Word of the Day


audio pronunciation
March 09, 2012
: generally pleasing and engaging often because of a childlike charm and innocence
: cheerful, lighthearted
Darryl's winsome nature made him well-liked in the office, and his cubicle was a popular destination for co-workers looking for a conversation partner.

"Faina, a winsome blonde child with a fox for a friend, emerges from the woods to bewitch them both." — From a book review by Lydia Kiesling in Slate, January 31, 2012
Get the Word of the Day direct to your inbox — subscribe today!
Did You Know?
"Winsome" began as "wynsum" a thousand years ago. It was formed from "wynn," the Old English word for "joy" or "pleasure," and the suffix "-sum," an older form of the "-some" we see today in many adjectives, such as "awesome," "irksome," and "lonesome." "Wynn" later became "win," meaning "pleasure," but we haven't used that noun since the 17th century. We do, however, use another word that has a "pleasing" connection and is related, albeit distantly, to "winsome." "Winning" ("tending to please or delight," as in "a winning smile" or "winning ways"), the present participle of the familiar verb "win," is from Old English "winnan," meaning "to struggle." Both "winnan" and "wynn" are thought to be related to Latin "venus," which means, among other things, "charm."

Name That Synonym: Fill in the blanks to create a synonym of "winsome": b_i_h_. 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