The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is engender. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.
What It Means
Engender is a formal word that means “to produce; to cause to exist or to develop.” It is used especially when feelings and ideas are generated.
// The annual company picnic featured activities, such as a scavenger hunt, meant to engender a sense of teamwork and camaraderie among employees.
ENGENDER in Context
“Student silence and compliance are often more comfortable and comforting for those who are invested in and benefit from the status quo, but it is truly anti-learning. … Listening to students does not mean ‘giving in to students’ or treating students as customers. It’s a step toward fostering engagement and engendering responsibility. If we say we are listening, students are more likely to speak. We just have to be ready to absorb some things we might not want to hear.” — John Warner, Inside Higher Ed, 17 Oct. 2022
Did You Know?
A good paragraph about engender will engender understanding in the reader. Like its synonym generate, engender comes from the Latin verb generare, meaning “to generate” or “to beget,” and when the word was first used in the 14th century, engender meant “propagate” or “procreate.” That literal meaning having to do with creating offspring (which generate shared when it was adopted in the early 16th century) was soon joined by the “to cause to exist or develop; to produce” meaning most familiar to us today. Generare didn’t just engender generate and engender; regenerate, degenerate, and generation have the same Latin root. As you might suspect, the list of engender relatives does not end there. Generare comes from the Latin noun genus, meaning “origin” or “kind.” From this source we took our own word genus, plus gender, general, and generic, among other words.
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