Word of the Day : December 17, 2016


verb LAYV


1 a : wash, bathe

b : to flow along or against

2 : pour

Did You Know?

Lave is a simple, monosyllabic word that magically makes the mundane act of washing poetic. Shakespeare used it in The Taming of the Shrew when Gremio assured the father of his beloved Bianca that she would have "basins and ewers to lave her dainty hands." And in Charles Dickens' The Old Curiosity Shop, Nell "laved her hands and face, and cooled her feet before setting forth to walk again." The poetry of lave is also heard when describing water washing against the shore, or even the pouring of water. Before washing our hands of lave, we'll tell you that it comes from the same root as our word lavatory: the Latin verb lavare, meaning "to wash."


"The captain walked up past the horses holding his arm and he knelt and drank and laved water over the back of his neck with his good hand." — Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses, 1992

"On that first day she rode out to the beach on the ocean side of the island, dismounted to walk along the sand and watch the breakers lave the shore, and felt, for a moment, wholly content." — Sara Taylor, The Shore, 2015

Test Your Memory

What is the meaning of nictitate, our November 20th Word of the Day?



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