Word of the Day : September 7, 2011


noun mahr-juh-NAY-lee-uh


1 : marginal notes or embellishments (as in a book)

2 : nonessential items


"Read between the lines of an old family recipe and you're liable to read the story of the family itself. The scrawled marginalia and cooking stains, the collective memory of shared feasts…." — From an article by Lila Byock on GiltTaste.com, August 15, 2011

"Corruption and crime fouled the innards of the new Russian regime almost from the moment of its birth, yet these subjects were often treated by Westerners as regrettable marginalia rather than as the fundamental and systemic issues that they really were." — From a letter by Christian Caryl on ForeignPolicy.com, September/October 2011

Did You Know?

We don't consider a word's etymology to be marginalia, so we'll start off by telling you the etymology of this one. "Marginalia" is a New Latin word that can be traced back to the Latin forms "margin-" and "margo," meaning "margin." "Marginalia" is a relatively new word; our earliest evidence of its use is from 1832. The related adjective "marginal" is quite a bit older; it was first used in 1573. On the other end of the spectrum is another relative, "marginalize." That word was first used in 1970.

Test Your Memory

What is the meaning of "kerfuffle," our Word of the Day from August 20? The answer is ...


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