Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for September 13, 2020 is:

verbiage • VER-bee-ij  • noun

1 : a profusion of words usually of little or obscure content

2 : manner of expressing oneself in words : diction


“One resident … said during a virtual focus group that a lot of his community was concerned reading the changes of verbiage from ‘flood control task force’ to ‘infrastructure resilience.'” — Paul Wedding, The Houston Chronicle, 31 Jul. 2020

“It was always G-rated trash talk—he is a devout Catholic, after all, and the strongest epithet he ever seemed to let loose was ‘Shoot’…. And his verbiage was often misunderstood. To opposing fans he was a mouthy loose cannon. To those who knew and understood him, it was just his joy and exuberance spilling over.” — Jim Alexander, The Daily News of Los Angeles, 10 Feb. 2020

Did you know?

Verbiage descends from French verbier, meaning “to trill” or “to warble.” The usual sense of the word implies an overabundance of possibly unnecessary words, much like the word wordiness. In other words, a writer with a fondness for verbiage might be accused of “wordiness.” Some people think the phrase “excess verbiage” is redundant, but that’s not necessarily true. Verbiage has a second sense meaning, simply, “wording,” with no suggestion of excess. This second definition has sometimes been treated as an error by people who insist that verbiage must always imply excessiveness, but that sense is well-established and can be considered standard.


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