Merriam Webster Word of the Day: Solace

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

What It Means

Solace means “someone or something that gives a feeling of comfort to a person who is experiencing grief, sadness, or anxiety.”

// Her presence was a great solace to me during my time of need.

// We took solace in the knowledge that our ordeal would be over soon.

SOLACE in Context

“Mountain biking surged in popularity over the pandemic lockdown—with mandated daily exercise in local mountains, dirt trails and off-road locations providing solace to millions of bikers up and down the country.” — Jacob Little, The Scotsman (Edinburgh, Scotland), 22 Oct. 2022

Did You Know?

Solace is a 14th century borrowing from Latin by way of Anglo-French. Its Latin ancestor solari means “to console.” (Solari itself is from the Greek word hilaros, meaning “cheerful”—also source, of course, of hilarious.) Solace is not related to solar (that comes from Latin sol by way of solaris), but it is a close relation of console (“to try to make (someone) feel less sadness or disappointment”) and consolation (“something that makes a person feel less sadness, disappointment, etc.”). In addition to its noun function, solace can be used as a verb (“he was solaced by the company of his children”). For those of you who take solace in knowing the more obscure members of our vast language, we are pleased to also present solacer (“one who solaces”) and solacement (“an act of solacing or the condition of being solaced”).

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