Word of the Day : March 6, 2013


adjective mair-uh-TOR-ee-us


: worthy of reward, gratitude, honor, or esteem

Did You Know?

People who demonstrate meritorious behavior certainly "earn" our respect, and you can use that fact to remember that "meritorious" ultimately traces to the Latin verb "merēre," which means "to earn." Nowadays, the rewards earned for meritorious acts are likely to be of an immaterial nature: gratitude, admiration, praise, etc. But that wasn't always so. The history of "meritorious" recalls a reward more concrete in nature: money. The Latin word "meritorius," an ancestor of the English "meritorious," literally means "bringing in money."


Mrs. Goodman received the town's Meritorious Service Award for her untiring efforts to keep the library open.

"In February 2011, President Barack Obama bestowed upon [Stan] Musial the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States, which recognizes individuals who have made 'an especially meritorious contribution to the security of national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.'" - From an article by John Jeansonne in Newsday (New York), January 20, 2013

Word Family Quiz

What descendant of "merēre" can refer to a mark on someone's record indicating that he or she has done something wrong? The answer is ...


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