Word of the Day


audio pronunciation
October 25, 2011
: infested with lice : lousy
Several third-graders had to be treated for lice after being exposed to a pediculous classmate.

"We prisoners called ourselves the Jerseys, not out of respect for this vile, pediculous hulk [the prison ship Jersey], but because it was our commonality, the glue that held us in its glorious stink." -- From the 2008 novel Johnny One-Eye by Jerome Charyn
Get the Word of the Day direct to your inbox — subscribe today!
Did You Know?
Count on the English language's Latin lexical options to pretty up the unpleasant. You can have an entire conversation about lice and avoid the l-word entirely using "pediculous" and its relatives. None of the words (from "pediculus," meaning "louse") is remotely common -- most of them are so uncommon that they appear only in our Unabridged dictionary -- but they're all available to you should you feel the need for them. There's "pediculosis," meaning "infestation with lice"; "pedicular," meaning "of or relating to lice"; and "pediculoid," meaning "resembling or related to the common lice." "Pediculid" names a particular kind of louse -- one of the family Pediculidae. And if you'd like to put an end to all of this you might require a "pediculicide" -- defined as "an agent for destroying lice."

Test Your Memory: What recent Word of the Day begins with "l" and means "weak, listless, or slow"? 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