Word of the Day : March 6, 2014


noun SOOTH-say-er


: a person who predicts the future by magical, intuitive, or more rational means : prognosticator

Did You Know?

The origins of today's word are straightforward: a "soothsayer" is someone who says sooth. You may, however, find that less than enlightening! "Sooth" is an archaic word meaning "truth" or "reality" that dates from Old English and was used until about the first half of the 17th century. (It is believed to share an ancestor with words suggesting truthfulness and reality in Old Norse, Greek, Old High German, Sanskrit, Latin, and Gothic languages.) "Soothsayer" itself has been documented in print as far back as the 14th century. Today, it is also a moniker of the insect the mantis, whose name means "prophet" in Greek.


The host of the radio show jokingly introduced the pundit as "a soothsayer of the old-fashioned sort, possessed of a mystical ability to predict the winner of any election."

"New York Fashion Week kicks off Thursday, which means hundreds of women will trot about the city in weather-inappropriate shoes, and fashion soothsayers will scrutinize every stitch on the catwalks to make their trend predictions." - From an article by Christopher Muther in The Boston Globe, February 6, 2014

Test Your Memory

What is the meaning of "pusillanimous," our Word of the Day from February 1? The answer is …


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!