Wednesday, June 23, 2010


macerate • \MASS-uh-rayt\  • verb
1 : to cause to waste away by or as if by excessive fasting
*2 : to cause to become soft or separated into constituent elements by or as if by steeping in fluid; broadly : steep, soak
3 : to soften and wear away especially as a result of being wetted or steeped

Example Sentence:
"Absinthe is made by macerating herbs and spices, including anise and fennel, with the grand wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) that gives the drink its name." (Julia Reed, Newsweek, April 12, 2010)

Did you know?
"Macerate" is derived from the Latin verb "macerare," meaning "to soften" or "to steep." That meaning was borrowed into English in 1563. However, the first English use of "macerate" refers to the wasting away of flesh especially by fasting. That use manifested itself in 1547. A few other manifestations sprouted thereafter from the word's figurative branch (e.g., Laurence Sterne (1713-1768) once wrote of "a city so macerated with expectation"); however, those extensions wilted in time. Today, the "steeping" and "soaking" senses of "macerate" saturate culinary articles (as in "macerating fruit in liquor") as well as other writings (scientific ones, for instance: "the food is macerated in the gizzard" or "the wood is macerated in the solution").  [Source]

Hey Jean, did you see that Macey finally broke her fast?  She looks totally macerated.  Dontcha think?

Now your turn.  Try out your new vocab in a sentence in the comments section!

What is this?  Our Terms is a weekly vocab lesson that we post every Wednesday.  Come back next Wednesday for a new word to try out for the week!  

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