Word of the Day


audio pronunciation
March 21, 2013
: of, relating to, or written in a simplified form of the ancient Egyptian hieratic writing
: common, popular
: of or relating to the form of Modern Greek that is based on everyday speech
The style of her art work is intentionally demotic, aimed at ordinary people rather than the elite of the art world.

"The demotic dictionary gives researchers definitions, shows word uses and helps with translating texts. But it also serves as a reference guide for reconstructing and understanding ancient Egyptian culture, whether it's the nuances of government, commerce, politics, religion or male-female relationships." — From an article by Dawn Turner Trice in the Chicago Tribune, October 22, 2012
Get the Word of the Day direct to your inbox — subscribe today!
Did You Know?
You may recognize the root of "demotic" from words like "democracy" and "demography." The source of these words is the Greek word "dēmos," meaning "people." "Demotic" is often used of everyday forms of language (as opposed to literary or highbrow versions). It entered English in the early 1800s and originally designated a form of ancient Egyptian cursive script which by the 5th century BCE had come into use everywhere in Egypt for business and literary purposes (in contrast to the more complex, hieratic script retained by the clergy). "Demotic" has a newer specialized sense as well, referring to a form of Modern Greek that is based on everyday speech and that since 1976 has been the official language of Greece.

Word Family Quiz: What relative of "demotic" means "occurring over a wide geographic area and affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population"? 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