WOW Word-Of-the-Week #278: Admonish

November 22, 2009 by  

Admonish – to express warning or disapproval in a gentle, earnest or solicitous manner.

Did you know that Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year for 2009 was admonish? Do you know why?

Being Admonished

Being Admonished

Words that result in a prolonged spike of look-ups on the free online Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary determine what the Word of the Year is. And this year it turns out that the most looked up words were associated with news events or coverage.

An Associated Press article by Bob Salsberg states, “When the U.S House admonished Rep. Joe Wilson for shouting, ‘You lie!’ at President Barack Obama during a health care speech to Congress, it not only lit up talk-show lines but also sent many people scurrying to the Internet in search of a definition.”

“Admonish shot to the top in part because it was used at several stages of the story – originally to describe the reaction to Wilson’s outburst, then to the editorial reaction, and finally to the official House resolution admonishing the South Carolina Republican.”

Were you one of the people who went on line to find the definition? Is admonish a word you have used?

This week focus on the word admonish. Do you tend to scold your children or staff?  Rather than scolding you might consider admonishing them. How would it feel to give constructive feedback in a kind, gentle manner?

Reader Responses

“I found your commentary on the word “admonish” very amusing.  Actually, the image of the masses scurrying to amid the fallout of the “You lie!” incident is downright comical.  Although I was already familiar with the word, I’m now going to make a point of stepping up my usage of it during my “If-You-Can’t-Say-Something-Nice…” presentations.  After all, the constructive-confrontation focus of that presentation is all about ADMONISHING others is a positive way!  🙂 Have a fun Thanksgiving!” – Sarita

“I generally admonish my older daughter, Erin Grace, who is eight years old. My wife has to remind me occasionally not to raise my voice with Erin because she is sensitive. So, I try to keep my voice lowered enough so that she understands what she can and cannot do. I do not hesitate to use the word NO. I feel there are times in her life that she can’t get everything that she wants, and sometimes she has to be told NO. I can be firm, but not overbearing. And she understands why I say NO. Erin is a smart girl and knows right from wrong. So, we generally don’t have to admonish her that often. The example you brought up with the South Carolina Congressman was something. I don’t know what it is with South Carolina republicans, but they all seem to be putting their feet in their mouths recently. It is embarrassing. What was troubling was that the Congressman did not apologize to his colleagues in the House of Representatives for his unbecoming conduct. Not only was it against House rules, but as a retired member of the military, his actions merited a court martial. An apology should have gone along with the admonishment. Great word, Susan. Because it is so relevant. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. I have a lot for which to be grateful this week. Take care.” – “Warrior” Joe Moran.


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