Word Of The Day 6-29-2017


in·ter·dig·i·tate \ˌin-tər-ˈdi-jə-ˌtāt\
Popularity: Top 40% of words




to become interlocked like the fingers of folded hands


Linguistic history is so much harder for two primary reasons. First, branches can reconnect, interweave, interdigitate, borrow from and filter through one another.

Stephen Jay Gould, “Talk Gets Around,” New York Times, December 11, 1988

there are times when their feelings become too much for them. Then, if the occasion is too formal for unrestrained shrieks, they silently interdigitate.

Ian Hay, The Right Stuff, 1910

Did You Know?

“Interdigitate” usually suggests an interlocking of things with finger-like projections, such as muscle fibers or the teeth of an old-fashioned bear trap. The word can also be used figuratively to imply a smooth interweaving of disparate things, such as the blending of two cultures within a shared region.


Interdigitate is a derivative of the Latin noun digitus, most commonly meaning is “finger” and secondarily “toe” and finally, as a measure of length, “the breadth of a finger, inch.” The Latin noun derives from the Proto-Indo-Europeanroot (and its variants) deik-, doik-, dik- (also deig-, doig-, dig-) “to point, point out, show.” One of the Germanic derivatives of doik- is taih(wō), which in Old English develops into tahe and then , whence Modern English “toe,” except that human beings cannot interdigitate with their toes. Interdigitate entered English in the 19th century.




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