I’ve been subscribed to Merriam Webster’s word-of-the-day email for a while now, usually it’s words I already know, though kinda interesting to read of their origins and stuff. Recently though, there’s been a run of fairly interesting and novel ones. I especially liked this word, from Saturday:
The Word of the Day for Jul 26 is:
usufruct \YOO-zuh-frukt\ noun
*1 : the legal right of using and enjoying the fruits or profits of something belonging to another
2 : the right to use or enjoy something
When they sold the land, the Arnolds retained the usufruct to pick the apples in the orchards they had planted.
Did you know?
Thomas Jefferson said that “The earth belongs in usufruct to the living.” He apparently understood that when you hold something in usufruct, you gain something of significant value, but only temporarily. The gains granted by “usufruct” can be clearly seen in the Latin phrase from which the word developed, “usus et fructus,” which means “use and enjoyment.” Latin speakers condensed that phrase to “ususfructus,” the term English speakers used as the model for our modern word. “Usufruct” has been used as a noun for rights that seem the legal equivalent of having your cake and eating it too since at least the 1630s. Any right granted by usufruct ends at a specific point, usually the death of the individual who holds it.
*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.
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