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Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for May 2, 2020 is:

gratuitous • gruh-TOO-uh-tuss  • adjective

1 : not called for by the circumstances : not necessary, appropriate, or justified : unwarranted

2 a : given unearned or without recompense

b : costing nothing : free

c law : not involving a return benefit, compensation, or consideration


“The language of lawyers often disparagingly referred to as legalese is abstruse, verbose, rife with gratuitous Latin phrases, and designed to create a linguistic barrier between lawyers and non-lawyers.” — Mark A. Cohen, Forbes, 3 Mar. 2020

“The responses are varied but reflect two main themes that have infiltrated design thinking globally: The first is how to create products that are meaningful and enduring as opposed to gratuitous and disposable; the second focuses on process over product….” — Stephen Todd, The Australian Financial Review, 7 Mar. 2020

Did you know?

Like gratitude, grace, and congratulate, gratuitous is a descendant of the Latin word gratus, which means “pleasing” or “grateful.” When gratuitous was first used in the 17th century, it meant “free” or “given without return benefit or compensation.” The extended meaning “done without good reason” or “unwarranted” came about just a few decades later, perhaps from the belief held by some people that one should not give something without getting something in return. Today, that extended meaning is the more common sense, employed, for example, when graphic cruelty depicted in a work of fiction is described as “gratuitous violence,” or when unkind words better left unsaid are described as “a gratuitous insult.”

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Ken Saunders

Freelancer, Gadget collector, Biohacker

Ken Saunders is a freelance writer, gadget collector and Biohacker. Kens’ professional background is in Information Technology as well as Health and Wellness. His experience has given him a broad base from which to approach many topics. He especially enjoys researching and writing articles on the topics of Technology, Food, and all things Freelancing. His articles have appeared in many online sites, including, Andrew Christian, and can learn more about his services at

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