Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for January 29, 2021 is:

categorical • kat-uh-GOR-ih-kul  • adjective

1 : absolute, unqualified

2 a : of, relating to, or constituting a category

b : involving, according with, or considered with respect to specific categories


“The Fair School Funding Plan … offers … categorical funding to determine the actual costs of safety and mental health programs and educations for disadvantaged and gifted students and those with disabilities or the need to learn English. — David J. Coehrs, The Swanton (Ohio) Enterprise, 8 Dec. 2020

“In the strongest story, ‘Guericke’s Unicorn,’ the narrator visits the Alps, hoping to write a categorical guide to monsters and feeling haunted by her studies. It’s a study of mood and strangeness that brings to mind Del and Sofia Samatar’s illustrated bestiary ‘Monster Portraits.'” — Kate Zambreno, The New York Times, 8 Dec. 2020

Did you know?

The ancestor of categorical and category has been important in logic and philosophy since the days of Aristotle. Both English words derive from Greek katēgoria, which Aristotle used to name the 10 fundamental classes (also called “predications” or “assertions“) of terms, things, or ideas into which he felt human knowledge could be organized. Ironically, although those categories and things categorical are supposed to be absolute and fundamental, philosophers have long argued about the number and type of categories that exist and their role in understanding the world. High-level philosophical disputes aside, the word categorical continues to sometimes describe an absolute assertion, one that involves no conditions or hypotheses—for example, the statement “all humans are mortal.”

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