Printable Version
Pronunciation: kwo-ti-di-yên Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Daily, every day. 2. Ordinary, everyday, commonplace, pedestrian, trivial, usual.

Notes: There are no tricks in spelling or pronouncing this word; just remember the ending is -an and not -en. To avoid this confusion altogether, you may use -al; quotidial is less frequently used but means the same thing. You may freely add -ly to either of these adjectives to make them adverbs: "It doesn't help Randolph to ask the boss quotidianly (quotidially) for a raise."

In Play: Anything done on a daily basis is quotidian: "Agnes's quotidian chores around the house included getting her husband out of bed each morning." Anything you see every day, that is ordinary and not unusual, is also quotidian: "Les Rich can't afford a Rolex, so he wears a quotidian timepiece he paid $19.95 for."

Word History: Today's Good Word comes to us (via Old French) from the Latin adjective quotidianus, from quotidie "every day", a word based on a phrase quot "how many, as many" + dies "day". If quot is remindful of other Latin interrogative pronouns, like quo "where", qui "what", quis "who", that is because they all come from the same Proto-Indo-European root: kw-, preserved in Latin but modified in Slavic and Germanic languages. The Slavic languages lost the [w], resulting in Russian kto 'who', kuda 'where to', kogda 'when', once all the Russian endings were added. In English the [k] became [h], giving us what, when, and where which (another one)—even if they are written WH, all are pronounced [hw] in most dialects of English.

Dr. Goodword,

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