Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for July 12, 2020 is:
frisson • free-SAWN • noun
“There’s that frisson of excitement when we get the text or the ring notifying us when dinner has arrived at our doorstep.” — Tom Sietsema, The Washington Post, 10 Apr. 2020
“Will the Oscars be forced to make peace with Netflix and its ilk? Is moviegoing fated to become a quaint, niche pursuit, or one that involves a grave risk? I don’t think I’m the only cinephile experiencing a frisson of dread.” — A. O. Scott, The New York Times, 22 May 2020
Did you know?
“I feel a shiver that’s not from the cold as the band and the crowd go charging through the final notes…. That frisson, that exultant moment….” That’s how writer Robert W. Stock characterized the culmination of a big piece at a concert in 1982. His use of the word shiver is apt given that frisson comes from the French word for “shiver.” Frisson traces to Old French friçon, which in turn derives from frictio, Latin for “friction.” What does friction—normally a heat generator—have to do with thrills and chills? Nothing, actually. The association came about because frictio (which derives from Latin fricare, meaning “to rub”) was once mistakenly taken to be a derivative of frigēre, which means “to be cold.”