Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for July 5, 2020 is:

deracinate • dee-RASS-uh-nayt  • verb

1 : uproot

2 : to remove or separate from a native environment or culture; especially : to remove the racial or ethnic characteristics or influences from


The old-fashioned gardening book recommended deracinating every other plant in the row to allow the survivors room to grow.

“In many ways, the couple’s self-removal befits the deracinated monarchy. Once upon a time, English monarchs were sovereign, supreme. The occasion of democratizing reforms such as the Magna Carta beginning in the late Middle Ages brought the English monarchy down, down, like glistering Phaethon, into ‘the base court.'” — Grant Addison, The Examiner (Washington, DC), 9 Jan. 2020

Did you know?

There is a hint about the roots of deracinate in its first definition. Deracinate was borrowed into English in the late 16th century from Middle French and can be traced back to the Latin word radix, meaning “root.” Although deracinate began life referring to literal plant roots, it quickly took on a second, metaphorical, meaning suggesting removal of anyone or anything from native roots or culture. Other offspring of radix include eradicate (“to pull up by the roots” or “to do away with as completely as if by pulling up by the roots”) and radish (the name for a crisp, edible root). Though the second sense of deracinate mentions racial characteristics and influence, the words racial and race derive from razza, an Italian word of uncertain origin.

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