Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Word Of The Day

Merriam-Webster's Word Of The Day

The Word of the Day for January 7 is:

acerbate • \ASS-er-bayt\ • verb
: irritate, exasperate

Example sentence:
The repetitive little noise acerbated the nerves of everyone in the vicinity.

Did you know?
The verb "acerbate" was first documented in English around 1731 and is ultimately derived (via the past participle of the Latin verb "acerbare") from the Latin "acerbus," meaning "harsh" or "bitter." There’s also an adjective "acerbate" (pronounced \uh-SER-but\ and meaning "irritated, exasperated, harsh"), but it is used infrequently. These days, the verb turns up fairly often in place of "exacerbate" ("to make worse"), although this sense is not quite common enough yet to be in dictionaries. The use of "acerbate" for "exacerbate" may be an error created by confusing two very similar words, but it's actually a pretty insightful mistake—"exacerbate" is also from "acerbus."

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