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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Community Comment

A Word A Day — meritorius

Good morning, Netizens...

March 06, 2013

Word of the Day

  • meritorious
  • audio pronunciation
  • \mair-uh-TOR-ee-us\


: worthy of reward, gratitude, honor, or esteem

Mrs. Goodman received the town's Meritorious Service Award for her untiring efforts to keep the library open.

"In February 2011, President Barack Obama bestowed upon [Stan] Musial the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States, which recognizes individuals who have made 'an especially meritorious contribution to the security of national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.'" — From an article by John Jeansonne in Newsday (New York), January 20, 2013


People who demonstrate meritorious behavior certainly "earn" our respect, and you can use that fact to remember that "meritorious" ultimately traces to the Latin verb "merēre," which means "to earn." Nowadays, the rewards earned for meritorious acts are likely to be of an immaterial nature: gratitude, admiration, praise, etc. But that wasn't always so. The history of "meritorious" recalls a reward more concrete in nature: money. The Latin word "meritorius," an ancestor of the English "meritorious," literally means "bringing in money."

From Merriam-Webster Online at



Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.