palmary was our Word of the Day on 10/15/2008. Hear the podcast!
Did You Know?
English speakers have been using palmary since the 1600s, and its history stretches back even further than that. It was the ancient Romans who first used their palmarius to describe someone or something extraordinary. Palmarius literally translates as "deserving the palm." But what does that mean exactly? Was it inspired by palms of hands coming together in applause? That would be a good guess, but the direct inspiration for palmarius was the palm leaf given to a victor in a sports competition. That other palm, the one on the hand, is loosely related. The Romans thought the palm tree's leaves resembled an outstretched palm of the hand; they thus used their word palma for both meanings, just as we do with palm in English.
Origin and Etymology of palmary
Latin palmarius deserving the palm, from palma
First Known Use: 1657
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