Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Redux

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

What It Means

Redux is an adjective that means “brought back,” and it is usually used to describe an event or situation that closely resembles something from the past. Redux is always used postpostively, that is, after the word or phrase it describes.

// Following a spell of unseasonably warm weather in late May, early June felt like spring redux as the region experienced a series of cool, rainy days.

REDUX in Context

“The seismic shift in our economic structure—a world of tech oligarchs with oceans of uber-serfs driving their gig economy—is feudalism redux, according to Joel Kotkin, whose next book is called ‘The New Feudalism: The Coming Global Return to the Middle Ages.’ ‘Following a remarkable epoch of greater dispersion of wealth and opportunity, we are inexorably returning towards a more feudal era marked by greater concentration of wealth and property, reduced upward mobility, demographic stagnation, and increased dogmatism,’ Kotkin wrote on his website.” — Petula Dvorak, The Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News, 31 Dec. 2021

Did You Know?

In English, redux describes things that have been brought back—metaphorically, that is. For example, if the relationship between two nations resembles that of the United States and the Soviet Union in the late 20th century, one might call the situation a “Cold War redux.” But a dog brought back home after running away would likely not be called “Buddy redux” going forward. The Latin redux did historically have more literal application, however. For example, the Romans used this sense of redux to characterize the goddess of chance, Fortuna; Fortuna Redux was trusted to bring those far from home back safely. Today, redux is also increasingly used as a noun with a meaning something similar to retread or echo, as in “His latest movie was just a poor redux of his earlier, more visionary work.”

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