Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 21, 2020 is:

exhort • ig-ZORT  • verb

1 : to incite by argument or advice : urge strongly

2 : to give warnings or advice : make urgent appeals


“You’d think it was easy, making a little cube with dots, but it’s hard to make a die that isn’t biased. The foreman would walk up and down exhorting us: ‘The fate of honest men and women lies in your hands. A single crooked die can ruin a man for life.'” — Margot Livesey, Banishing Verona, 2004

“Teen-age activist Greta Thunberg told world political and business leaders in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday that their inaction on the climate crisis was ‘fueling the flames by the hour.’ The 17-year-old exhorted the World Economic Forum audience to ‘act as if you loved your children above all else.'” — Vicky McKeever,, 23 Jan. 2020

Did you know?

Exhort is a 15th-century coinage. It derives from the Latin verb hortari, meaning “to incite,” and it often implies the ardent urging or admonishing of an orator or preacher. English speakers apparently took to the root hort, fiddling around with different prefixes to create other words similar in meaning to exhort. They came up with adhort (meaning the same as exhort) and dehort (a word similar to exhort and adhort but with a more specific meaning of “to dissuade”). Adhort all but vanished after the 17th century. Dehort had a slightly better run than adhort, but it is now considered archaic.

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