Word of the Day : December 23, 2016


verb ROO-muh-nayt


1 : to engage in contemplation : meditate

2 : to chew again what has been chewed slightly and swallowed : chew the cud

Did You Know?

When you ruminate, you chew something over, either literally or figuratively. Literal rumination may seem a little gross to humans, but to cows, chewing your cud (that's partially digested food brought up from the stomach for another chew) is just a natural part of life. Figurative ruminating is much more palatable to humans; that kind of deep, meditative thought is often deemed quite a worthy activity. The verb ruminate has described metaphorical chewing over since the early 1500s and actual chewing since later that same century. Our English word derives from and shares the meanings of the Latin ruminari, which in turn derives from rumen, the Latin name for the first stomach compartment of ruminant animals (that is, creatures like cows that chew their cud).


For her final column of the year, Francine ruminated on the subject of new beginnings.

"The presence of large forage particles or undigested grains may indicate that cows are not ruminating properly or that rumen passage rate is accelerated." — Paul Kononoff, Dairy Herd Management, 6 Apr. 2016

Name That Synonym

What 4-letter synonym of ruminate begins with "m" and can also mean "to grind or mix thoroughly"?



More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!