What to nominate
An ideal WOTD candidate is a word (or phrase) likely to be encountered in a newspaper or in literature. It should be
exotic enough that it adds to readers' vocabularies, but not so unusual that it cannot be used in everyday conversation.
For example, the word
the wouldn't work because it's too common. It may have an interesting entry, but it is a
staple found in every English speaker's
lexicon. At the other extreme,
antidisestablishmentarianism — a
perennial favorite of WOTD nominators — is simply too unusual. No one is going to use that word in everyday conversation, unless they sit around discussing
church-state separation in 19th-century England. (That this word was in fact featured as a Word of the Day in no way makes it easier to use and is more related to the fact that it was featured before this section was written.)
Before nominating a word, you might want to look through our
index of past Words of the Day and at the word’s page itself to make sure it (or a variation of it) hasn't already been featured.
Also keep in mind that featured words are chosen to reflect a variety of:
- parts of speech — Nouns, verbs and adjectives should appear more or less equally, but we also need good adverbs, idioms, set phrases and the like.
- languages of origin — Many English words derive ultimately from Latin or Greek precursors, but English has borrowed from, and styled itself after, many other languages, so try to mix it up a bit.
- initial letters — Not all interesting words start with J, K, Q or Z.