quidnunc

noun

quid·​nunc ˈkwid-ˌnəŋk How to pronounce quidnunc (audio)
: a person who seeks to know all the latest news or gossip : busybody

Did you know?

What's new? That's a question every busybody wants answered. Latin-speaking Nosey Parkers might have used some version of the expression "quid nunc," literally "what now," to ask the same question. Appropriately, the earliest documented English use of "quidnunc" to refer to a gossiper appeared in 1709 in Sir Richard Steele's famous periodical, The Tatler. Steele is far from the only writer to ply "quidnunc" in his prose, however. You also can find the word among the pages of works by such writers as Washington Irving and Nathaniel Hawthorne. But don't think the term is old news - it sees some use in current publications, too.

Example Sentences

with the arrival of our other friend, we at last had a quorum of quidnuncs and enough material to while away a long lunch hour

Word History

Etymology

Latin quid nunc what now?

First Known Use

1709, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of quidnunc was in 1709

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Dictionary Entries Near quidnunc

Cite this Entry

“Quidnunc.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quidnunc. Accessed 31 Jan. 2023.

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