Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Immutable

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

What It Means

Immutable means “not capable of or susceptible to change.”

// It is hardly an immutable fact that cats and dogs are sworn enemies; over the years our golden retriever has grown both fond and protective of her tabby housemate.

IMMUTABLE in Context

“Two swarms of curious, diverse space rocks—called Trojan asteroids—continuously journey around the sun, one in front of the gas giant Jupiter and one behind. Jupiter and the sun’s gravity have combined to lock the Trojans into this immutable orbit. The asteroids can’t leave. It’s a major reason why Trojan meteorites likely don’t land on Earth, meaning we don’t have any samples of these distant, still largely mysterious objects.” — Mark Kaufman, Mashable, 28 May 2022

Did You Know?

Immutable may describe something that is incapable of change, but the word itself—like all words—is mutable, both capable of and prone to alteration. To put a finer point on it, if language were fixed, we wouldn’t have immutable itself, which required a variety of mutations of the Latin verb mutare (“to change”) to reach our tongues (or pens, keyboards, or touchscreens—oh the many permutations of communication!). Other English words that can be traced back to mutare include mutate, transmute, and commute. Which reminds us—the mutability of language makes great food for thought during one’s commute.

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