Word of the Day – Deterge

Welcome to the Word of the Day where people are encouraged to improve their vocabulary by learning these great and fun words!Sometimes, when I learn a new word, I think to myself, “Man! That makes sense.”

It clicks with something else and everything seems to make sense. Well, at least vocabulary wise . . .

That’s what it was like for me when I learned about today’s word.

When I mentally connected it with another one that was already in my vocabulary, it made total sense. And, I knew it would be an easy one to remember.

Today’s word of the day is deterge. It is a verb that means to wash, wipe, or cleanse.

Does another word come immediately to mind?

What about detergent?

Let’s take a moment to look at the origin of both words. Deterge comes from the Latin word detergere that means to wipe away. Let’s break down that word. The first part de means away from. The second part tergere means to wipe. So deterge means to wipe away from. Hence, our current meaning to wash, wipe, or cleanse. From the Latin version all the way to our current English one, this makes sense, doesn’t it?

Yup. I thought so.

So let’s look at detergent. Detergent is the noun version of the verb. It is the substance that you use to wash or cleanse with. (Of course you already know that. I bet you’ve used PLENTY of detergent in your life time. I know I have!)

Doesn’t that all make sense? So, now that you know the verb deterge, the noun detergent makes lots of sense.

This is a word that you can have lots of fun with when you use it with your grandchildren. You can ask them to deterge their hands. Or deterge the kitchen counter after you make cookies together. Or help you deterge your windows or deterge your car.

They might look at you funny when you first use it but once they learn what it means they’ll totally understand it.

Explain the connection between deterge and detergent. This will make it really easy to remember and understand both words.

Then! You could tell them to take the detergent and deterge their clothes. That is if they have dirty clothes at your house.

School has started in my neck of the woods. Has it in yours?

If so, have a wee bit o’ fun with your grandkids. Tell them you are helping them get a jump start on their vocabulary words and in their English class. Share this word with them. They’ll have a fun time learning and using it!