Word of the Day : December 19, 2015

hidebound

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adjective HYDE-bound

Definition

1 : (of a domestic animal) having a dry skin lacking in pliancy and adhering closely to the underlying flesh

2 : having an inflexible or ultraconservative character

Did You Know?

Hidebound has its origins in agriculture. The word, which appeared in English as hyde bounde in the 16th century, originally described cattle that, due to illness or poor feeding, had skin that clung to the skeleton and could not be pinched, loosened, or worked with the fingers. Hidebound has also been applied to humans—both literally, to describe people with tight skin, and figuratively. In its earliest figurative usage, hidebound meant "stingy" or "miserly." That sense has since fallen out of use, but a second figurative usage, describing people who are rigid or unyielding in their actions or beliefs, lives on in our language today.


Examples

The store failed when its hidebound owners refused to alter their business model to adjust for the changing economy.

"Both sides acknowledge a cultural divide between hidebound Beacon Hill, dominated by lawyers, lobbyists, and professional politicians, and a tech sector increasingly driven by apolitical twentysomethings." — Michael Levenson, The Boston Globe, 30 Oct. 2015



Test Your Vocabulary

What metallic -bound adjective can mean "inflexible" or "presumptuous"?

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