Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for February 13, 2021 is:

limn • LIM  • verb

1 : to draw or paint on a surface

2 : to outline in clear sharp detail : delineate

3 : describe


“The book limns how the two men, so different in their origins and art, were remarkably similar in profound ways.” — Nancy Hass, The New York Times, 17 Dec. 2020

“Her turbulent relationship with her husband, superstar poet Ted Hughes, is limned in terms of the relationship between Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw, as they saw themselves. Together they wanted to be the most important poets of their generation.” — Denise J. Stankovics, The Library Journal, 11 Dec. 2020

Did you know?

Allow us to shed some light on the history of limn, a word with lustrous origins. Limn traces to the Anglo-French verb aluminer and ultimately to the Latin illuminare, which means “to illuminate.” Its use as an English verb dates from the days of Middle English; at first, limn referred to the action of illuminating (that is, decorating) medieval manuscripts with gold, silver, or brilliant colors. William Shakespeare extended the term to painting in his poem Venus and Adonis: “Look when a painter would surpass the life / In limning out a well-proportioned steed….”

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