Word of the Day


audio pronunciation
August 01, 2011
August 1 originally celebrated in England as a harvest festival -- called also Lammas Day
: the time of the year around Lammas Day
"A traditional activity on Lammas is to craft corn dollies out of soaked, dried corn husks." -- From the 2007 book Sacred Land by Clea Danaan

"She had a dim recollection of an essay one of her students had written. It concerned the Celtic celebration of the harvest. The festival of Lammas, or the celebration of bread, where all the women of the village would come together and prepare the bread, this being seen as a sacred ritual in itself." -- From Tara Heavey's 2010 novel Winter Bloom
Get the Word of the Day direct to your inbox — subscribe today!
Did You Know?
The word "Lammas" evolved from Old English "hlāfmæsse" ("hlāf" meaning "loaf" and "mæssse" meaning "mass"). It originated from the fact that on August first of each year, the early English church celebrated the harvesting of the first ripe grain by consecrating loaves made from it -- hence, "loaf mass." Shakespeareans will be sure to add that the eve of Lammas is Juliet's birthday, as her nurse tells us in Romeo and Juliet, "Come Lammas Eve at night shall she be fourteen." In addition, the phrase "latter Lammas" was used humorously to refer to a day that will never come, as in "he will pay at latter Lammas."

Test Your Memory: What recent Word of the Day meant "battleship"? The answer is ...
More Words of the Day
Visit our archives to see previous selections.
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