Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for July 17, 2020 is:

mien • MEEN  • noun

1 : air or bearing especially as expressive of attitude or personality : demeanor

2 : appearance, aspect


The minister projected a stern and serious mien from the pulpit, but we found him to be friendly and welcoming when we spoke with him in the social hall after the service.

“The band’s synthetic sounds, automated rhythms and severe haircuts were a pointed contrast with the prevailing … rock music of the time, just as the group’s rigorously Teutonic mien was a reaction to the hegemony of American culture in postwar Germany. Kraftwerk wanted to create its own culture.” — Michael Azerrad, The New York Times, 8 May 2020

Did you know?

Like its synonyms bearing and demeanor, mien means the outward manifestation of personality or attitude. Bearing is the most general, but it often implies characteristic posture, as in “a woman of regal bearing.” Demeanor suggests attitude expressed through outward behavior in the presence of others—for example, “the manager’s professional demeanor.” Mien is a somewhat literary term referring to both bearing and demeanor. “A mien of supreme self-satisfaction” is a typical use. Mien and demeanor are also linked through etymology. Mien arose through the shortening and alteration of the verb demean, which comes from the Anglo-French demener (“to conduct”), a combination of the de- prefix with mener (“to lead”) that is also the root of demeanor. In this case, demean means “to conduct or behave (oneself) usually in a proper manner,” not “to degrade.” That other demean is a distinct word with a different etymology.

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