Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for January 26, 2020 is:

sublimate • SUB-luh-mayt  • verb

1 : to pass or cause to pass directly from the solid to the vapor state

2 : to divert the expression of (an instinctual desire or impulse) from its unacceptable form to one that is considered more socially or culturally acceptable


“These ice crystals are temporary from day to day. They develop at night when the air is at its coldest but melt or sublimate away during the day in warmer air or sunlight.” — Robert Dryja, The Los Alamos (New Mexico) Daily Post, 29 Nov. 2019

“She stalks. She hacks. She grimace-smiles…. She polishes silver with barely-contained fury…. She rides horseback in a manner that announces a ferocious, yet sublimated, desire.” — Dave White, The Wrap, 20 Apr. 2017

Did you know?

To sublimate is to change the form, but not the essence. Physically speaking, it means to transform solid to vapor; psychologically, it means changing the outlet, or means, of expression from something base and inappropriate to something more positive or acceptable. The word sublimate comes from the Latin verb sublimare, which means “to lift up” or “to raise” and which is also the ancestor of our sublime. Sublimate itself once meant “to elevate to a place of dignity or honor” or “to give a more elevated character to,” but these meanings are now obsolete.

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