Word of the Day : January 17, 2021
modicum \MAH-dih-kum\ noun
: a small portion : a limited quantity
Did You Know?
What does modicum have to do with a toilet? It just so happens that modicum shares the same Latin parent as commode, which is a synonym of toilet. Modicum and commode ultimately derive from the Latin noun modus, which means "measure." (We borrowed the noun commode from the French, who also used the word as an adjective meaning "suitable, convenient.") Modicum, which, logically enough, refers to a small "measure" of something, has been a part of the English language since the 15th century. It descends from the Latin modicus ("moderate"), which is itself a descendant of modus. Modus really measures up as a Latin root—it also gave us mode (originally a kind of musical "measure"), modal, model, modern, modify, and modulate. More distant relatives include mete, moderate, and modest.
Aired January 17, 2021
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