Word of the Day

deleterious

audio pronunciation
May 31, 2011
adjective
\del-uh-TEER-ee-us\
Definition
: harmful often in a subtle or unexpected way
Examples
Marguerite is convinced that violent television programs will have a deleterious effect on her children, so she carefully monitors what they watch.

"Democrats and Republicans, because of their nefarious relationships with lobbyists, have turned a blind eye to the deleterious consequences of government and tax policy that is determined by special interests." -- From an opinion column by LeRoy Goldman in The Asheville Citizen-Times (North Carolina), January 27, 2011
Subscribe
Get the Word of the Day direct to your inbox — subscribe today!
Did You Know?
"Pernicious," "baneful," "noxious," and "detrimental" are the wicked synonyms of "deleterious." All five words refer to something exceedingly harmful. Of the group, "deleterious" is most often used for something that is unexpectedly harmful. "Pernicious" implies irreparable harm done by something that corrupts or undermines in an evil or insidious way ("the assertion that hateful speech has a pernicious effect on society"), while "baneful" suggests injury through poisoning or destruction ("the baneful notion that discipline destroys creativity"). "Noxious" can apply to anything that is both offensive and injurious to the health of body or mind ("noxious chemical fumes"), while "detrimental" implies an obvious harmfulness to something specified ("the detrimental effects of excessive drinking").

Name That Synonym: Fill in the blanks to create another word meaning "harmful": n_c_o_s. The answer is ...
More Words of the Day
Visit our archives to see previous selections.
Podcast
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears