Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Emolument

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

What It Means

An emolument refers to money, gifts, or perquisites that someone receives due to their job or position. 

// Jenna has contributed countless volunteer hours to the organization and continues to refuse any emolument for her work.

EMOLUMENT in Context

“The Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Enforcement Act, introduced in November, would: (1) codify the emolumentsclause’s prohibition by barring federal officials from receiving foreign emoluments absent congressional approval; (2) increase transparency by requiring disclosure of such emoluments; (3) authorize the Office of Government Ethics to create rules to ensure compliance, and also empower the Office of the Special Counsel to investigate any violations.” — Editorial, The Boston Globe, 16 Apr. 2022

Did You Know?

The U.S. Constitution includes two emoluments clauses: the foreign emoluments clause, in Article 1, Section 9, prohibits federal officeholders from accepting gifts, payments, or other items of value from foreign states or rulers; the domestic emoluments clause, in Article 2, Section 1, prohibits the president from receiving any compensation from the federal government or from any state beyond what Section 1 outlines for compensation for service as the nation’s chief executive. Like most technical legal terms, emolument is Latin in origin, but chew on this: its Latin predecessor meant simply “advantage,” but that word’s source is emolere, meaning “to produce by grinding,” and its relations include such toothsome words as mill and molar.

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