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Jun 27, 2018
This week’s theme
Words from politics

This week’s words
malfeasance
nepotism
emolument
collusion
impeach

emolument
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

emolument

PRONUNCIATION:
(i-MOL-yuh-muhnt)

MEANING:
noun: Payment, salary, or fees from an office or employment.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin emolumentum (profit, advantage), from ex- (out) + molere (to grind). Earliest documented use: 1480.

NOTES:
Earlier an emolument was a miller’s fee for grinding corn. Today, emolument is what you get for the daily grind. What have emoluments got to do with politics today? See this article from Time about the president’s violation of the foreign emoluments clause of the US Constitution.

USAGE:
“Tom paused, said with slight embarrassment, ‘There wouldn’t be any -- er, emolument, I’m afraid. We have to tighten our belts in these hard times.’”
Ruth Rendell; The Vault; Scribner; 2011.

See more usage examples of emolument in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
It may be observed that the English language is not a system of logic, that its vocabulary has not developed in correlation with generations of straight thinkers, that we cannot impose upon it something preconceived as an ideal of scientific method and expect to come out with anything more systematic and more clarifying than what we start with: what we start with is an inchoate heterogeneous conglomerate that retains the indestructible bones of innumerable tries at orderly communication, and our definitions as a body are bound to reflect this situation. -Philip Babcock Gove, lexicographer (27 Jun 1902-1972)

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