Word of the Day : February 16, 2014


adjective LORN


: desolate, forsaken

Did You Know?

"Lorn" and "forlorn" are synonyms that can both mean "desolate" or "forsaken." The similarity in form and meaning of the two words is hardly a coincidence. "Lorn" comes down to us from "loren," the Middle English past participle of the verb "lesen" ("to lose"), itself a descendent of the Old English "lēosan." Similarly, "forlorn" comes from the Middle English "forloren," a descendent of Old English verb "forlēosan," which also means "to lose." The "for-" in "forlorn" is a no longer productive prefix meaning, among other things, "completely," "excessively," or "to exhaustion." Nowadays, "forlorn" is considerably more common than "lorn." "Lorn" does, however, appear as the second element in the compound "lovelorn" ("bereft of love or of a lover").


"One large saucepan lay lorn near the doorstep, a proof that Foster was human." - From Arnold Bennett's 1910 novel Clayhanger

"It's a bit unsettling here seeing slides, climbing structures, and the like lost in lone, lorn decay." - From a photography exhibit review by Mark Feeney in The Boston Globe, December 2, 2011

Test Your Memory

What is the meaning of "ostentatious," our Word of the Day from January 17? The answer is …


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