Rank #1: Yooper
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 16, 2019 is:
Yooper • \YOO-per\ • noun
: a native or resident of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan — used as a nickname
"The district has always elected Yoopers to represent them in Congress, rather than someone from the lower peninsula like Morgan." — Melissa Nann Burke, The Detroit News, 6 Nov. 2018
"Mezydlo and Turnquist live in the Upper Peninsula community of Mohawk, which is about 25 miles south of Copper Harbor, the northernmost tip of the U.P.'s remote Keweenaw Peninsula. The region is known for having notoriously long, snowy winters—but snow lingering through July? Shocking, even for a lifelong Yooper like Turnquist." — Emily Bingham, MLive.com, 26 July 2019
Did you know?
The word Yooper comes from the common nickname of Michigan's Upper Peninsula—the "U.P."—and the etymology requires the same follow-up question that a challenging joke does: "Get it?" If you're not there yet, try saying them both out loud: Yooper, U.P. Yoopers have been saying both out loud now for about 40 years, but it's only in recent years that those beyond the U.P. and its geographical neighbors have begun to encounter Yooper in use. Yoopers refer to people who live in the Lower Peninsula as trolls (they live "under" the Mackinac Bridge, after all), but that nickname is still at this point too much of a regionalism to qualify for entry in our dictionaries.
Rank #2: continual
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 15, 2019 is:
continual • \kun-TIN-yoo-ul\ • adjective
1 : continuing indefinitely in time without interruption
2 : recurring in steady usually rapid succession
The continual blaring of the car's alarm outside made it very difficult for Jane to focus on her work that morning.
"Cows can drink upwards of 50 gallons of water a day, so making sure the animals have continual access to clean water is a must." — Stephanie Blaszczyk, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 19 July 2019
Did you know?
Since the mid-19th century, many grammarians have drawn a distinction between continual and continuous. Continual should only mean "occurring at regular intervals," they insist, whereas continuous should be used to mean "continuing without interruption." This distinction overlooks the fact that continual is the older word and was used with both meanings for centuries before continuous appeared on the scene. Today, continual is the more likely of the two to mean "recurring," but it also continues to be used, as it has been since the 14th century, with the meaning "continuing without interruption."
Rank #3: travail
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 14, 2019 is:
travail • \truh-VAIL\ • noun
1 a : work especially of a painful or laborious nature : toil
"Time and again, the company made shrewd business decisions that, through the many travails of two centuries, has left it standing." — Robert Klara, Adweek.com, 20 May 2019
"The [Rolling] Stones have survived it all by this point: near-breakups, the death of one member, the voluntary departure of a few others, medical maladies, as well as all the typical travails that have doomed countless other bands coming up in their wake." — Corbin Reiff, Billboard.com, 22 June 2019
Did you know?
Etymologists are pretty certain that travail comes from trepalium, the Late Latin name of an instrument of torture. We don't know exactly what a trepalium looked like, but the word's history gives us an idea. Trepalium is derived from the Latin tripalis, which means "having three stakes" (from tri-, meaning "three," and palus, meaning "stake"). From trepalium sprang the Anglo-French verb travailler, which originally meant "to torment" but eventually acquired the milder senses "to trouble" and "to journey." The Anglo-French noun travail was borrowed into English in the 13th century, along with another descendant of travailler, travel.
Rank #4: abscond
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 13, 2019 is:
abscond • \ab-SKAHND\ • verb
: to depart secretly and hide oneself
"The camera tracked [the black bear] as he moved in a sturdy lurch, … holding his dangling, unnecessary arms close to his chest like a mime absconding with a snatched purse." — Jon Mooallem, The New York Times Magazine, 21 Dec. 2016
"The historian Plutarch wrote that about a million Gauls were killed in the campaign and another million enslaved. Some Gallic fighters may have absconded to Britannia—not yet governed by the Roman Empire—rather than face the legions." — Isaac Schultz, Atlas Obscura, 30 July 2019
Did you know?
Abscond derives from Latin abscondere, meaning "to hide away," a product of the prefix ab- and condere, a verb meaning "to conceal." (Condere is also the root for recondite, a word meaning "concealed" as well as "hard to understand" or "obscure.") Abscond retained the meaning of its Latin parent when it was first used in English in the 17th century. In general usage, abscond refers to any act of running away and hiding (usually from the law and often with funds), but in legal circles, the word is used specifically when someone who has already become the focus of a legal proceeding hides or takes off in order to evade the legal process, as in "absconded from parole."