Word of the Day

sparge

audio pronunciation
August 08, 2009
verb
\SPAHRJ\
Definition
1
: sprinkle, bespatter; especially : spray
2
: to agitate (a liquid) by means of compressed air or gas entering through a pipe
Examples
Part of the disinfecting process at the new water treatment plant may involve sparging the water with ozone bubbles.
Subscribe
Get the Word of the Day direct to your inbox — subscribe today!
Did You Know?
Etymologists think that "sparge" likely came to English by way of the Middle French word "espargier," itself from Latin "spargere," meaning "to scatter." ("Spargere" is also the source of "disperse," "intersperse," and "sparse," among others.) Although "sparge" has been a synonym for "sprinkle" since the late 16th century, you're now most likely to come across this word in one of two contexts. The first is a process called "air sparging," in which air is injected into groundwater to help remediate contamination. The second is the process of beer making, during which mash is sparged -- that is, sprayed with hot water to extract the wort. In The New World Guide to Beer, author Michael Jackson describes the process by which one particular beer is made, saying that "it is brewed only from first running, without sparging...."
More Words of the Day
Visit our archives to see previous selections.
Podcast
Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!
April 25, 2015
lissome Hear it
nimble or easily flexed
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