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Word Curio

December 6, 2019

Word of the Day: Hoary

2 CQ

Word of the Day : February 25, 2017

hoary \HOR-ee\ adjective


1 : gray or white with or as if with age

2 : extremely old : ancient


The lichen gives the rocks a hoary appearance.

"Take encouragement from this hoary truth: No matter how bad things get, you can always make them worse." — Paul McHugh, The Sacramento (California) Bee, 19 Dec. 2016

Did You Know?

"How to save the old that's worth saving ... is one of our greatest problems." British novelist John Galsworthy knew the value of preserving the past—and he would likely have counted hoary among those old things worth saving. The word is old indeed; it traces to an Old English adjective, hār, which appeared in Beowulf. That hoary ancestor evolved over time into hoar, a synonym of ancient. Hoary developed from hoar more than 475 years ago, and since then it has been used for anything that is old or that has the whitened look of age (from the hoary bat to the hoary willow). The venerable hoar also remains as a synonym of hoary and as a component of compounds such as hoarfrost.

Aired February 25, 2017

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