Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for January 24, 2021 is:

insouciance • in-SOO-see-unss  • noun

: lighthearted unconcern : nonchalance


“Perhaps coming home hadn’t been such a great idea after all. Instead of her mother’s insouciance rubbing off on Liv, she’d just sunk further into the mires of misery as she realised that the weight of the world was resting squarely on her shoulders.” — Clare Naylor, Dog Handling, 2002

“… the idea of French style as we understand it today hasn’t been built on craftsmanship. Rather, it’s been built on a philosophy: one that proclaims the character, insouciance and authenticity of its wearer. A prime example of it in action? On the big screen, in Jean-Luc Godard’s New Wave films.” — Faye Fearon, InsideHook, 4 Dec. 2020

Did you know?

Don’t worry; be insouciant. Perhaps your mind will rest easier if we explain that English speakers learned insouciance (as well as the adjective insouciant) from the French around the early 1800s. The French word comes from a combination of the negative prefix in- and soucier, meaning “to trouble or disturb.” Soucier, in turn, traces to sollicitus, the Latin word for “anxious.” If it seems to you that sollicitus looks a lot like some other English words you’ve seen, you’re on to something. That root also gave us solicit (which now means “to entreat” but which was once used to mean “to fill with concern or anxiety”), solicitude (meaning “uneasiness of mind”), and solicitous (“showing or expressing concern”).

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