Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for October 8, 2019 is:

caustic • KAWSS-tik  • adjective

1 : capable of destroying or eating away by chemical action : corrosive

2 : marked by incisive sarcasm

3 : relating to or being the surface or curve of a caustic


A caustic substance had eaten away at the metal of the plaque, and the inscription was now impossible to read.

“The lauded satirist’s caustic send-up centers on a cabal of hucksters … working to turn a phony self-help guru into a moneymaking messiah.” — Michelle Hart and Hamilton Cain, O, The Oprah Magazine, 14 Jan. 2019

Did you know?

If you have a burning desire to know the origins of caustic, you’re already well on the way to figuring it out. Caustic was borrowed into English in the 14th century from the Latin causticus, which itself derives from the Greek kaustikos. Kaustikos, in turn, comes from the Greek verb kaiein, meaning “to burn.” Other kaiein descendants in English include cautery and cauterize, causalgia (a burning pain caused by nerve damage), and encaustic (a kind of paint that is heated after it’s applied).


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