• millennium •
mê-len-ni-êm • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun
Meaning: 1. A span of 1000 years. 2. A thousandth anniversary. 3. (Christianity) The 1000 years Christ will reign on Earth as predicted by the book of Revelation (20:1-5).
Notes: Today's Good Word is one of the most often misspelled words in English: most of us can't believe that both the L and the N are doubled—but they are. Although it isn't a thousand years old, we chose this word today because it is the thousandth since we began running the series in 2004. The adjective for today's word is millennial. Don't forget the preferable plural of this word is millennia.
In Play: Remember the "millennium bug"? The universal computer crash predicted because computer calendars were set to calculate only through 1999? It never showed up. If you are reading this, though, alphaDictionary's "millennial" Good Word has shown up and we are very proud of it. We hope to write a thousand more over the course of this new millennium. Keep the suggestions coming in.
Word History: Today's Good Word begins with Latin mille "thousand" and ends on a variant of Latin ann-us "year" plus the noun ending, -ium. No one knows where mille came from. In Greek "thousand" is khilioi, which English borrowed as kilo-, as in kilobyte. Annus (as in per annum) is yet another mystery. It apparently came from the past participle, at-no-, of Proto-Indo-European word at- "go, pass", as in "time passed (past)". However, we find no trace of it outside Latin. (In celebrating this milestone back in 2007 we had to thank Andrew Shaffer, who created the computer works behind our feature, and Paul Ogden, Mary Jane Stoneburg, and Luciano Eduardo de Oliveira for their excellent editing. I make all the errors, of course, so credit any of those you see to me. We have well over 2000 Good Words now and should reach 2500 by the summer of 2015. All those mentioned above are still with us and I am doubly grateful for that kind of devotion.)
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