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October 30, 2013

Word of the Day

  • sere
  • audio pronunciation
  • \SEER\
  • DEFINITION

adjective

: being dried and withered
  • EXAMPLES

The sere winter garden gave no hint of the profusion of flowers that would bloom in the spring.

"Where some people might see only a sere landscape and crumbling stacks of bricks, he sees a civilization that became increasingly hierarchical and income-stratified, held together by ritual that came unglued when a series of droughts left too many people with not enough food." — From an article by Jackie Jadrnak in the Albuquerque Journal News, September 15, 2013

  • DID YOU KNOW?

"Sere" has not wandered very far from its origins—it derives from the Old English word "sēar" (meaning "dry"), which traces back to the same ancient root that gave Old High German, Greek, and Lithuanian words for drying out and withering. The adjective "sere" once had the additional meaning of "threadbare," but that use is now archaic. The noun "sere" also exists, though it isn't common; its meanings are "a dry period or condition " or "withered vegetation." There are also three unrelated nouns spelled "sere." They refer to a claw or talon; a series of ecological communities; and a Hebrew vowel point.

Test Your Memory: What former Word of the Day comes from the name of a river that marked the boundary between Italy and Gaul and means "a bounding or limiting line"? The answer is …

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