Printable Version
Pronunciation: mæ-nê-fes-to Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: A proclamation or declaration in which the purpose of an organization or movement is made manifest, clear, obvious.

Notes: Some people prefer to add an E to the plural suffix -s; others leave it out. So, we have two possible plurals, manifestoes and manifestos. It may be used as a verb meaning "to issue a manifesto; otherwise, it remains orphaned.

In Play: Serious social movements must have a manifesto: "Derwood brought a rough draft of a manifesto for the movement which laid out a path for world domination by 2050." We have several familiar manifestos: "The Communist Manifesto provides ten points that underlie Marx's vision of socialism."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes from Italian manifesto, which goes back to the same source as the adjective manifest: Latin manifestus "clear, evident, palpable". This word comprises man(us) "hand" + festus "festive, holiday, solemn". Manus was inherited from PIE man-/mar- "hand", the remnants of which may be seen in Greek mare "hand", Latin manipulus "handful, bundle", and Albanian marr "to catch, hold". The Latin word was preserved in most Romance languages, like French main, Italian and Spanish mano, Portuguese mão, and Romanian mână. The origin of festus and its semantic fit in manifesto remain a mystery. (Now for a grateful nod to our old friend and Wordmaster from Philadelphia, Jackie Strauss, for submitting today's politic Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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