Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for May 5, 2020 is:

lorn • LORN  • adjective

: left alone and forlorn : desolate, forsaken


“So the day passes, and it is evening. Rough and I have been to see a grave. It is a lorn place, and the wind has grown shrill, and we come home feeling rather desolate.” — Rosa Mulholland, “Bracken Hollow” in Irish Monthly, February 1890

“Romantic poets had a particular fondness for the lone, lorn shore—while a string of impressionist painters expounded the moral usefulness of the beach….” — DJ Taylor, The Mail on Sunday (London), 19 July 1998

Did you know?

Lorn and forlorn are synonyms that mean “desolate” or “forsaken.” The similarity in form and meaning of the two words is hardly a coincidence. Lorn comes down to us from loren, the Middle English past participle of the verb lesen (“to lose”), itself a descendant of the Old English lēosan. Similarly, forlorn comes from the Middle English forloren, a descendant of the Old English verb forlēosan, which also means “to lose.” The for- in forlorn is an archaic prefix meaning, among other things, “completely,” “excessively,” or “to exhaustion.” Nowadays, forlorn is considerably more common than lorn. Lorn does, however, appear as the second element in the compound lovelorn (“bereft of love or of a lover”).

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