Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for May 7, 2020 is:

truckle • TRUK-ul  • verb

: to act in a subservient manner : submit


Walt Whitman became a pop star for reminding his countrymen of the duty never to truckle: ‘Take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men.'” — Virginia Heffernan, The Los Angeles Times, 3 June 2018

“More, though, than simply truckling to mass taste, [Gore] Vidal is clearly using the pulp format to figure out what he’s good at (sardonic worldliness) and what he’s not (romance). And through it all, he keeps the words flowing.” — Louis Bayard, The New York Times, 12 Apr. 2015

Did you know?

When truckle was first used in English in the 15th century, it meant “small wheel” or “pulley.” Such small wheels were often attached to the underside of low beds to allow them to be easily moved under high beds for storage. These beds came to be known as truckle beds (or trundle beds), and a verb truckle—meaning “to sleep in a truckle bed”—came into being. By the 17th century, the fact that truckle beds were pushed under larger standard beds had inspired a figurative sense of truckle: “to yield to the wishes of another” or “to bend obsequiously.” The initial verb sense became obsolete; the newer sense is fairly rare but is still in use.

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