Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for January 18, 2019 is:
teetotaler • \TEE-TOH-tuh-ler\ • noun
: one who practices or advocates teetotalism : one who abstains completely from alcoholic drinks
“… he is one of those fit older people who have redefined what 74 can look like. It probably helps that he is a teetotaler, a choice he made as a young man, having been disturbed by the effect that alcohol had on members of his family.” — David Kamp, Vanity Fair, December 2017
“The names Rockefeller and Diego Rivera are forever intertwined thanks to the Mexican artist’s infamous mural at Rockefeller Center, which the family commissioned in 1932 and had demolished two years later—due in part to its depiction of the teetotaler John D. Rockefeller Jr. sipping a martini.” — Adam Rathe, Town & Country, May 2018
Did you know?
A person who abstains from alcohol might choose tea as his or her alternative beverage, but the word teetotaler has nothing to do with tea. More likely, the “tee” that begins the word teetotal is a reduplication of the letter “t” that begins total, emphasizing that one has pledged total abstinence. In the early 1800s, tee-total and tee-totally were used to intensify total and totally, much the way we now might say, “I’m tired with a capital T.” “I am now … wholly, solely, and teetotally absorbed in Wayne’s business,” wrote the folklorist Parson Weems in an 1807 letter. Teetotal and teetotaler first appeared with their current meanings in 1834, eight years after the formation of the American Temperance Society.
January 18, 2019 at 01:00PM