WFT- sophistry

Merriam-Webster's word of the day for Tuesday 8/26/2008 is sophistry:

1 : subtly deceptive reasoning or argumentation 2 : an argument apparently correct in form but actually invalid; especially : such an argument used to deceive

"An argument used to deceive. "  Hmmm... that got me to thinking of the words of the serpent in the Garden:

"Hath God said...?"

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Yom Sheni, 17 Adar I, 5784

Monday, February 26, 2024


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