Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Evanescent

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

What It Means

Something that is evanescent vanishes quickly like a vapor.

// The joy of winning the last game was evanescent, as the team quickly turned its focus to the upcoming championships.

EVANESCENT in Context

“In both cases Viladrich makes you feel just how extraordinary it is to capture something as evanescent as a personality in a painting.” — Will Heinrich, The New York Times, 25 Mar. 2022

Did You Know?

The fragile, airy quality of evanescent things reflects the etymology of the word evanescent itself. It’s from a form of the Latin verb evanescere, which means “to evaporate” or “to vanish.” (Evanescere is also the ultimate source of vanish.) Given the similarity in spelling between the two words, you might expect evaporate to be from this family as well, but its source is another steamy Latin root, evaporare.

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