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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Amicable   Sun May 08, 2016 9:47 am

Word of the Day: Amicable
  
  
adjective 
 

Definition

: characterized by friendly goodwill : peaceable

Examples

Tim and Audrey's relationship remained amicable even after they broke up.

"Throughout the conference, my colleagues and I engaged in amicable and productive talks, which gave us important insights on what it would take to secure regional support for the post-Taliban government." — Zalmay Khalilzad, Politico, 28 Mar. 2016

 

Did You Know?

Amicable, which derives from Late Latin amicabilis, meaning "friendly," is one of a set of English words used to suggest cordial relationships. Amicable, neighborly, companionable, and friendly all mean marked by or exhibiting goodwill and an absence of antagonism. Amicable implies a state of peace and a desire on the part of the parties not to quarrel ("they maintained amicable relations"; "the amicable process of bargaining"). Neighborly implies a disposition to live on good terms with others, particularly those who are nearby, and to be helpful on principle ("neighborly concern"). Companionable suggests sociability and companionship ("a companionable dinner with friends"). Friendly stresses cordiality and often warmth or intimacy of personal relations ("a friendly correspondence").
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Nonplus   Mon May 09, 2016 7:09 pm

Word of the Day: Nonplus
  
  
verb  
 

Definition

: to cause to be at a loss as to what to say, think, or do : perplex 

Examples

The student's unexpected about-face during the class discussion nonplussed the teacher.

"Finding out that the new site for your business is home as well to stray cats and assorted wildlife might have nonplussed some people, but Gary Meyer just saw an opportunity to help animals while enjoying their presence." — Joseph P. Smith, The Daily Journal (Vineland, New Jersey), 4 Mar. 2016

 
Did You Know?

Does nonplus perplex you? You aren't alone. Some people believe the "non" in nonplus means "not" and assume that to be nonplussed is to be calm and poised when just the opposite is true. If you are among the baffled, the word's history may clarify things. In Latin, non plus means "no more." In the earliest known uses, which date to the 16th century, it was used as a noun synonymous with quandary. Someone brought to a nonplus had reached an impasse in an argument and could say no more. Within a few decades of the first known use of the noun, people began using nonplus as a verb, and today it is often used in participial form with the meaning "perplexed" (as in "Joellen's nasty remark left us utterly nonplussed").
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Hubris   Mon May 09, 2016 9:02 pm

Word of the Day: Hubris
 
  
noun
 

Definition

: exaggerated pride or self-confidence

Examples

The company's failure was ultimately brought on by the hubris of its founder.

"I think confidence is one of the most important qualities that you need in a leader—self-assurance. But at times confidence can shade over into arrogance and even hubris." — Doris Kearns Goodwin, speaking on The Charlie Rose Show, 12 Jan. 2016

 

Did You Know?

English picked up both the concept of hubris and the term for that particular brand of cockiness from the ancient Greeks, who considered hubris a dangerous character flaw capable of provoking the wrath of the gods. In classical Greek tragedy, hubris was often a fatal shortcoming that brought about the fall of the tragic hero. Typically, overconfidence led the hero to attempt to overstep the boundaries of human limitations and assume a godlike status, and the gods inevitably humbled the offender with a sharp reminder of his or her mortality.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Urbane   Tue May 10, 2016 8:14 pm

Word of the Day: Urbane
  
  
adjective    
  

 

Definition

: notably polite or polished in manner

Examples

Deirdre was an urbane and sociable party guest who could seamlessly transition from one conversation to the next.

"In its heyday among the mod generation, the writing essentially peddled the fantasy of being a more sedentary James Bond: a sophisticated and urbane man about town, drowning in lady friends." — Megan McArdle, Bloomberg View (bloombergview.com), 13 Oct. 2015

 

Did You Know?

City slickers and country folk have long debated whether life is better in town or in the wide open spaces, and urbane is a term that springs from the throes of that debate. The word traces back to Latin urbs, meaning "city," and in its earliest English uses urbane was synonymous with its close relative urban ("of, relating to, characteristic of, or constituting a city"). Urbane developed its modern sense of savoir faire from the belief (no doubt fostered by city dwellers) that living in the city made one more suave and polished than did leading a rural life.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Palooka   Wed May 11, 2016 6:57 pm

Word of the Day: Palooka
 
  
noun 
 

Definition

1 : an inexperienced or incompetent boxer 

2 : oaf, lout

Examples

"The boxing audiences loved him…. Though often reckless, Mickey was never a palooka and learned from every opponent he faced." — Tom Fox, Hidden History of the Irish of New Jersey, 2011

"In the second debate, he expected to face a bunch of exhausted patsies and dazed palookas, but instead faced able, bright and thoughtful candidates…." — The Washington Times, 18 Sept. 2015

  

Did You Know?

The origin of palooka is unknown, though various theories have been put forth. (Some sources credit the baseball player and sportswriter Jack Conway with the coinage, for example.) Palooka first appeared in print in 1920 and may have been popularized by a comic strip titled "Joe Palooka" (by Ham Fisher), which debuted in newspapers a decade later. The probable connection between Fisher's comic and palooka only adds to the mystery surrounding this term, however. Joe Palooka was a boxer who was neither incompetent nor clumsy and oafish, and yet the word palooka came to have those negative meanings. In addition, palooka has been used as a general synonym for rookie and also as a term describing horses with very little chance of winning.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Fauve   Thu May 12, 2016 8:37 pm

Word of the Day: Fauve
  
  
adjective 

 

Definition

1 : of or relating to painters practicing fauvism

2 : vivid in color

Examples

"Fauve colors brought sizzle back to tableware, but could you really eat off a Rorschach of orange, black and pink?" — Julie V. Iovine, The New York Times Magazine, 14 Mar. 1993

"Three were landscapes…. The other was a later painting of Adele, pale and strained, standing in a big hat with her arms loose amid fauve colours of red, mauve and green." — The Economist, 19 Feb. 2011

  

Did You Know?

When French art critic Louis Vauxcelles spotted a statue reminiscent of 15th-century Italian art in the midst of works by an avant-garde group of painters—principal among them Henri Matisse—at an exhibit in Paris in 1905, he verbalized his shock with the words "Donatello au milieu des fauves!" ("Donatello among the wild animals!"). His reaction was to the painters' unconventional use of intensely vivid color and free treatment of form, and apparently his words weren't far off the mark in describing their art: Matisse and company's art movement became known as "Fauvism" and the artists flourishing in it, the "Fauves." In 1967, the intense impact of their colors was still vibrant, inspiring one writer for Vogue to use fauve as an adjective to describe the colors of a "striking" flowered coat—and that use can still be found today vivifying colors.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Venerate   Sun May 15, 2016 8:33 am

Word of the Day: Venerate

verb  


 

Definition

1 : to regard with reverential respect or with admiring deference

2 : to honor (something, such as an icon or a relic) with a ritual act of devotion

Examples

"In William Shakespeare's classic, the Romans venerate their leader, but Brutus sees that Julius Caesar may be too powerful for the good of the nation." — Chris Kocher, The Star-Gazette (Elmira, New York), 10 Mar. 2016

"Robert Mickens, a longtime Vatican analyst, said venerating saints or praying at the tombs of martyrs is a time-honored Catholic practice, but he questioned the decision to display the remains of the two saints." — Jim Yardley, The New York Times, 5 Feb. 2016

  

Did You Know?

Venerate, revere, reverence, worship, and adore all mean to honor and admire profoundly and respectfully. Venerate implies a holding as holy or sacrosanct because of character, association, or age. Revere stresses deference and tenderness of feeling ("a professor revered by students"). Reverence presupposes an intrinsic merit and inviolability in the one honored and a similar depth of feeling in the one honoring ("she reverenced the academy's code of honor"). Worship implies homage usually expressed in words or ceremony ("he worships their memory"). Adore implies love and stresses the notion of an individual and personal attachment ("we adored our doctor"). Venerate, incidentally, traces back to the Latin verb venerari, from vener-, meaning "love" or "charm."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Subpoena   Sun May 15, 2016 8:36 am

Word of the Day: Subpoena
 
  
noun  

 

Definition

: a writ commanding a person designated in it to appear in court under a penalty for failure

Examples

Subpoenas have been issued to several of the defendant's family members ordering that they testify at trial.

"'If we have to compel them to come in, then that's what we're going to do,' he said, referring to possible subpoenas." — Sandra Tan, The Buffalo News, 8 Apr. 2016

 


Did You Know?

If you think you recognize the sub- in subpoena as the prefix meaning "under, beneath, below," you're on target. Subpoena arrived in Modern English (via the Middle English suppena) from the Latin sub poena, a combination of sub and poena, meaning "penalty." Other poena descendants in English include impunity ("freedom from penalty"), penal ("of or relating to punishment"), and even punish. There is also the verb subpoena, as in "Defense lawyers have subpoenaed several witnesses to the crime."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Eminently   Sun May 15, 2016 7:27 pm

Word of the Day: Eminently
 
  
adverb  

 

Definition

: to a high degree : very

Examples

The candidate is so eminently qualified that it is difficult to imagine why she would not get the position.

"… in the interest of exercise and getting to know my town a little better, my New Year's resolution was this: Walk every block of this eminently walkable little city in 2016." — Tim Buckwalter, LancasterOnline.com (Lancaster, Pennsylvania), 18 Mar. 2016

 
Did You Know?

When British physician Tobias Venner wrote in 1620 of houses "somewhat eminently situated," he used eminently in a way that now seems unusual. Venner meant that the houses were literally located in a high place, but that lofty use of eminently has since slipped into obsolescence. The term also formerly had the meaning "conspicuously," a use that reflects its Latin root, eminēre, which means "to stand out." That meaning, like the elevated one, is now obsolete. The figurative sense that is still prominent today also began appearing in English texts in the 1600s.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Quincunx    Mon May 16, 2016 8:19 pm

Word of the Day: Quincunx
 
  
noun 

Definition

: an arrangement of five things in a square or rectangle with one at each corner and one in the middle

Examples

The sculptures in the square were arranged in a quincunx with the outer ones marking the perimeter and the middle one serving as the centerpiece.

"The towers of Angkor Wat—shaped in a quincunx, five points in a cross—were named after Mount Meru, the home of the gods believed in Indian myth to lie at the center of the world." — William Dalrymple, The New York Review of Books, 21 May 2015


 

Did You Know?

In ancient Rome, a quincunx was a coin with a weight equal to five twelfths of a libra, a unit of weight similar to our pound. The coin's name comes from the Latin roots quinque, meaning "five," and uncia, meaning "one twelfth."  The ancients used a pattern of five dots arranged like the pips on a die as a symbol for the coin, and English speakers applied the word to arrangements similar to that distinctive five-dot mark.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Hector   Tue May 17, 2016 7:18 pm

Word of the Day: Hector
 
  
verb

 

Definition

1 : to play the bully : swagger

2 : to intimidate or harass by bluster or personal pressure

Examples

The judge sternly ordered the attorney to stop hectoring the witness.

"For several years now he has been making life easier for every journalist who follows the Affordable Care Act by heroically compiling health insurance enrollments under the law, explaining developments, debunking myths, and hectoring the nearly infinite sources of mis- and disinformation … into getting things right." — Michael Hiltzik, The Los Angeles Times, 29 Mar. 2016

  

Did You Know?

Hector wasn't always a bully. In Homer's Iliad, the eldest son of King Priam of Troy was a model soldier, son, father, and friend, the champion of the Trojan army until he was killed by the Greek hero Achilles. How did the name of a Trojan paragon become a generic synonym of bully? That pejorative English use was likely influenced by gangs of rowdy street toughs who roamed London in the 17th century and called themselves "Hectors." They may have thought themselves gallant young blades, but to the general populace they were merely swaggering bullies who intimidated passersby and vandalized property. By 1660, hector was being used as a noun for the sort of blustering braggarts who populated those gangs, and as a verb as well.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Nomenclature   Wed May 18, 2016 8:22 pm

Word of the Day: Nomenclature
  
  
noun  
 

Definition

1 : name, designation

2 : the act or process or an instance of naming

3 a : a system or set of terms or symbols especially in a particular science, discipline, or art

b : an international system of standardized New Latin names used in biology for kinds and groups of kinds of animals and plants

Examples

"Most Americans are aware of differences in nomenclature between British and American English, e.g. flat versus apartment, lift versus elevator, petrol versus gasoline." — Sara Boyett, The Silver City (New Mexico) Daily Press & Independent, 31 Mar. 2016

"And although the nomenclature of Greenhouse Bistro and Samovar Tea Room suggests a quieter, intimate restaurant, the two actually take up a massive 14,000-square-foot location that seats 580 between the tearoom, the Greenhouse interior and a 2,000-square-foot patio out front." — Rebecca Cooper, The Washington (D.C.) Business Journal, 6 Apr. 2016

 
Did You Know?

In his 1926 Dictionary of Modern English Usage, grammarian H. W. Fowler asserted that it was wrong to use nomenclature as a synonym for name; he declared that nomenclature could only mean "a system of naming or of names." It is true that nomenclature comes from the Latin nomenclatura, meaning "the assigning of names," but the name sense was the first to appear in English (it is documented as long ago as 1610), and it has been considered perfectly standard for centuries.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Ramshackle   Thu May 19, 2016 8:22 pm

Word of the Day: Ramshackle
 
  
adjective 

 

Definition

1 : appearing ready to collapse : rickety

2 : carelessly or loosely constructed

Examples

The yard was sectioned off by a ramshackle wooden fence that was just barely held together with chicken wire.

"He's also made the bold move of purchasing the ramshackle building behind his market, envisioning an Internet cafe." — Sarah Netter, The Washington Post, 7 Apr. 2016

  

Did You Know?

Ramshackle has nothing to do with rams, nor the act of being rammed, nor shackles. The word is an alteration of ransackled, an obsolete form of the verb ransack, meaning "to search through or plunder." (Ransack in turn derives, via Middle English, from Old Norse words meaning "house" and "seek.") A home that has been ransacked has had its contents thrown into disarray, and that image may be what caused us to start using ramshackle in the first half of the 19th century to describe something that is poorly constructed or in a state of near collapse. These days, ramshackle can also be used figuratively, as in "He could only devise a ramshackle excuse for his absence."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Dally    Fri May 20, 2016 9:09 pm

Word of the Day: Dally
 
  
verb 
 

Definition

1 a : to act playfully; especially : to play amorously

b : to deal lightly : toy

2 a : to waste time

b : linger, dawdle

Examples

He dithered and dallied, avoiding his work for as long as possible.

"Voters don't elect leaders to dally, stall, drag their feet and excel at the art of delay." —The Daily Chronicle (DeKalb, Illinois), 31 Dec. 2015

 
Did You Know?

English speakers have been playing with different uses of dally since the 14th century. They first started using the word with the meaning "to chat," which was also the meaning of the Anglo-French word from which it was derived, but that meaning fell into disuse by the end of the 15th century. Next, dalliers were amusing themselves by acting playfully with each other especially in amorous and flirtatious ways. Apparently, some dalliers were also a bit derisive, leading dally to mean "to deal with lightly or in a way that is not serious." It didn't take long for the fuddy-duddies to criticize all this play as a waste of time. By the mid-16th century, dally was weighted down with its "to waste time" and "dawdle" meanings, which, in time, gave way to the word dillydally, a humorous reduplication of dally.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Zeroth   Sat May 21, 2016 8:08 pm

Word of the Day: Zeroth
  
  
adjective 

 

Definition

: being numbered zero in a series; also : of, relating to, or being a zero

Examples

"Many tall buildings lack a 13th floor, skipping from 12 to 14 to avoid that dreaded number. Most buildings—at least in the U.S.A.—also lack a zeroth floor." — Pat Murphy and Paul Doherty, Fantasy & Science Fiction, March 2005

"… I teach creative writing, and I expect I've confused a great many students with my 'tear up your synopsis' approach. My excuse is that I didn't start out as a literary type: in my zeroth life I was a physicist, and I've always felt some sympathy for Bertrand Russell's advice: 'Say everything in the smallest number of words in which it can be said clearly.'" — Andrew Crumey, Time Out, 27 Mar. 2008

 

Did You Know?

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to use zeroth, but the word, which was coined by physicists 120 years ago, does often show up in scientific contexts. (It comes from zero, which is itself from Arabic ṣifr.) These days zeroth is frequently used to suggest a level of importance that is even higher than first. Renowned Soviet physicist Lev Landau used zeroth this way when he classified all the famous physicists according to the relative value of their contributions to science. He put Niels Bohr and Max Planck, for example, right up there in the first class, and lesser-rated physicists in the second through fifth classes. Where did he think Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton belonged? They were unmatched, he felt, so they went in his zeroth class.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Ideate   Mon May 23, 2016 4:13 pm

Word of the Day: Ideate
 
  
verb  

 

Definition

1 : to form an idea or conception of (something)

2 : to form an idea

Examples

Jocelyn used the lunch hour at the education seminar to talk with other teachers and ideate new activities to use in the classroom.

"Most of us don't dedicate any time to thinking and ideating. To think well, you need to be willing to fail well." — Andy Lark, Fortune, 7 Mar. 2016

 


Did You Know?

Like idea and ideal, ideate comes from the Greek verb idein, which means "to see." The sight-thought connection came courtesy of Plato, the Greek philosopher who based his theory of the ideal on the concept of seeing, claiming that a true philosopher can see the essential nature of things and can recognize their ideal form or state. Early uses of idea, ideal, and ideate in English were associated with Platonic philosophy; idea meant "an archetype" or "a standard of perfection," ideal meant "existing as an archetype," and ideate referred to forming Platonic ideas. But though ideate is tied to ancient philosophy, the word itself is a modern concoction, relatively speaking. It first appeared in English only about 400 years ago.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Litotes   Mon May 23, 2016 8:03 pm

Word of the Day: Litotes
 
  
noun



 

Definition

: understatement in which an affirmative is expressed by the negative of the contrary

Examples

"Vacationing in the Caribbean wasn't a total drag," said Sheila with her characteristic flair for litotes.

"Analysts and experts reached for metaphors, similes, allusions, litotes and anything else lying about to express their wonderment." — Wesley Pruden, The Washington Times, 31 Oct. 2003

 

Did You Know?

Even if you've never heard the word litotes, chances are you've encountered this figure of speech. If you've ever approved of a job well done by exclaiming "Not bad!" or told someone that you are "not unhappy" when you are ecstatic, you've even used it yourself. In fact, you might say that it would be "no mean feat" to avoid this common feature of our language! And litotes isn't only common; it's also simple—etymologically speaking, that is. Litotes evolved from a Greek word meaning "simple," and perhaps ultimately from another Greek word meaning "linen cloth."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Stolid   Tue May 24, 2016 7:23 pm

Word of the Day: Stolid
 
  
adjective 


 

Definition

: having or expressing little or no sensibility : unemotional

Examples

The stolid detective spoke to the witness in a precise, unequivocal manner.

"A modest woman of great heart and spirit, Deirdre, perhaps more than any other member of the family, has weathered the storms she and her husband have endured with a stolid equanimity…." — Charles Isherwood, The New York Times, 19 Feb. 2016

  

Did You Know?

Stolid derives from stolidus, a word that means "dull" or "stupid" in Latin. It is also distantly related to the word stultify, meaning "to cause to appear or be stupid, foolish, or absurdly illogical." The earliest examples of usage for stolid, dating back to the early 17th century, indicate that it too was originally associated with a lack of smarts; it was used to describe people who were considered dull or stupid because they didn't wear their emotions on their sleeves. By the 1800s, however, stolid was frequently appearing without the connotation of foolishness, and it continues to be free of such overtones today.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Jeopardize   Wed May 25, 2016 8:25 pm

Word of the Day: Jeopardize
  
  
verb  



Definition

: to expose to danger or risk : imperil

Examples

Jerry was warned that a continued decrease in his sales performance could jeopardize his chances for a promotion.

"The bill grew out of a problem that has developed in north central Connecticut, where cracking foundations have jeopardized the stability of more than 150 homes, according to homeowners who have filed complaints with state officials." — Kathleen McWilliams, The Hartford (Connecticut) Courant, 8 Apr. 2016

 

Did You Know?

It may be hard to believe that jeopardize was once controversial, but in 1870 a grammarian called it "a foolish and intolerable word," a view shared by many 19th-century critics. The preferred word was jeopard, which first appeared in print in the 14th century. (The upstart jeopardize turned up in 1582.) In 1828, Noah Webster himself declared jeopardize to be "a modern word, used by respectable writers in America, but synonymous with 'jeopard,' and therefore useless." Unfortunately for the champions of jeopard, jeopardize is now much more popular.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Milquetoast    Thu May 26, 2016 8:33 pm

Word of the Day: Milquetoast 
  
noun


 

Definition

: a timid, meek, or unassertive person

Examples

Brian was such a milquetoast that he agreed to work extra hours on Sunday even though he had already told his boss that he needed that day off.

"Aristotle said that virtue is the mean between the extremes of deficiency and excess. When someone steals your parking spot, you're virtuous if you're neither a milquetoast nor a madman, but something in between...." — Ruth Chang, The San Francisco Chronicle, 22 Nov. 2015

 
 

Did You Know?

Caspar Milquetoast was a comic strip character created in 1924 by the American cartoonist Harold T. Webster. The strip, called "The Timid Soul," ran every Sunday in the New York Herald Tribune for many years. Webster, who claimed that Milquetoast was a self-portrait, summed up the character as "the man who speaks softly and gets hit with a big stick." The earliest examples for Milquetoast used as a generic synonym for "timid person" date from the mid-1930s. Caspar's last name might remind you of "milk toast," a bland concoction of buttered toast served in a dish of warm milk.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Aureate   Fri May 27, 2016 9:45 pm

Word of the Day: Aureate

  
adjective 

 

Definition

1 : of a golden color or brilliance

2 : marked by grandiloquent and rhetorical style

Examples

The poems display the writer's mastery of both colloquial and aureate diction.

"… the sunlight burned upon his medal, giving him an aureate, convincing—but false—appearance." — David Ebershoff, Pasadena, 2003

  

Did You Know?

Aureate is among several adjectives in English pertaining to gold that derive from the Latin name for the metal, aurum. While its relatives auriferous and auric are more likely to appear in scientific contexts to describe substances containing or made from gold (or Au, to use its chemical symbol), aureate has tended to have a more literary allure since it was first used in English in the early 15th century. Over time, the word's use was extended from "golden" to "resplendent," and it finally lost some of its luster as it came to mean "grandiloquent."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Foozle   Sat May 28, 2016 8:24 pm

Word of the Day: Foozle

  
verb


 

Definition

: to manage or play awkwardly : bungle

Examples

After the receiver foozled the catch, the kicking team recovered the ball at the opponent's 10-yard line.

"He foozled a short putt on the 72nd green at Southern Hills in Tulsa that would've won him the 2001 Open, then played solidly in a Monday playoff and defeated Mark Brooks for the title." — Gary Van Sickle, Golf.com, 30 July 2015

 

Did You Know?

Foozle dates only to the late 19th century, but its origins are obscure. The German dialect verb fuseln ("to work carelessly") could figure in its history, but that speculation has never been proven. Not particularly common today, foozle still holds a special place in the hearts, minds, and vocabularies of many golfers. In golf, to foozle a shot is to bungle it and a foozle is a bungled shot. In a Century magazine piece from 1899 called "Two Players and their Play," Beatrice Hanscom reveals more of golf's specialized vocabulary:

She tops her ball; then divots fly; / In bunkers long she stays; / She foozles all along the course / In most astounding ways: / In sooth, it is an eery thing / The way Priscilla plays.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Ken    Sun May 29, 2016 8:46 pm

Word of the Day: Ken  


 
noun 

 

Definition

1 a : the range of vision

b : sight, view

2 : the range of perception, understanding, or knowledge

Examples

The author advised the aspiring writers in the crowd to develop an authoritative voice by sticking to subjects within their ken.

"The council appeared to be moving toward putting more money into the concession area so that it could be used to serve more than hot dogs and nachos…. But suddenly, that fell apart for reasons beyond the public's ken." — Perry White, Watertown (New York) Daily Times, 25 Mar. 2016

 

Did You Know?

Ken appeared on the English horizon in the 16th century as a term of measurement of the distance bounding the range of ordinary vision at sea—about 20 miles. British author John Lyly used that sense in 1580 when he wrote, "They are safely come within a ken of Dover." Other 16th-century writers used ken to mean "range of vision" ("Out of ken we were ere the Countesse came from the feast." — Thomas Nashe) or "sight" ("'Tis double death to drown in ken of shore." — Shakespeare). Today, however, ken rarely suggests literal sight. Rather, ken nowadays almost always implies a range of perception, understanding, or knowledge.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Cavalier   Mon May 30, 2016 9:09 pm

Word of the Day: Cavalier

  
adjective  

 

Definition

1 : debonair 

2 : marked by or given to offhand and often disdainful dismissal of important matters

Examples

Miranda has a cavalier attitude when it comes to spending money.

"At a certain point, however, he opened up,… though under the condition that there be no recorders or notepads. For a guy who was so careful and deliberate and micro-managed everything about his career, he became surprisingly cavalier about being quoted directly—or accurately." — Gary Graff, Billboard.com, 21 Apr. 2016

 
Did You Know?

According to a dictionary prepared by Thomas Blount in 1656, a cavalier was "a knight or gentleman, serving on horseback, a man of arms." That meaning is true to the history of the noun, which traces back to the Late Latin word caballarius, meaning "horseman." By around 1600, it had also come to denote "a roistering, swaggering fellow." In the 1640s, English Puritans applied it disdainfully to their adversaries, the swashbuckling Royalist followers of Charles I, who sported longish hair and swords. Although some thought those cavaliers "several sorts of Malignant Men,… ready to commit all manner of Outrage and Violence," others saw them as quite suave—which may explain why cavalier can be either complimentary or a bit insulting.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Tousle   Tue May 31, 2016 8:07 pm

Word of the Day: Tousle
  
  
verb  


 

Definition

: to make untidy : dishevel, rumple

Examples

The cats got into a loud scuffle, tousling the clean sheets that Hugh had just put on the bed.

"In person, removed from the dank interiors he typically haunts on 'Game of Thrones,' Mr. Rheon's face is more cherubic than demonic, with a rakish scruff and artfully tousled hair that gets more so as he runs his hands through it in conversation." — Jeremy Egner, The New York Times, 20 Apr. 2016

 
 
Did You Know?

Tousle is a word that has been through what linguists call a "functional shift." That's a fancy way of saying it was originally one part of speech, then gradually came to have an additional function. Tousle started out as a verb back in the 15th century. By the late 19th century, it was also being used as a noun meaning "a tangled mass (as of hair)." Etymologists connect the word to an Old High German word meaning "to pull to pieces."
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