Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for December 6, 2020 is:

mangle • MANG-gul  • verb

1 : to injure with deep disfiguring wounds by cutting, tearing, or crushing

2 : to spoil, injure, or make incoherent especially through ineptitude


“Named for the two geologic periods on either side of the event, the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction happened with remarkable speed. Intense cold, constant darkness, wildfires, tsunamis, unbearable heat in the impact area, and eventual acid rain mangled the planet.” — Michael Greshko, National Geographic, 29 June 2020

“What do we even know about Dua Lipa—or Dula Peep, as many of her fans call her (after Wendy Williams famously mangled the singer’s name on her talk show)?” — Mikael Wood, The Los Angeles Times, 28 Aug. 2020

Did you know?

Besides the “mutilate” verb mangle, English has the noun mangle (“a machine for ironing laundry by passing it between heated rollers”) and its related verb (“to press or smooth with a mangle”). There’s no etymological relationship, however, between that pair and the mangle that means “to mutilate or bungle.” The ironing-related homographs come from Dutch and ultimately from a Latin word that also gave English mangonel, the name for a military engine used to hurl missiles. The injury-related mangle comes from Anglo-French and may be a relation of the words maim and mayhem via Anglo-French mahaigner, “to maim.”

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