Word of the Day : July 2, 2013


noun BEN-ih-dikt


: a newly married man who has long been a bachelor

Did You Know?

"Benedick" is the chief male character in Shakespeare’s play Much Ado About Nothing. Throughout the play, both Benedick and his female counterpart Beatrice exchange barbed comments and profess to detest the very idea of marriage, but the story eventually culminates in their marriage to each other. As a result, Benedick's name came to be applied to men who marry later in life. The spelling was changed to "benedict," possibly by association with a use of "benedict" meaning "bachelor" (although the evidence for this use is scant). Some early 20th-century usage commentators regarded the respelling as incorrect with regard to the etymology, but "benedict" has become the established spelling nevertheless. These days "benedict" is fairly uncommon and most typically encountered in historical sources and references.


There were several benedicts at our most recent high school reunion, but I was most surprised by Denny, who had vowed he'd never marry.

"The late Joseph W. Sienkiewicz, who served on the town board from 1953 to 1957, was the last bachelor selectman to become a benedict. Mr. Sienkiewicz and Wanda Janton were married April 16, 1955." - From an article by Ed Patenaude in the Telegram & Gazette (Massachusetts), August 23, 2001

Test Your Vocabulary

What is the meaning of "shivaree"? The answer is …


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!