Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Blandishment


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

What It Means

blandishment is something said or done in order to coax or persuade an individual or group to do something. The word is usually used in its plural form, blandishments.

// It’s important that the mayor not be swayed by bribes and blandishments; decisions must be made for the overall good of the city.

// No treat, soft words, or other blandishment could get the mule to move when it decided it would rather stay put.


“Justices across the ideological spectrum have been accused of failing to make pertinent financial disclosures, accepting dubious blandishments, rejecting well-founded calls for recusal, engaging in questionable political and financial activity, and much else that would raise the eyebrows of any reasonable observer.” — Bloomberg Opinion, 5 May 2023

Did You Know?

When Star Wars audiences first meet former smuggler Lando Calrissian—played iconically by Billy Dee Williams—in The Empire Strikes Back, he is full of blandishments, offering flattery (telling Leia “You truly belong here with us among the clouds”) and gifts to our heroes in the form of food and drink (“Will you join me for a little refreshment?”) in order to entice them into what we soon discover is a trap. Notably, before the whole sordid deal goes down (and before Lando’s eventual redemption), Han Solo calls him “an old smoothie.” Lando’s verbal smoothness can be linked to blandishment too: the word was formed from the verb blandish, meaning “to coax with flattery.” Blandish ultimately comes from the Latin adjective blandus, meaning “mild” or “flattering,” source too of our adjective bland, which typically describes things boring and flavorless but which can also mean “smooth and soothing in manner or quality”—a meaning that also applies to everyone’s favorite Cloud City administrator.

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