Printable Version
Pronunciation: næw-ê-dayz Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adverb

Meaning: At this time, presently, currently, contemporarily.

Notes: Should you ever need an adjective with the same meaning, simply drop the adverbial -s (as in outdoors, upstairs) and you have one, 'the nowaday world'. Otherwise, this word has no lexical family.

In Play: Today's word is a semantically vaguer variant of now: "Some old folks find it hard to keep up with things nowadays." It still is a bit slangy, more at home in humorous claims: "Nowadays you can fill some people up with hot air and bounce them around like balloons."

Word History: To understand today's Good Word, we have to understand that a is a multifunctional function word. It serves as the marker for indefinite nouns ('a dog') and as a preposition meaning "per, each" ('seven days a week'). In the latter sense, the phrase 'a day' was made an adverb by adding -s, adays meaning "nowadays". Later on, now was attached to adays. In Old English now was nu, cousin of Dutch and Swedish nu "now" and German nun "now" and Nu "jiffy, trice". These words descended from PIE nu- "now", source also of Greek nu and nun, Latin nunc, Russian nyne, Lithuanian nūnai, and Welsh nawr—all meaning "now". The PIE word was probably the adverbial form of new-/now- "new".

Dr. Goodword,

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