Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for December 31, 2020 is:

contestation • kahn-tess-TAY-shun  • noun

: controversy, debate


The book examines how political contestation has changed in recent decades.

“But the First World War took a heavy toll on Britain…. The war also gave rise to contestations of British rule in countries such as India and Iraq.” — Louis A. Delvoie, The Owen Sound (Ontario, Canada) Sun Times, 11 Dec. 2020

Did you know?

The Latin phrase lītem contestārī can be translated as “to join issue in a legal suit,” which in layperson’s terms means to reach the point in a lawsuit when it’s clear to the parties involved what the exact nature of the dispute is. Lītem contestārī is the probable ultimate source of both contestation and contest, the latter having first come to English as a verb meaning “to make the subject of dispute, contention, or battle.” But while contest has gone on to have a life at home in another part of speech and in contexts ranging from sports to art, contestation continues to dwell mainly in serious speech and writing about adversarial dynamics between groups of people.

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