Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for November 30, 2019 is:

incognito • in-kahg-NEE-toh  • adjective or adverb

: with one’s identity concealed


“I do walk around the [Las Vegas] Strip. I walk with my head down and a baseball cap on and—so far—no one has noticed. I’ve been incognito.” — Paula Abdul, quoted in The Las Vegas Review-Journal, 17 Nov. 2019

“[Constance] Messmer remembers the night that the cast of ‘Beverly Hills 90210’ came to eat, and there were kids trying to peer in through the windows. Or the time that Sharon Stone arrived incognito, hiding underneath a big floppy hat.” — Geoff Currier, The Martha’s Vineyard Times, 17 Oct. 2019

Did you know?

The ancient Greeks and Romans knew that there were times when you didn’t want to be recognized. For example, a myth tells how Zeus and Hermes visited a village incognito and asked for lodging. The apparently penniless travelers were turned away from every household except that of a poor elderly couple named Baucis and Philemon, who provided a room and a feast despite their own poverty. The Romans had a word that described someone or something unknown (like the gods in the tale): incognitus, a term that is the ancestor of our modern incognito. Cognitius is the past participle of the Latin verb cognoscere, which means “to know” and which also gives us recognize, among other words.

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