March 08, 2013
endowment (noun)
\in-DOW-munt)\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : the providing of a permanent fund for support; also : the fund provided2 : a person's natural ability or talent
How do you use it?
Several parents, community members, and former students gave generously to the private school's endowment, allowing the board of directors to begin planning for a new library.
Are you a word wiz?

What do you think was being funded around the time that English speakers began using the word "endowment"?

Give answer B your support! During the 1400s, when Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand were funding the exploration of the New World, English speakers took the verb "endow," meaning "to provide with money for support or maintenance," and added "-ment" to form the noun "endowment." "Endowment" was first used to refer to the act of endowing, and later to the fund itself. By the 1600s, "endowment" was also being used to mean "a person's natural ability or talent," as in "The entire family was blessed with great intellectual endowment, and each member contributed to the advancement of the sciences and arts."
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