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A Word A Day — viand

October 09, 2012

Word of the Day

  • viand
  • audio pronunciation
  • \VYE-und\


: an item of food; especially : a choice or tasty dish
: provisions, food

“The family sat down to table, and a frugal meal of cold viands was deposited before them.” — From Thomas Hardy’s novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles, 1891

“While living in the South's grand old Charleston, S.C., my Yankee roots still were evident but my appetite craved those rich and satisfying calorie-laden viands.” — From an article by Doris Reynolds in Naples Daily News (Florida), February 16, 2011


Are you someone who eats to live, or someone who lives to eat? Either way, you'll find that the etymology of “viand” reflects the close link between food and life. “Viand” entered English in the 15th century from Anglo-French (“viande” means “meat” even in modern French), and it derives ultimately from Latin “vivere,” meaning “to live.” “Vivere” is the ancestor of a number of other lively and life-giving words in English, including “victual,” “revive,” “survive,” “convivial,” and “vivacious.”

From Merriam-Webster Online at

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