Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Validate

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

What It Means

To validate something means to “recognize, establish, or illustrate” its worthiness or legitimacy.

// He validated his daughter’s safety concerns by covering her head to toe with protective padding for her bicycle riding lessons.

VALIDATE in Context

“I’ve had to learn how to validate my own experiences. I now give myself permission to feel angry, upset, disappointed, or whatever negative emotions I’m experiencing.” — Kiara Imani, Forbes, 31 May 2022

Did You Know?

When validate first entered the language in the mid-17th century, its meaning was tied fast to its close relative, the adjective valid: to validate something, such as a marriage or treaty, was to make it legally valid. This meaning is still current, but the word is now used in nonlegal and informal contexts. If the museum you visit validates your parking ticket, the museum official marks the ticket and you do not have to pay for parking. If someone’s claims cannot be validated, those claims cannot be confirmed. And if a coach puts an untested player into the game and the player scores the winning point, the player’s strong performance validates the coach’s decision.

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