Word of the Day


audio pronunciation
August 03, 2011
: an attractive dwelling or retreat
: a lady's private apartment in a medieval hall or castle
: a shelter made with tree boughs or vines twined together : arbor
Bryan knelt down before Maura -- who was seated on a bench in the bower -- took her hand, and asked her if she would marry him.

"With its urban parks and backyard bowers, and its many varieties of flowering and hardwood trees, Memphis sometimes seems more forest than city." -- From an article by John Beifuss in The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN), July 21, 2011
Get the Word of the Day direct to your inbox — subscribe today!
Did You Know?
"Bower" derives from Old English "bur," meaning "dwelling," and was originally used of attractive homes or retreats, especially rustic cottages. In the Middle Ages, "bower" came to refer to a lady's personal hideaway within a medieval castle or hall: her private apartment. Today's "arbor" sense combines the pastoral beauty of a rustic retreat with the privacy of a personal apartment. Although its tranquil modern meaning belies it, "bower" is distantly related to the far more roughshod "bowery," which is the name of a district in New York City at one time known mostly for its flophouses and pawn shops. The Bowery got its name from a Dutch term for a dwelling or farm that shares a common ancestor with the terms that gave rise to "bower."

Test Your Memory: What is the meaning of "juggernaut," our Word of the Day from July 15? 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