Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for December 1, 2019 is:

pointillistic • poyn-tuh-LISS-tik  • adjective

1 : composed of many discrete details or parts

2 : of, relating to, or characteristic of pointillism or pointillists


“[Herman] Wouk is often grouped with middlebrow writers of popular historical fiction … but his novels are better understood as pointillistic character studies in historical settings.” — Adelle Waldman, The New York Times, 17 May 2019

“For her first album in eight years, the English singer, songwriter, and author paired her rich alto with pointillistic lyrics about 21st-century life, keeping its emotions aloft with club-ready beats….” — Maura Johnston, The Boston Globe, 20 Dec. 2018

Did you know?

In the late 19th century, Neo-Impressionists discovered that contrasting dots of color applied side by side would blend together and be perceived as a luminous whole when seen from a distance. With this knowledge, they developed the technique of pointillism, also known as divisionism. By the 1920s, the adjective pointillistic was being used as a word describing something having many details or parts, such as an argument or musical composition; it was then applied to the art of pointillism and its artists, the pointillists.

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