Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Nonpareil

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The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is nonpareil. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Nonpareil means “having no equal.”

// The singer’s stunning performance was nonpareil.

NONPAREIL in Context

“A multitasker nonpareil, he is a musician, actor, director, author, artist, poet, playwright and composer, not to mention a self-styled pierogi-making king….” — Bill Brownstein, The Gazette(Montreal, Canada), 5 Apr. 2022

Did You Know?

Trace nonpareil back to its Middle French origins and you’ll find that it comes from a term meaning “not equal.” Pareil itself comes from a Latin par, which means “equal,” and non- is a common prefix meaning “not.” In addition to its adjectival use, nonpareil also functions as a noun describing an individual of unequaled excellence (“the nonpareil of cellists”), and as the name of a chocolate candy disk covered with small sugar pellets.

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