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August 29, 2016

Word of the Day

  • rarefied
  • audio pronunciation
  • \RAIR-uh-fyde\
  • DEFINITION

adjective

: 1 : being less dense

2 : of, relating to, or interesting to a select group : esoteric

3 : very high

  • EXAMPLE

Cartography is one of those rarefied fields at which only a select few can actually earn a living.

"He was known for photographing the most rarefied parties and galas but never partaking of even an hors d'oeuvre or sip of champagne." - Robin Givhan, The Washington Post, 27 June 2016

  • DID YOU KNOW?

Rarefied was formed from the verb rarefy, which derives from a combination of the Latin rarus ("thin" or "rare") with facere ("to make") and has meant "to make thin" since the 14th century. In its original uses back in the 1500s, the adjective rarefied was on the lean side too; it meant "made less dense" (as in "the fog lifted and we could breathe more easily in the rarefied air"). By the 17th century, rarefy had gained the sense "to refine or purify," and over time rarefied followed suit.

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