Word of the Day : April 21, 2012


noun mal-uh-DIK-shun


: curse, execration

Did You Know?

"Malediction," which at one time could also refer to slander or to the condition of being reviled or slandered, derives (via Middle English and Late Latin) from the Latin verb "maledicere," meaning "to speak evil of" or "to curse." "Maledicere," in turn, was formed by combining the Latin words "male," meaning "badly," and "dicere," "to speak" or "to say." You may recognize both of those component parts, as each has made a significant contribution to the English language. "Male" is the ancestor of such words as "malady," "malevolent," and "malign"; "dicere" gives us "contradict," "dictate," "diction," "edict" and "prediction," just to name a few.


The two old women began casting aspersions and heaping maledictions upon one another.

"Culture may have been the principal instrument of our transfiguration, and we could now only curse the few beneficiaries of the founder of civil society with Caliban's malediction addressed to Prospero in The Tempest: 'The red plague ride you / For learning me your language!'" - From Robert Wokler's 2012 book Rousseau, the Age of Enlightenment, and Their Legacies

Test Your Memory

What is the meaning of "cockalorum," our Word of the Day from April 5? The answer is ...


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