Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for March 11, 2021 is:

tutelary • TOO-tuh-lair-ee  • adjective

1 : having the guardianship of a person or a thing

2 : of or relating to a guardian


The ancient Romans revered certain gods and goddesses as tutelary deities.

“There are comedy bits, fabulous costumes (by Toni-Leslie James) and musical interludes, some involving Marilyn Monroe (Sawyer Smith) as a tutelary spirit.” — Jesse Green, The New York Times, 4 Jun. 2019

Did you know?

Tutelary derives from the Latin noun tutelarius, meaning “guardian.” Tutelarius, in turn, was formed by combining the word tutela (“protection” or “guardian”) and -arius, a suffix that implies belonging and connection. A more familiar descendant of tutela in English might be tutelage, which initially referred to guardianship or protection, but came to be used to refer to teaching or influence. If you suspect that tutor is also related, you are correct. Tutelary can also be a noun referring to a power (such as a deity) who acts as a guardian.

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