Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for March 23, 2020 is:

welkin • WEL-kin  • noun

1 a : the vault of the sky : firmament

b : the celestial abode of God or the gods : heaven

2 : the upper atmosphere


“If you stand in the trees you might see … owls, vibrant red cardinals and goldfinches lift into the welkin.” — Emily Clark, The Carver Reporter (Plymouth, Massachusetts), 25 June 2018

“The night was dim, but not dark; no moon shone, but the stars, wan though frequent, gleamed pale, as from the farthest deeps of the heaven; clouds grey and fleecy rolled slowly across the welkin, veiling and disclosing, by turns, the melancholy orbs.” — Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Harold, the Last of the Saxon Kings, 1848

Did you know?

When it comes to welkin, the sky’s the limit. This heavenly word has been used in English to refer to the vault of the sky for centuries, and it derives from an Old English word meaning “cloud.” In current English, welkin is still flying high, and it is often teamed with the verb ring to suggest a loud noise or an exuberant expression of emotion, as in “the welkin rang with the sound of the orchestra” or “her hearty laugh made the welkin ring.” These contemporary phrases echo an older use—the original words of a carol that once began “Hark, how all the welkin ring,” which we now know as “Hark! The herald angels sing.”

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