Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for May 11, 2020 is:

aggrandize • uh-GRAN-dyze  • verb

1 : to make great or greater : increase, enlarge

2 : to make appear great or greater : praise highly

3 : to enhance the power, wealth, position, or reputation of


“I read [Ball Four by Jim Bouton] when I was 14, and, although I’ve never gone back to re-read or study it, it changed my view of the so-called heroes that played and play sports at a high level. They were and are great at what they do…. But they are only human, with remarkable skills and contributions to be appreciated. In some ways and cases, though, they are ordinary, less than ordinary, not to be aggrandized or worshipped.” — Gordon Monson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 11 July 2019

“By definition and disposition, the spy presents a daunting challenge to the historian. Expected to be elusive and deceptive, secret agents prefer to swallow written evidence, not preserve it. Then, if they survive to write memoirs, they often aggrandize their achievements at the expense of truth.” — Harold Holzer, The Wall Street Journal, 2 Aug. 2019

Did you know?

Aggrandize has enhanced the English vocabulary since the early 17th century. English speakers adapted agrandiss-, the stem of the French verb agrandir, to form aggrandize, and later used the French form agrandissement as the basis of the noun aggrandizement. (The root of agrandiss- is Latin; it comes from grandis, meaning “large, great.”) Nowadays, both noun and verb are regularly paired (somewhat disparagingly) with the prefix self- to refer to individuals bent on glorifying themselves, as sports writer Alan Shipnuck demonstrates in a 2015 Sports Illustrated article, writing “golf is not a sport that smiles upon the self-aggrandizing.”

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