Word of the Day : October 8, 2010


noun FOH-lee-ij


1 : a representation of leaves, flowers, and branches for architectural ornamentation

2 : the aggregate of leaves of one or more plants

3 : a cluster of leaves, flowers, and branches

Did You Know?

The English language has its share of common but disputed usages. One such example is the pronunciation of "foliage" as FOH-lij or, even more irksome to some, FOY-lij. The first of these two pronunciations, though frequently disparaged, is consistent with the pronunciation of the "-iage" ending in "marriage" and "carriage," as well the less common but widely accepted pronunciation of "verbiage" as VER-bij. The second of these is often more fiercely denounced, in part because of its association with the nonstandard spelling "foilage." Oddly enough, "foliage" traces back to Middle French "foille" ("leaf"), which is also the source of the English word "foil." (When adopted by Middle English speakers, "foil" originally meant "leaf.")

Quick Quiz: What 5-letter relative of "foliage" can mean "a leaf of a book or manuscript"? The answer is ...


The autumn foliage is often a resplendent display of reds, oranges, and yellows.

"The Virginia Tech football team's success has become a rite of autumn in Blacksburg, with victories accumulating as consistently as the foliage that falls over the Blue Ridge Mountains." -- From an article by Adam Himmelsbach in the New York Times, September 6, 2010


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