Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for July 31, 2020 is:

rife • RYFE  • adjective

1 : prevalent especially to an increasing degree

2 : abundant, common

3 : copiously supplied : abounding


“Like most colleges and universities, ad schools have found themselves going virtual … because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. However, students soon graduating from these programs are facing a job market rife with layoffs, hiring freezes and canceled internships….” — Doug Zanger, Adweek, 8 June 2020

“Red-tailed hawks and some other raptors have learned that our highways are rife with rodents, so they perch on light poles, nearby trees or signs and wait to spot a meal.” — Val Cunningham, The Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota), 9 June 2020

Did you know?

English is rife with words that have Germanic connections, many of which have been handed down to us from Old English. Rife is one of those words. Not a whole lot has changed with rife in its long history. We continue to use the word for negative things, especially those that are widespread or prevalent. Examples are “shoplifting was rife” or “the city was rife with greed and corruption.” Rumors and speculation are also frequently described as “rife.” But rife can also be appropriately used for good or neutral things. For example, you might speak of the summer garden being “rife” with scents.

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