Start each day with the Word of the Day in your inbox!

Word of the Day

Word of the day


[ suh-pon-uh-fahy ] [ səˈpɒn əˌfaɪ ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling

verb (used without object)

to become converted into soap.

learn about the english language

More about saponify

Saponify, “to become converted into soap,” is based on Latin sāpō (stem sāpōn-) “soap” and the combining form -ify, from Latin facere (stems fac-, fact-, -fect, and -fic-) “to do, make.” Sāpō is the source of the word for “soap” in many Romance languages, from French savon and Italian sapone to Portuguese sabão and Spanish jabón. Latin sāpō is an early borrowing from Frankish, a Germanic language once spoken in what is now France, which makes sāpō a close relative of English soap and a distant relative of Latin sēbum “tallow, grease” (as in sebaceous). Saponify was first recorded in English circa 1820.

how is saponify used?

They can sometimes saponify, where the body fats literally turn into a soaplike substance, but that takes quite a while–months–so I doubt it has happened here.

Vanda Symon, Containment, 2009

Soap was rarely used, apart from washing one’s clothes, and they were made from wood ash lye to saponify animal fat. The resultant odor was not much better than body odor before bath. Thankfully, they added rose petals to the bathwater.

Amelia Danver, A Savior in Time, 2021
quiz icon
Think you're a word wizard? Try our word quiz, and prove it!
arrows pointing up and down
Double your word knowledge with the Synonym of the Day!
Word of the Day Calendar

Word of the day


[ rey-dee-uhnt ] [ ˈreɪ di ənt ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


bright with joy, hope, etc.

learn about the english language

More about radiant

Radiant, “bright with joy and hope,” is based on Latin radiāns “shining,” the present participle of the verb radiāre “to radiate light, shine,” which is based on the noun radius “beam, ray.” Radius is also the source of radian, radio, radium, and ray. While English uses -ing to mark its present participles (seeing, going), as we learned from the recent Word of the Day gallantly, Latin uses -āns, -ēns, or -iēns—depending on the type of verb—for the same purpose. For phonetic reasons, the stems of these three Latin endings swap the s for t, which is how Latin radiāns becomes English radiant, pungēns “piercing” becomes pungent, and conveniēns “coming together” becomes convenient. Radiant was first recorded in English in the late 15th century.

how is radiant used?

To align with a California beauty company committed to natural ingredients through sustainable means feels spot-on for a wellness-minded, preternaturally radiant person like [Logan] Browning.

Laura Regensdorf, “Logan Browning on Life After Dear White People and Her New Clean-Beauty Role,” Vanity Fair, December 30, 2021

In her later years, [Queen Elizabeth II] seemed to soften, her smile more radiant, surrounded by adoring grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but rewind over 70 years and she was a force to be reckoned with.

Monique Jessen, “What Queen Elizabeth Meant to Me—and My Daughter, Who Heard from the Queen on the Day the Monarch Died,” People, September 15, 2022
Word of the Day Calendar

Word of the day


[ pri-var-i-keyt ] [ prɪˈvær ɪˌkeɪt ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling

verb (used without object)

to speak falsely or misleadingly; deliberately misstate or create an incorrect impression; lie.

learn about the english language

More about prevaricate

Prevaricate, “to deliberately speak falsely,” comes from the Latin verb praevāricārī “to straddle something,” based on prae “before” and vārus “bent outwards, bow-legged.” Potential relatives of vārus include varius “speckled, diverse” (as in variety, various, and vary) and varix “dilated vein” (as in varicose). However, because of the simple difference in vowel length between the long ā in vārus and the short a in varius and varix, the linguistic community largely isn’t convinced that all three are related. Prevaricate was first recorded in English circa 1580.

how is prevaricate used?

Prevaricate. Equivocate. Fib. Call it what you like, it’s still lying. And lying, as everyone knows, is just bad and wrong.

Richard A. Friedman, “Truth About Lies: Telling Them Can Reveal a Lot,” The New York Times, July 29, 2003

Cottagers, commuters and rural-weekend escape artists are a bunch of liars. I know because I am one. I’ve shamelessly prevaricated with the best of them all summer long…

Leah McLaren, “Ask me no questions and I'll tell you no lies,” The Globe and Mail, July 9, 2005
Word of the Day Calendar
Word of the Day Calendar