Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Bombinate

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

What It Means

To bombinate is to make a sustained, murmuring sound similar to a buzz or drone.

The only sounds Jared could hear in the office that night were those of his own typing and the air conditioner bombinating.

BOMBINATE in Context

“Though no longer pristine wetlands, 90% of which have been lost in California, the rice fields enticed enough migratory birds to once again darken the sky, their honks and quacks bombinating across the valley.” — Daniel Trotta and Nathan Frandino, Reuters, 9 Feb. 2022

Did You Know?

Bombinate sounds like it should be the province of bombastic blowhards who bound up and bombard you with droning blather at parties—and it is. The word traces back to the Greek word bómbos, a term that probably originated as an imitation of a deep, hollow sound (the kind we would likely refer to as “booming” nowadays). Latin speakers rendered the original Greek form as bombus, which led not only to bombinate, but also to bomb, bombard, and bound (“to move by leaping”).

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