Word of the Day

fountainhead

audio pronunciation
May 10, 2013
noun
\FOUN-tun-hed\
Definition
1
: a spring that is the source of a stream
2
: principal source : origin
Examples
Rachel considers Aristotle's Poetics to be the fountainhead of modern art criticism.

"Everyone sometimes daydreams like a scientist. Ramped up and disciplined, fantasies are the fountainhead of all creative thinking. Newton dreamed, Darwin dreamed, you dream." — From an article by E. O. Wilson in The Wall Street Journal, April 6, 2013
Subscribe
Get the Word of the Day direct to your inbox — subscribe today!
Did You Know?
When it first entered English in the late 1500s, "fountainhead" was used only in a literal sense—to refer to the source of a stream. By the early 1600s, however, it was already beginning to be used figuratively in reference to any original or primary source. In his 1854 work Walden, Henry David Thoreau used the word in its figurative sense, while paying full homage to its literal meaning as well: "Morning air! If men will not drink of this at the fountainhead of the day, why, then, we must even bottle up some and sell it in the shops, for the benefit of those who have lost their subscription ticket to morning time in this world."

Name That Synonym: Fill in the blanks to create a synonym of "fountainhead": w_l_s_r_n_. The answer is …
More Words of the Day
Visit our archives to see previous selections.
Podcast
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