Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Concatenate


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

What It Means

Concatenate is a formal word that means “to link together in a series or chain.”

// Most household garbage bags are concatenated on rolls and connected at their perforated edges for easy tearing.


“Smell is intimacy made sensate. Its knowledge precedes words. Smelling makes people uncomfortable because it mashes all the limbic buttons and leaves us bereft of language. Unlike vision, which surveys and controls a scene from an emotional distance, smells act on us instantly and make us relinquish our agency. All this can deepen immersion. Most importantly, smell matters because all our senses concatenate and build on each other. Smell is a ‘support’ sense: not always noticeable, but often operating powerfully under the radar, and easily activating strong emotions, judgments, and memories without conscious thought.” — Jude Stewart, Wired, 31 July 2022

Did You Know?

Concatenate is a fancy word for a simple thing: it means “to link together in a series or chain.” It’s Latin in origin, formed from a word combining con-, meaning “with” or “together,” and catena, meaning “chain. ” (The word chain is also linked directly to catena.) Concatenate can also function in English as an adjective meaning “linked together,” as in “concatenate strings of characters,” but it’s rare beyond technology contexts. More common than either concatenate is the noun concatenation, used for a group of things linked together in a series, as in “a concatenation of events led to the mayor’s resignation.” Concatenation, like concatenate, is used mostly in formal contexts, but you’re welcome to change that. We personally would be tickled if professional baseball players aspired to play in the “World Concatenation,” and people talked about the latest concatenation they’ve been binge-watching.

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