The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is paladin. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.
What It Means
A paladin is a leading champion of a cause, or a trusted military leader (as for a medieval prince).
// The keynote speaker is regarded as a paladin of environmental justice.
// The prince summoned the paladin and commended him for his actions in battle.
PALADIN in Context
“This collection of stories by one of England’s best novelists is both playful and serious in the manner of Laurence Sterne, the 18th-century author of ‘Tristram Shandy.’ … Sterne was the master of the marginal, the random, the inconsequential. In our own day, David Foster Wallace, Geoff Dyer and Ali Smith have become the paladins of this goofy manner.” — Edmund White, The New York Times, 2 Dec. 2016
Did You Know?
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and we know the site where it was founded: Palatine Hill (known as Palatium in Latin), site of the cave where Roman legend tells us Romulus and Remus were abandoned as infants, nursed by a she-wolf, and fed by a woodpecker before being found by a herdsman. In ancient Rome, the emperor’s palace was located on the Palatine Hill; since the site was the seat of imperial power, Latin palatium came to mean “imperial” as well as “palace.” From palatium came Latin palatinus, also meaning “imperial” and later “imperial official.” Different forms of these words passed through Latin, Italian, and French, picking up various meanings along the way, and eventually some of those forms made their way into English, including paladin and palace.
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