Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Satiate

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

What It Means

Satiate is a formal word that means “to satisfy (something, such as a need or desire) fully.”

// My curiosity about Nicole’s Spring Fling costume, which she promised would be “corny,” was finally satiated when she arrived at the party dressed as an incredibly lifelike cob of corn, complete with tassels.

SATIATE in Context

“Every time I near the end of dinner at Yangban Society, Katianna and John Hong’s Art District restaurant, I experience the same dilemma. I’m happily satiated. … I couldn’t possibly eat another bite. The thought is actually painful. But for Katianna’s cheesecake, I persevere.” — Jenn Harris, The Los Angeles Times, 21 Nov. 2022

Did You Know?

The time has come at last to share the “sad” history of satiate, by which we mean that the two words—sad and satiate—are etymologically connected, not that the details will have you reaching for the tissue box. Both satiate and sad are related to the Latin adjective satis, meaning “enough.” When we say our desire, thirst, curiosity, etc. has been satiated, we mean it has been fully satisfied (satisfy being another satis descendant)—in other words, we’ve had enough. Satiate and sate (believed to be an alteration and shortening of satiate) sometimes imply simple contentment, but often suggest that having enough has dulled interest or desire for more, as in “Years of globe-trotting satiated their interest in travel.” Sad, which in its earliest use could describe someone who was weary or tired of something, traces back to the Old English adjective sæd, meaning “sated,” and sæd shares an ancient root with Latin satis.

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