Word of the Day : September 29, 2014


adjective RAY-pee-er


: extremely sharp or keen

Did You Know?

A rapier is a straight, two-edged sword with a narrow pointed blade, designed especially for thrusting. According to Encyclopædia Britannica, "the long rapier was beautifully balanced, excellent in attack, and superb for keeping an opponent at a distance." The word itself, which we borrowed in the 16th century, is from Middle French rapiere. The first time that rapier was used as an adjective in its figurative "cutting" sense, it described a smile: "Who can bear a rapier smile? A kiss that dooms the soul to death?" ("The Lover's Lament" by Sumner Lincoln Fairfield, 1824). The adjective these days most commonly describes wit-an association that dates to the 1850s.


The wit and keen insight found in her blog are a testament to her rapier mind.

"Mr. Brady was a veteran Republican aide and a popular figure among Washington journalists. He was equipped with a rapier wit and a buoyant charm that tended to defuse controversy even before he began working for the White House in January 1981." - Jon Thurber, The Washington Post, August 5, 2014

Test Your Memory

What former Word of the Day descends from French and can mean "to take part in a drunken revel"? The answer is …


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