We're working on a new site. Click here to get a sneak preview.
Word of the Day

sky pilot

audio pronunciation
May 28, 2013
: clergyman; specifically : chaplain
"A pastor with just about as many pictures of Elvis as he has of Jesus in his office is probably not your typical fire-and-brimstone sky pilot." — From an article by John Grant Emeigh in the Montana Standard, March 25, 2013

"Not until the lifeboat had ended its perilous work did the men on board her realize that their captain had allowed a 'sky-pilot' to take a hand at the oars." — From the story "The Sky Pilot" by Mary S. Hancock, published in The Living Age, October 17, 1896
Get the Word of the Day direct to your inbox — subscribe today!
Did You Know?
"The designation 'sky pilot' … has only been in use for a few years, say ten…." So wrote George William Foote in the 1893 book Flowers of Freethought. He was right. Our earliest evidence dates the term to 1883. Foote compared the sky pilot to the more familiar pilot of his age: the helmsman whose job is to steer a ship. And he faulted the former, tongue in cheek, for lacking the follow-through of the latter: "The honest salt boards the ship, and takes her out to sea, or brings her into port.… But the sky-pilot does not go with you. Oh dear no! That is no part of his bargain." "Sky pilot" has never been a very common term, but it's actually a tad more common today than it was when Foote's book was published.

Test Your Vocabulary: What is the meaning of "laity"? 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