Episode from the podcastMerriam-Webster's Word of the Day


Released Tuesday, 30th May 2017
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Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for May 30, 2017 is:

abdicate • \AB-dih-kayt\  • verb

1 : to renounce a throne, high office, dignity, or function

2 : to relinquish (something, such as sovereign power) formally

3 : to cast off : discard


"[The Duke of Windsor] abdicated the throne of the British Empire but remained king of men's style all his life. One of his great tricks was to elevate humble or casual trends and fabrics." — Nicholas Foulkes, Newsweek, 2 Sept. 2016

"… while dining at the restaurant Daniel in New York City, I asked Raj Vaidya, the head sommelier, to pick a red wine for my main course…. I don't abdicate this sacramental responsibility lightly, but Vaidya knows my taste, and he almost invariably comes up with something special." — Jay McInerney, Town & Country, 1 June 2015

Did you know?

Give it up. English includes many words for the process of throwing in the towel, especially for relinquishing a job or elected office. Abdicate, a derivative of the prefix ab- (meaning "from," "away," or "off") and the Latin verb dicare (meaning to "proclaim"), has been used primarily for those who give up sovereign power or who evade a very serious responsibility (such as parental responsibility). Renounce is often used as a synonym of abdicate, but it adds to that term the suggestion that an individual is giving up something as a sacrifice to achieve a far greater end. Resign is another option when you are describing a more matter-of-fact departure from a job, office, or trust.

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