Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 18, 2019 is:
hiatus • hye-AY-tus • noun
1 a : a break in or as if in a material object : gap
b biology : a gap or passage in an anatomical part or organ
2 a : an interruption in time or continuity : break; especially : a period when something (as a program or activity) is suspended or interrupted
b : the occurrence of two vowel sounds without pause or intervening consonantal sound
“The bus service will run from Dec. 3 to Dec. 21 before going on hiatus for the holidays. Regular service will resume on Jan. 7.” — Alison Brownlee, The Huntsville Forester, November 27, 2012
“It’s a new era for pop/rockstar Adam Lambert. After a four-year hiatus from his solo career, during which he became the new frontman for Queen, the singer returned earlier this year with two new singles and the announcement of his upcoming fourth studio album Velvet.” — Stephen Daw, Billboard.com, 19 June 2019
Did you know?
Hiatus comes from hiare, a Latin verb meaning “to gape” or “to yawn,” and first appeared in English in the middle of the 16th century. Originally, the word referred to a gap or opening in something, such as a cave opening in a cliff. In the 18th century, British novelist Laurence Sterne used the word humorously in his novel Tristram Shandy, writing of “the hiatus in Phutatorius’s breeches.” These days, hiatus is usually used in a temporal sense to refer to a pause or interruption (as in a song), or a period during which an activity is temporarily suspended (such as a hiatus from teaching).