virga

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noun vir·ga \ ˈvər-gə \

Definition of virga

:wisps of precipitation evaporating before reaching the ground

virga was our Word of the Day on 10/31/2011. Hear the podcast!

Did You Know?

Virga is from the Latin word virga, which means primarily "branch" or "rod," but can also refer to a streak in the sky suggesting rain. Our featured word, which dates to the mid-20th century, is only the latest in a series of words from this root. "Verge" (which originally referred to a rod or staff carried as an emblem of authority or a symbol of office) dates to the 15th century. The rare noun "virgate," which refers to an old English unit of land area, came from "virga" by way of the Medieval Latin virgata (also a unit of land area) in the late 17th century. The more common adjective virgate, meaning "shaped like a rod or wand" arrived in the early 19th by way of Latin virgatus, meaning "made of twigs."

Origin and Etymology of virga

New Latin, from Latin, branch, rod, streak in the sky suggesting rain


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