Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Jaundiced


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

What It Means

Jaundiced means “showing or influenced by feelings of distrust, distaste, or hostility.” Someone described as jaundiced, or as possessing jaundiced opinions or views, is typically understood to feel that way because of negative past experiences.

// She developed a very jaundiced view of politics and politicians after years of chairing her local school board committee and witnessing all kinds of petty shenanigans.

JAUNDICED in Context

“I directed a short story [Dorothy] Parker wrote once with a couple of my acting students. It wasn’t written as a one-act play, it was just a short dialogue-driven story and it was called ‘Here We Are.’ Parker was basically doing a satiric tap dance on the institution of marriage, and all of the little peccadilloes and foibles that human beings possess, because you know, they’re human. … Parker looked at marriage with a jaundiced eye because she probably saw and knew too much of human behavior.” — J. V. Houlihan, The Block Island (Rhode Island) Times, 12 May 2023

Did You Know?

Cast not a jaundiced eye on the word jaundiced—and by that we mean this: don’t dislike or distrust jaundiced because of past experiences with the word or with others like it. Jaundiced is handy for describing the grumps among us who tend toward envy, aversion, or hostility, and who doesn’t know a few of those? This useful 17th century adjective comes from an also-useful 14th century noun jaundice that still refers to a medical condition in which excess bile pigments in the bloodstream and body tissues cause a person’s skin to turn yellow. The connection between the physical condition and bad attitude lies in the physiological theory of the bodily humors, which holds that a hostile, irritable temperament is caused by excess yellow bile in one’s body.

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