Word of the Day : September 11, 2011


noun MEE-grim


1 a : migraine

b : vertigo, dizziness

2 a : fancy, whim

b : low spirits

Did You Know?

"Megrim" and "migraine" share a meaning and an etymology. Latin and Greek speakers afflicted with a pain in one side of the head called their ailment "hemicrania" or "hēmikrania," from the Greek terms "hēmi-," meaning "half," and "kranion," meaning "cranium." French-speaking sufferers used "migraine," a modification of "hemicrania," for the same condition. English speakers borrowed "migraine" from French -- twice. First, they modified the French term to form "migreime," which in turn gave rise to "megrim" in the 15th century. Later, in the 18th century, they returned to French and borrowed "migraine" again, this time retaining its French spelling. Nowadays, "megrim" and "migraine" can still be used interchangeably, but "megrim" has other meanings as well.


Cathy’s friends tried to convince her that a night on the town would help to alleviate her megrims, but she wasn’t buying it.

"Sometimes I feigned illness, complaining loudly of pains in my stomach or the violent pangs of a megrim assailing my poor head as I went unwillingly into chapel." -- From Brandy Purdy's 2011 historical novel The Tudor Throne

Word Family Quiz

What relative of "megrim" can refer to a half of the earth? The answer is ...


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