Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for May 30, 2020 is:

gamut • GAM-ut  • noun

1 : the whole series of recognized musical notes

2 : an entire range or series


“Possibly the most interesting man-made structural material is reinforced concrete…. It is economical, available almost everywhere, fire-resistant, and can be designed to be light-weight to reduce the dead load or to have a whole gamut of strengths to satisfy structural needs.” — Mario Salvadori, Why Buildings Stand Up, 1990

“[Beverly] Long, whose previous novels run a limited gamut from romance to paranormal romance to romantic suspense, scores well in her transition to hard-boiled thriller.” — Jay Strafford, The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, Virginia), 21 Mar. 2020

Did you know?

To get the lowdown on gamut, we have to dive to the bottom of a musical scale to which the 11th-century musician and monk Guido of Arezzo applied his particular system of solmization—that is, of using syllables to denote the tones of a musical scale. Guido called the first line of his bass staff gamma and the first note in his scale ut, which meant that gamma ut was the term for a note written on the first staff line. In time, gamma ut underwent a shortening to gamut but climbed the scale of meaning. It expanded to cover all the notes of Guido’s scale, then to cover all the notes in the range of an instrument, and, eventually, to cover an entire range of any sort.

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