Word of the Day


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Origin of the word

The verb endanger dates back to the 1400s. It originated from the Old French prefix ‘en-‘ from the Latin ‘in-‘ meaning ‘within, in’ and the Anglo-French ‘dangier’ meaning ‘ownership, dominion, authority’. The first recorded use of the word endanger in English was in the late 15th century.


Endangered is the past participle form of the verb endanger, and can also be used as an adjective. As a verb, endanger refers to a situation or position of peril or potential harm: “The trapped hikers’ dwindling food and water endangered their survival.” As an adjective, endangered most often refers to animals or plants that are at risk of extinction: “The black rhino tops the endangered species list, with fewer than 2,500 of the animals left in the wild.”

According to a recent report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a growing number of natural world heritage sites have been endangered due to the effects of global warming. The IUCN findings were announced during the UN climate summit in Bonn, Germany, where world leaders met to discuss the landmark 2015 Paris climate agreement. Of the 241 natural world heritage sites included in the IUCN assessments, more than 60 places — about 30% of all sites — have been identified as significantly or critically endangered. Affected sites can be found all over the world: Everglades National Park in the US, Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Mexico, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra in Indonesia, Great Barrier Reef in Australia, Henderson Island and Giant’s Causeway and Causeway Coast in the UK, Manas Wildlife Sanctuary in India, and Wood Buffalo National Park in Canada, to name a few. Along with climate change, the IUCN report also identified invasive species, unsustainable tourism practices, poaching and construction as factors that have further endangered natural heritage sites worldwide.

Despite the bleak outlook for many sites, the IUCN report did uncover some promising trends, such as the recovering elephant and chimpanzee populations in Ivory Coast’s Comoé National Park. Thanks to international support and targeted conservation efforts, these endangered species are experiencing excellent growth and the park was recently removed from the organization’s danger list.


1. to put someone or something into a situation where they might be harmed or damaged
View the full definition at the Macmillan Dictionary.

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