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October 26, 2012

Word of the Day

  • immure
  • audio pronunciation
  • \ih-MYOOR\
  • DEFINITION

verb

1
a : to enclose within or as if within walls b : imprison
2
: to build into a wall; especially : to entomb in a wall
  • EXAMPLES

Scientists at the remote research station were immured by the frozen wastelands that surrounded them.

"Rather, what fairy tales obsessively conjure up is a world of mutability, in which things and people are not immured in their nature. The frog becomes a prince, the wolf becomes a grandmother, the little mermaid becomes a woman, the beast becomes a handsome man, the 12 brothers become a flock of ravens." — From a book review by Adam Kirsch in Prospect, August 23, 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?

Like "mural," "immure" comes from "murus," a Latin noun that means "wall." "Immurare," a Medieval Latin verb, was formed from "murus" and the prefix "in-" (meaning "in" or "within"). "Immure," which first appeared in English in the late 16th century, literally means "to wall in" or "to enclose with a wall," but it has extended meanings as well. In addition to senses meaning "imprison" and "entomb," the word sometimes has broader applications, essentially meaning "to shut in" or "to confine." One might remark, for example, that a very studious acquaintance spends most of her time "immured in the library" or that a withdrawn teenager "immures himself in his bedroom every night."

Test Your Memory: What word completes this sentence from a former Word of the Day piece: "Teri had forgotten to bring a book, and the __________ of reading material in her uncle's house had her visiting the town library the first morning of her stay"? The answer is ...

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