Word of the Day : September 7, 2019

germane

play
adjective jer-MAYN

Definition

: being at once relevant and appropriate : fitting

Did You Know?

"Wert thou a Leopard, thou wert Germane to the Lion." So wrote William Shakespeare in his tragic play Timon of Athens, using an old (and now-obsolete) sense of germane meaning "closely akin." Germane derives from the Latin word germen, meaning "bud" or "sprout," which is also at the root of our verb germinate, meaning "to sprout" or "to begin to develop." An early sense of germane referred specifically to children of the same parents, who were perhaps seen as being like buds on a single tree. Again, we turn to Shakespeare, who composed this dark line in The Winter's Tale: "Not he alone shall suffer what wit can make heavy and vengeance bitter; but those that are germane to him … shall all come under the hangman…."


Examples

The message board moderator politely reminded new members to keep their posts germane to the topic being discussed.

"'Most places we used to play have been demolished, and this one hasn't,' [Mick Jagger] said, and while he was mixing up his venues, his point was germane. Buildings, eras, styles of music, and the people that play them come and go. But the [Rolling] Stones carry on, seemingly immortal." — Dan DeLuca, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 24 July 2019



Test Your Vocabulary

Unscramble the letters to create a word meaning "germ": OEIMBRC.

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