January 21, 2022

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Word of the Day: milieu

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: the environmental condition or setting where something develops or takes place

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The word milieu has appeared in 91 articles on NYTimes.com in the past year, including on Oct. 21 in “An East Village Boutique Where the Avant-Garde Gathered” by Guy Trebay:

Knobkerry was, Ms. Kitto explained, a brick-and-mortar fixture of the Downtown arts scene, both a trading post and junction point for an ever-evolving cast of the artists, actors, dancers and musicians that created a milieu that sometimes seems in retrospect more legend than truth. Yet it was indeed a yeastier time, Ms, Kitto, 41, claimed.

Consider that Ornette Coleman shopped at Knobkerry. So did Jimi Hendrix, Louise Bourgeois and Lena Horne (and also, at various times in its existence, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Mia Farrow, Janis Joplin and Yves Saint Laurent). That a store could function as a salon and gathering place for Black as well as white artists was remarkable even within the context of a Downtown sometimes more diverse in principle than practice, as Ms. Kitto’s book makes clear. Many then, as the artist David Hammons explained to Ms. Kitto, were “afraid to come in when they see all these Black people hanging out.”

Can you correctly use the word milieu in a sentence?

Based on the definition and example provided, write a sentence using today’s Word of the Day and share it as a comment on this article. It is most important that your sentence makes sense and demonstrates that you understand the word’s definition, but we also encourage you to be creative and have fun.

Then, read some of the other sentences students have submitted and use the “Recommend” button to vote for two original sentences that stand out to you.

If you want a better idea of how milieu can be used in a sentence, read these usage examples on Vocabulary.com.

If you enjoy this daily challenge, try one of our monthly vocabulary challenges.

Students ages 13 and older in the United States and the United Kingdom, and 16 and older elsewhere, can comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff.

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