mordacious's Word of the Day



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The Word of the Day for July 24 is:

mordacious \mor-DAY-shuss\ (adjective)
1 : biting or given to biting
*2 : biting or sharp in manner or style : caustic

Example sentence:
"Christine Baranski, playing the blunt, mordacious sister-
in-law, Connie, . . . excel[s] at delivering unequivocally mean
lines and making them sound funny." (Douglas Cruickshank, _The
San Francisco Examiner_, March 11, 1994)

Did you know?
The Earl of Carnarvan, referred to in 1650 as "mordacious,"
didn't go around biting people; it was his "biting" sarcasm
that inspired that description. The word's association with
literal biting didn't come up until later, occurring first in
an 18th-century reference to "mordacious" bats. The "caustic"
sense of "mordacious" is the more frequent use these days, but
admittedly, neither sense is especially common. If you prefer
a less esoteric option you can choose "mordant," a synonym
that sees a bit more use. Both adjectives descend from Latin
"mordere," a verb meaning (literally) "to bite or sting." If
you want to sink your teeth into more "mordere" derivatives,
you might use "mordacity" to refer to a biting quality of
speech, or substitute "mordancy" for "incisiveness" or
"harshness."

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.

NOTE: Today's Word of the Day features a word taken from
_Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged_, which
r> includes many uncommon words not generally entered in abridged
dictionaries. Find out more at:
http://www.Merriam-Webster.com/book/diction/w3bund.htm

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