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Word of the day January 1–20, 2021

Words of the day for this month, selected by Wiktionary contributors.

January 20

Bully pulpit n
  1. (US, chiefly politics) An advantageous position from which to express one's views.

Today in 2021, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be respectively inaugurated as the 46th President and 49th Vice President of the United States.

January 19

Strut v
  1. (intransitive) Of a peacock or other fowl: to stand or walk stiffly, with the tail erect and spread out.
  2. (intransitive, by extension, also figuratively) To walk haughtily or proudly with one's head held high.
  3. (transitive, by extension) To walk across or on (a stage or other place) haughtily or proudly.
  4. (intransitive, obsolete) Often followed by out: to protuberate or stick out due to being full or swollen; to bulge, to swell.
  5. (transitive, obsolete) Often followed by out: to cause (something) to bulge, protrude, or swell.


  1. (transitive, chiefly construction, also figuratively) To brace or support (something) by a strut or struts; to hold (something) in place or strengthen by a diagonal, transverse, or upright support.
  2. (intransitive) To be attached diagonally or at a slant; also, to be bent at a sharp angle.

January 18

Lanyard n
  1. (nautical) A short rope used for fastening rigging, as a handle, etc.
  2. (by extension) A cord worn around the neck, shoulder, or wrist which is attached to a small object to be carried such as an identity card or security pass, key, knife, or whistle.
  3. (by extension, military) A cord with a hook which is secured to an artillery piece, and pulled to fire the weapon.

January 17

Picayune adj (chiefly US, informal)
  1. Of little consequence; small and of little importance; petty, trivial.
  2. Childishly spiteful; tending to go on about unimportant things; small-minded.

picayune n (chiefly US)

  1. (numismatics, especially Louisiana, historical) A small coin of the value of six-and-a-quarter cents; a Spanish coin with a value of half a real; a fippenny bit.
  2. (by extension, archaic) A coin worth five cents (a nickel) or some other low value.
  3. (figuratively, informal) A person regarded as unworthy of respect or useless; also, something of very little value; a trifle.
  4. (figuratively, informal) An argument, fact, or other issue raised (often intentionally) that distracts from a larger issue or fails to make any difference.

January 16

Bogie n
  1. (Northern England) A low, hand-operated truck, generally with four wheels, used for transporting objects or for riding on as a toy; a trolley.
  2. (Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, by extension, rail transport, also attributively) One of two sets of wheels under a locomotive or railcar; also, a structure with axles and wheels under a locomotive, railcar, or semi which provides support and reduces vibration for the vehicle.
  3. (Britain, dated, India, rail transport) A railway carriage.


  1. (chiefly US, slang) A marijuana cigarette; a joint.

January 15

Citation needed phrase
  1. (originally Internet slang, chiefly humorous) Used to designate an assertion or other statement as false, inaccurate, or requiring verification.

Happy birthday, Wikipedia! Today is the 20th anniversary of the website, which was launched in 2001.

January 14

Dioxin n
  1. (countable, organic chemistry) The unsaturated six-membered heterocycle having four carbon atoms, two oxygen atoms, and two double bonds (molecular formula C₄H₄O₂); 1,2-dioxin and 1,4-dioxin.
  2. (countable, organic chemistry) The parent compound dibenzo-1,4-dioxin or dibenzo-p-dioxin (molecular formula C₁₂H₈O₂), in which two benzene rings are connected through two oxygen atoms; dibenzodioxin, oxanthrene.
  3. (countable, organic chemistry) Any of a broad range of toxic or carcinogenic halogenated polycyclic compounds that occur as byproducts of herbicides.
    1. (uncountable, specifically, loosely) The compound 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD; molecular formula C₁₂H₄Cl₄O₂), a persistent organic pollutant of the environment which is generally produced as a byproduct of organic synthesis or when organic materials are burned.

January 13

Clad adj
  1. Of a person: wearing clothing or some other covering (for example, armour) on the body; clothed, dressed; with a descriptive word: wearing clothing of a specified type.
  2. Of an object (often in compounds): covered, enveloped in, or surrounded by a cladding, or a specified material or substance.
  3. (figuratively) Adorned, ornamented.

clad v

  1. (archaic, literary or obsolete, past tense clad) To clothe, to dress.
  2. (past tense clad or cladded) To cover with a cladding or another material (for example, insulation); (figuratively) to envelop, to surround.
  3. (figuratively, past tense clad) To imbue (with a specified quality).

January 12

Accelerant n
  1. (chemistry) Any substance that can bond or mix with, or disturb, another substance and cause an increase in the speed of a natural or artificial chemical process.
    1. A substance that accelerates the development of a fire, especially some petroleum product used to spread a fire caused by arson.
    2. A substance used to catalyze the vulcanization of rubber.
  2. (figuratively) Something that speeds up a process or the uptake of something else.

accelerant adj

  1. Causing acceleration or speeding up; accelerating.

January 11

Befezzed adj
  1. Wearing a fez (a felt hat shaped like a truncated cone with a tassel attached); fezzed.

Today is Takdim watikat al-istiqlal (Independence Manifesto Day) in Morocco, which commemorates the date in 1944 when a document demanding independence for the kingdom was submitted to France, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

January 10

Drive to distraction v
  1. (transitive, hyperbolic) To annoy (someone) so much that they cannot concentrate.

January 9

Fat finger n
  1. (idiomatic, humorous, informal, also attributively) A supposed cause of typographical errors, especially keyboard errors that cause erroneous trades to be executed in financial markets, or typing errors on touchscreen devices.

The first iPhone, a touchscreen-based smartphone, was announced on this day in 2007 by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

January 8

Jot and tittle n
  1. (countable, idiomatic) Often preceded by every: a smallest detail; (uncountable) the smallest details collectively.

January 7

Quarrel v
  1. (intransitive, also figuratively) To argue fiercely, contend, squabble; to cease to be on friendly terms, to fall out.
  2. (intransitive) To find fault; to cavil.
  3. (intransitive, obsolete) Followed by at: to disagree with; to take offence.
  4. (transitive, obsolete except Scotland) To argue or squabble with (someone).

January 6

Magi proper n, plural only
  1. (Christianity) Chiefly preceded by the (three): the wise men who visited and gave gifts to the baby Jesus at the Epiphany (traditionally considered to be three in number and sometimes named Balthazar, Caspar, and Melchior, but the Bible does not state how many there were or their names).
  2. (astronomy, by extension) The three bright stars (Alnitak (ζ Ori), Alnilam (ε Ori), and Mintaka (δ Ori)) that form Orion's Belt in the Orion constellation.

In Western Christianity, today is Epiphany, which commemorates the visit of the Magi to the Christ child.

January 5

Grouse n
  1. (countable) Any of various game birds of the subfamily Tetraoninae which inhabit temperate and subarctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere; specifically, the red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica) native to heather moorland on the British Isles.
  2. (uncountable) The flesh or meat of this bird eaten as food.


  1. A cause for complaint; a grumble.


grouse adj

  1. (Australia, New Zealand, slang) Excellent.

Today is National Bird Day in the USA, which is promoted by the Avian Welfare Coalition to encourage the leaving of birds in the wild and to improve the welfare of birds in captivity.

January 4

Topsy-turvy adv

January 3

Month of Sundays n
  1. (idiomatic, informal) A very long time; a period regarded as too long.

In 2021, this month is the first of four months which have five Sundays.

January 2

Perihelion n
  1. (astronomy) The point in the elliptical orbit of a comet, planet, etc., where it is nearest to the Sun.
  2. (figuratively) The highest point or state; the peak, zenith.

Earth reaches its perihelion on this day in 2021 at 1:51 pm Universal Time.

January 1

New dawn n
  1. (idiomatic) A new beginning; a fresh start; an important, promising turning point.

Happy New Year from all of us at the English Wiktionary!

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