Word of the Day : May 19, 2011


adjective WIST-ful


1 : full of yearning or desire tinged with melancholy; also : inspiring such yearning

2 : musingly sad : pensive

Did You Know?

Are you yearning to know the history of "wistful"? If so, we can ease your melancholy a little by telling you that "wistful" comes from a combination of "wishful" and "wistly," a now obsolete word meaning "intently." We can't say with certainty where "wistly" came from, but it may have sprung from "whistly," an old term meaning "silently" or "quietly." How did the supposed transition from a word meaning "quietly" to one meaning "intently" come about? That's something to muse about, but the answer isn't known.


Dan's gaze was wistful as he watched the movers load the furniture into the truck and thought of all the good times he'd had in the house.

"'So,' said Wood, at long last, jerking Harry from a wistful fantasy about what he could be eating for breakfast at this very moment up at the castle." -- From J. K. Rowling's 1999 book Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Test Your Memory

What is the meaning of "shivaree," our Word of the Day from April 30? The answer is ...


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