Word of the Day : June 22, 2011


noun rih-FEK-shun


1 : refreshment of mind, spirit, or body; especially : nourishment

2 a : the taking of refreshment

b : food and drink together : repast

Did You Know?

Whether you sit down for nourishment or sustenance, aliment or pabulum, a meal or a repast, you are unlikely to encounter a shortage of English words for food or the partaking of food. "Refection" is just such a word. It was first borrowed by Middle English (as "refeccioun") from Anglo-French "refectiun," which in turn was derived from Latin "refectio" (meaning "refreshment" or "repairing"). "Refectio" comes from the verb "reficere" ("to remake, renew, or restore"), a combination of the prefix "re-" ("again") and the verb "facere" ("to make or do"). "Refection" is not only applied to food, however. It has been used to describe many means of restoring or refreshing one's body, and of mental and spiritual sustenance as well.


"Miss Vavasour, so assiduous in other areas of her care of us, is capricious, not to say cavalier, in the matter not only of luncheon but of meals in general, and dinner especially at the Cedars can be an unpredictable refection." -- From John Banville's 2005 novel The Sea

"The hospital, he added, had been instituted for the reception and refection of the poor and it should concentrate on those duties.…" -- From Jonathan Riley-Smith's 2008 book The Crusades, Christianity, and Islam

Word Family Quiz

What 6-letter descendant of "facere" begins with "d" and refers to an imperfection or flaw? The answer is ...


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