Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for June 19, 2020 is:
stalwart • STAWL-wert • adjective
: marked by outstanding strength and vigor of body, mind, or spirit
“Hubert and Phan—two defenders—stepped in … and played key roles in a stalwart defensive attack that gave up a mere 17 goals all season.” — Chris Jackson, The Coppell (Texas) Gazette, 11 May 2020
“But female birds make stalwart mothers. After all, theirs is the job of nest making. For example, a female northern cardinal collects nesting material of twigs, leaves, grasses and sundry fibers. The bird chews on twigs with her beak to make them pliable. Her feet then shove the bendable twigs into an open cup shape wedged against a fork of limbs in a bush or tree. Finally, the bird carpets the nest interior with leaves and grasses.” — Gary Clark, The Houston Chronicle, 8 May 2020
Did you know?
Sometime in the 15th century, English speakers began to use stalwart in place of the older form stalworth. Although stalworth is now archaic, it laid the groundwork for today’s meaning of stalwart. During the 12th century, forms of stalworth began to be used to describe strongly built people or animals (a meaning stalwart carries). It also came to be used as an adjective for people who showed bravery or courage (likewise a meaning passed on to stalwart). So, in a way, stalwart has been serviceable in keeping the spirit of stalworth alive. This character of stalwart is true to its roots. Stalworth came from the Old English word stǣlwierthe (meaning “serviceable”), which, in turn, is thought to come from terms meaning “foundation” and “worth.”