Word of the Day : April 17, 2015


adjective rih-BAR-buh-tiv


: repellent, irritating

Did You Know?

You may be surprised to learn that today's word traces back to the Latin word for beard-barba-making it a very distant relative of the English word beard. But there is some sense to the connection. After all, beards may not be repellent, but they can be prickly and scratchy. Another descendant of Latin barba is the English word barb, which can refer to a sharp projection (as found on barbed wire) or a biting critical remark, both of which can discourage others from getting too close. An interesting side note: barber too traces back to barba-but by way of an Anglo-French word for beard.


The cantankerous professor found the music, clothing, and slang favored by her students to be rebarbative.

"For all the complaints about his abrasiveness, the shadow chancellor is simply doing his job.… He once gave me a heartfelt radio interview in which he suggested, like the character in the Roger Rabbit movie, that he was not so much bad but 'just drawn that way,' and that maturity had taken the edge off his rebarbative manner." - Anne McElvoy, The Guardian, February 22, 2015

Word Family Quiz

What relative of barba is the name for the slender processes on the lips of the catfish? The answer is …


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