Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Arrogate

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

What It Means

Arrogate is a formal word that usually means “to take or claim (something, such as a right or a privilege) in a way that is not fair or legal.”

// The city council has accused the mayor of arrogating to himself decision-making authority that rightly belongs with the council.

ARROGATE in Context

“Teenage girls rule in the tart but sweet new Broadway musical Mean Girls. But their system of high-school government is far from a democracy: It’s a reign of terror, angst and mall fashions, where popularity is arrogated and then ruthlessly enforced.” — Adam Feldman, TimeOut New York, 8 Apr. 2018

Did You Know?

The resemblance between arrogate and arrogant is more than coincidence: they both have the Latin verb arrogare, meaning “to appropriate to one’s self,” at their root. This idea of claiming or seizing something as one’s right is immediately apparent in the English word arrogate: the word is used primarily to talk about taking or claiming a right or a privilege in a way that is not fair or legal. In arrogant the idea of appropriation is slightly veiled: by showing an offensive attitude of superiority, an arrogant person claims—that is, arrogates—more consideration than they are due.

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