Word curio icon

Word Curio

April 16, 2018

Word of the Day: Vulnerable

1 CQ

Word of the Day : April 16, 2018

vulnerable \VUL-nuh-ruh-bul\ adjective


1 : capable of being physically or emotionally wounded

2 : open to attack or damage : assailable

Did You Know?

Vulnerable is ultimately derived from the Latin noun vulnus ("wound"). Vulnus led to the Latin verb vulnerare, meaning "to wound," and then to the Late Latin adjective vulnerabilis, which became vulnerable in English in the early 1600s. Vulnerable originally meant "capable of being physically wounded" or "having the power to wound" (the latter is now obsolete), but since the late 1600s, it has also been used figuratively to suggest a defenselessness against non-physical attacks. In other words, someone (or something) can be vulnerable to criticism or failure as well as to literal wounding. When it is used figuratively, vulnerable is often followed by the preposition to.

Build your vocabulary! Get Word of the Day in your inbox every day.

Test Your Vocabulary

  More Confusing Words—Quiz

    The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.


    Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

    Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Aired April 16, 2018

All Merriam-Webster content is available at

  • Recommended Recommended
  • History & In Progress History
  • Browse Library
  • Most Popular Library

Get Personalized Recommendations

Let us help you figure out what to learn! By taking a short interview you’ll be able to specify your learning interests and goals, so we can recommend the perfect courses and lessons to try next.

Start Interview

You don't have any lessons in your history.
Just find something that looks interesting and start learning!

500 characters max