Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for February 10, 2021 is:

caveat • KAV-ee-aht  • noun

1 a : a warning enjoining one from certain acts or practices

b : an explanation to prevent misinterpretation

c : a modifying or cautionary detail to be considered when evaluating, interpreting, or doing something

2 : a legal warning to a judicial officer to suspend a proceeding until the opposition has a hearing


“Hospitality worker and workers’ rights advocate Chloe Ann-King said raising the minimum wage was crucial for the already low-wage industry. While she welcomed the increase, it came with a caveat as business owners would hire fewer staff, putting increased pressure on existing workers.” — Anuja Nadkarni, Stuff (Wellington, New Zealand), 8 Jan. 2021

“The report details the percentage of students who graduate within four years from when they first enroll in ninth grade. Still, there are caveats to the numbers. For one, students who leave the district after their freshman year to be home-schooled or enroll in private schools aren’t included in the calculation.” — Sommer Brugal, The Treasure Coast News (Palm Beach, Florida), 7 Jan. 2021

Did you know?

You may be familiar with the old saying caveat emptor, nowadays loosely translated as “let the buyer beware.” In the 16th century, this adage was imparted as a safeguard for the seller: allow the buyer to examine the item (for example, a horse) before the sale is completed, so the seller can’t be blamed if the item turns out to be unsatisfactory. Caveat in Latin means “let him beware” and comes from the verb cavēre, meaning “to be on guard.” Perhaps you’ve also heard caveat lector: “let the reader beware,” a warning to take what one reads with a grain of salt. English retained caveat itself as a noun for something that serves to warn, explain, or caution. The word caution is another descendant of cavēre.

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