Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Besotted

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

What It Means

Besotted means “loving someone or something so much that you cannot think clearly.”

// He was so besotted with his classmate that he began to make errors in his work.

BESOTTED in Context

“Behind every great diva is a great wig. And perhaps there’s no better diva with better wigs than Whitney Houston. The legendary singer gets the musical biopic treatment … with Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody. Stepping into Whitney’s iconic shoes—and even more iconic wigs—is British actress Naomi Ackie, who was so besotted with said wigs she took one or two (or five) home.” — Lester Fabian Brathwaite, Entertainment Weekly, 22 Dec. 2022

Did You Know?

You may be familiar with the noun sot as a synonym of drunkard, and indeed the Old English word sott, referring to a foolish or stupid person, eventually picked up that boozy meaning centuries later (after dropping a t). The now-archaic verb sot followed a similar trajectory, its original meaning of “to cause to appear foolish or stupid” was eventually joined by “to drink excessively.” The earliest recorded usage of the related adjective besotted (in the late 16th century, from the past participle of the verb besot), however, described a state of intoxication due to amorousness rather than adult beverages; the still-current sense of besotted meaning “drunk” didn’t show up until the early 19th century. In fact, evidence of the “infatuated” sense of besotted also predates the tipple-related senses of the noun sot, verb sot, and verb besot, suggesting perhaps that love may be the strongest intoxicant of all.

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