July 31, 2012
stalwart (adjective)
\STAWL-wert\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: marked by outstanding strength and vigor of mind, body, or spirit
How do you use it?
"Running the marathon took all of my strength and determination," Meghan told her friends, "and I couldn't have done it without you, my stalwart supporters."
Are you a word wiz?

Let's see how well you understand what "stalwart" means. Which of the following sentences do you think uses the word correctly?

"Stalwart" makes sense in sentence B, and it has some synonyms that could also do the job quite well. The simplest of these is "strong," which often implies the power of muscles, as in "strong arms"—or, to use a phrase from our example sentence, "strong workers." "Stout" is another synonym, and since "stout" suggests an ability to endure stress or pain, talking about "stout workers" would be perfectly reasonable. "Sturdy" is another synonym of "stalwart," and although it's more often used to describe objects that are strong (as in "a sturdy table"), the phrase "sturdy workers" is not a misuse. "Stalwart" is unique, though, in suggesting an unshakeable dependability—so we'll take "stalwart workers" over the others any day.
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