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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Exemplary   Wed Jun 01, 2016 8:33 pm

Word of the Day: Exemplary
  
  
adjective  


Definition

1 : deserving imitation especially because of excellence : commendable

2 : serving as a warning : monitory

3 : serving as an example, instance, or illustration

Examples

Members of the community who have demonstrated exemplary public service will be honored at the ceremony.

"Since 1962, Big Blue's Fellows program annually honors exemplary technologists, researchers and scientists within the company." — The Poughkeepsie (New York) Journal, 25 Apr. 2016

 
Did You Know?

Since the 1500s, exemplary has been used in English for things deserving imitation. The word (and its close relatives example and exemplify) derives from the Latin noun exemplum, which means "example." Usage commentators have sometimes warned against using exemplary as if it were simply a synonym of excellent, but clear-cut instances of such usage are hard to come by. When exemplary describes something excellent, as it often does, it almost always carries the further suggestion that the thing described is worthy of imitation.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Cadence    Thu Jun 02, 2016 8:38 pm

Word of the Day: Cadence
 
  
noun  

 

Definition

1 a : a rhythmic sequence or flow of sounds in language

b : the beat, time, or measure of rhythmical motion or activity

2 a : a falling inflection of the voice

b : a musical chord sequence moving to a harmonic close or rest

3 : the modulated and rhythmic recurrence of a sound especially in nature

Examples

Stephanie relaxed at the beach, listening to the cadence of the surf.

"The app detects your natural cadence when you walk or run, and cues up a playlist that matches your rhythm." — Alison Sweeney, Redbook, 1 Apr. 2016


Did You Know?

Falling into the hands of English speakers in the 14th century, cadence derives via Middle English and Old Italian from the Latin verb cadere, meaning "to fall." (Cadere can be found in the history of many common English words, including decay, coincide, and accident.) We most often hear cadence used in contexts pertaining to voice or music—it might refer to the familiar way in which someone speaks, or the rhythms employed by a rap artist, or the rising and falling notes of a bird's call. Cadenza, the Old Italian word that factors into the history of cadence, has its own place in English as well. Cadenza in English usually refers to a brilliant musical flourish played before closing out an aria.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Jubilate   Fri Jun 03, 2016 8:19 pm

Word of the Day: Jubilate
  
  
verb  


 

Definition

: to rejoice

Examples

The crowd jubilated as the baserunner slid across home plate with the winning run.

"When the game was over … there was a lot of jumping up and down and jiggling and hugging and jubilating in the luxury box belonging to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones." — Cindy Boren, The Washington Post, 5 Jan. 2015

 

Did You Know?

When things are going your way, you may want to shout for joy. Jubilate testifies to the fact that people have had the urge to give (loud) voice to their happiness for centuries. Although jubilate first appeared in print around the middle of the 17th century, its connection to vocal joy goes back much farther; it is derived from the Latin verb jubilare, which means "to shout for joy." Jubilare has also played a role in the development of a few other closely related joyful English words, including jubilant (the earliest meaning was "making a joyful noise," though it is now most often used to mean simply "exultant") and jubilation ("an act of rejoicing").
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Ablution   Sat Jun 04, 2016 8:24 pm

Word of the Day: Ablution
  
  
noun  



 

Definition

1 : the washing of one's body or part of it (as in a religious rite)

2 : the act or action of bathing — used in the plural form

Examples

Francis awakened at dawn and performed his ablutions. 

"While it's true that many folks enjoy the ease of hopping into a shower stall for their morning ablutions, you are still likely to find at least one tub in just about every American home." — Laura First, The Daily Ardmoreite (Ardmore, Oklahoma), 27 Sept. 2015

 
 

Did You Know?

Ablution derives via Middle French and Middle English from the Latin verb abluere, meaning "to wash away," formed from the prefix ab- ("away, off") and lavere ("to wash"). Early uses of the word occurred in contexts of alchemy and chemistry. The first known use of ablution to refer to washing as a religious rite occurs in Thomas More's The Apologye Made by Hym (1533). Many religions include some kind of washing of the body in their rituals, usually as a form of purification or dedication. The use of the term to refer to the action of washing one's body without any religious significance did not take hold in English until the mid-18th century. In British English, ablutions can also refer to a building housing bathing and toilet facilities on a military base.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Lucid   Sun Jun 05, 2016 9:20 pm

Word of the Day: Lucid
  
  
adjective  


 

Definition

1 a : suffused with light : luminous

b : translucent

2 : having full use of one's faculties : sane

3 : clear to the understanding : intelligible

Examples

"The sound swelled and enveloped us, and indeed it was like laughter, waves upon waves of … lucid laughter…." — Anne Rice, Memnoch the Devil, 1995

"His writing is lucid and perceptive, and his instincts for the arcane and interesting are unerring, making the text scholarly yet still accessible to the lay reader…." — The Publisher's Weekly Review, 14 Mar. 2016


 

Did You Know?

It's easy enough to shed some light on the origins of lucid: it derives—via the Latin adjective lucidus, meaning "shining"—from the Latin verb lucēre, meaning "to shine." Lucid has been used by English speakers since at least the late 16th century. Originally, it meant merely "filled with light" or "shining," but it has since developed extended senses describing someone whose mind is clear or something with a clear meaning. Other shining examples of lucēre descendants include translucent, lucent ("glowing"), and the somewhat rarer relucent ("reflecting light" or "shining"). Even the word light itself derives from the same ancient word that led to lucēre.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Welter   Tue Jun 07, 2016 9:19 am

Word of the Day: Welter

  
verb  

 

Definition

1 a : writhe, toss; also : wallow

b : to rise and fall or toss about in or with waves

2 : to become deeply sunk, soaked, or involved 

3 : to be in turmoil

Examples

"As debris weltered in Hurricane Katrina's aftermath, the landfill company River Birch Inc. used helicopter tours to argue against the government's reopening of Old Gentilly Landfill in eastern New Orleans." — Richard Rainey, NOLA.com, 5 June 2011

"He liked social democracy, thought it a good promoter of liberty, urged on its expansion of higher education, but found that this too weltered in bureaucracy in the end." — The Economist, 25 June 2009


Did You Know?

Welter can be used both as a noun (meaning "turmoil" or "chaos") and a verb. The verb is the older of the two; it has been part of English since at least the 1300s, while the earliest uses of the noun date from the late 1590s. Both noun and verb have roots related to Dutch and Germanic terms meaning "to roll," and both have found a place in historical English literature. The verb helps demonstrate extreme despair in the early Arthurian legend Morte Arthure ("He welterys, he wristeles, he wrynges hys handes!"), and in 1837 Thomas Carlyle used the noun in The French Revolution ("I leave the whole business in a frightful welter: … not one of them understands anything of government").
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Nescience   Tue Jun 07, 2016 7:43 pm

Word of the Day: Nescience
  
  
noun   
  





 

Definition

: lack of knowledge or awareness : ignorance

Examples

"Fallacious statements, which I will be generous and attribute to nescience and not to deliberate equivocation, include the following examples…." — H. B. "Bud" Thompson, The Fresno (California) Bee, 26 Sept. 2009

"Unnecessary obstacles to information—and the possibility of greater restrictions against getting it—promote nescience." — Jackie Torok, The Brunswick Beacon (Shallotte, North Carolina), 22 Dec. 2015

 

Did You Know?

Eighteenth-century British poet, essayist, and lexicographer Samuel Johnson once said, "There is nothing so minute or inconsiderable that I would not rather know it than not know it." He probably knew a thing or two about the history of the word nescience, which evolved from a combination of the Latin prefix ne-, meaning "not," and scire, a verb meaning "to know." And he may also have known that scire is an ancestor of science, a word whose original meaning in English was "knowledge."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Ululate   Thu Jun 09, 2016 7:21 am

Word of the Day: Ululate
  
verb 


Definition

: howl, wail

Examples

"Millions of pop culture devotees weep and ululate over the death of David Bowie. His passing is noteworthy, given his significant celebrity profile, but I shall miss [journalist] George Jonas' contributions more." — Randall Bell, letter in The National Post (Canada), 13 Jan. 2016

"They talked loud in their language, and together they sounded like mourners ululating." — Sefi Atta, Everything Good Will Come, 2005 (2008)

 
Did You Know?

"When other birds are still, the screech owls take up the strain, like mourning women their ancient u-lu-lu." When Henry David Thoreau used "u-lu-lu" to imitate the cry of screech owls and mourning women in that particular passage from Walden, he was re-enacting the etymology of ululate (a word he likely knew). Ululate descends from the Latin verb ululare. That Latin root carried the same meaning as our modern English word, and it likely originated in the echoes of the rhythmic wailing sound associated with it. Even today, ululate often refers to ritualistic or expressive wailing performed at times of mourning or celebration or used to show approval.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Passel   Thu Jun 09, 2016 9:15 pm

Word of the Day: Passel
 
  
noun  



Definition

: a large number or amount

Examples

When problems at the printing plant caused a delay in delivery of the newspaper, Rebecca was tasked with handling the passel of complaints from angry subscribers.

"It's no easy feat being the standout here—the marquee names are all delightfully funny, not to mention the passel of character actors playing the blacklisted writers—but Ehrenreich's going to have moviegoers learning how to spell his name." — Alonso Duralde, TheWrap.com, 3 Feb. 2016

 

Did You Know?

The loss of the sound of "r" after a vowel and before another consonant in the middle of a word is common in spoken English. This linguistic idiosyncrasy has given our language a few new words, such as cuss from curse, bust from burst, and our featured word passel from parcel. The spelling passel originated in the 15th century, but the word's use as a collective noun for an indefinite number is a 19th-century Americanism. It was common primarily in local-color writing before getting a boost in the 1940s, when it began appearing in popular weekly magazines such as Time, Newsweek, and Saturday Review.
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PostSubject: Unusual word of the day - Whoreson   Fri Jun 10, 2016 8:36 pm

Whoreson - bastard; whore's son; term of contempt 
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Semelparous   Fri Jun 10, 2016 8:37 pm

Word of the Day: Semelparous
  
  
adjective  

 

Definition

: reproducing or breeding only once in a lifetime

Examples

The article's author is a scientist who spent years studying semelparous butterflies.

"[The century plant's] common name derives from its semelparous nature of flowering only once at the end of its long life." — Fred Whitley, The St. Augustine (Florida) Record, 3 Oct. 2014

 

Did You Know?

The combining form -parous was first used in English by the 17th-century physician and writer Sir Thomas Browne, who wrote about organisms that were multiparous ("producing more than one at a birth"), oviparous ("producing eggs that develop outside the maternal body"), and viviparous ("producing living young instead of eggs from within the body"). The suffix is based on the Latin verb parere, meaning "to give birth to," which is also a relative of the word that gave us parent. Semelparous, the youngest offspring of -parous, was born in 1954. Its other parent is semel, the Latin word for "once."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Renovate   Sat Jun 11, 2016 6:42 pm

Word of the Day: Renovate
  
verb  

 

Definition

1 : to restore to a former better state (as by cleaning, repairing, or rebuilding)

2 : to restore to life, vigor, or activity : revive

Examples

"… society gains nothing whilst a man, not himself renovated, attempts to renovate things around him: he has become tediously good in some particular, but negligent or narrow in the rest…." — Ralph Waldo Emerson, "New England Reformers," 3 Mar. 1844

"Voters in Sag Harbor on Tuesday gave the go-ahead for the Sag Harbor School District to purchase and renovate the former Stella Maris school building…." — Christine Sampson, The East Hampton Star, 17 May 2016

 

Did You Know?

Renovate, renew, restore, refresh, and rejuvenate all mean to make like new. Renovate (a word ultimately derived from the Latin verb novare, meaning "to make new," itself a descendant of novus, meaning "new") suggests a renewing by cleansing, repairing, or rebuilding. Renew implies a restoration of what had become faded or disintegrated so that it seems like new ("efforts to renew the splendor of the old castle"). Restore suggests a return to an original state after depletion or loss ("restored a piece of furniture"). Refresh implies the supplying of something necessary to restore lost strength, animation, or power ("a refreshing drink"). Rejuvenate suggests the restoration of youthful vigor, powers, or appearance ("she was rejuvenated by her new job").
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Quaff   Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:02 am

Word of the Day: Quaff
 
  
verb  


 

Definition

: to drink deeply

Examples

The kids thoroughly enjoyed running a lemonade stand for the day, and weren't bothered in the least by the paltry profits that always result when the proprietors quaff most of the product.

"Contrary to the time-honored campaign tradition of stopping at a local pub to quaff Budweiser with the after-work crowd, this cycle's candidates have gravitated toward local beer makers." — Matthew Osgood, The Atlantic, 8 May 2016

  

Did You Know?

Nowadays, quaff has an old-fashioned, literary sound to it. For more contemporary words that suggest drinking a lot of something, especially in big gulps and in large quantity, you might try drain, pound, or slug. If you are a daintier drinker, you might say that you prefer to sip, imbibe or partake in the beverage of your choice. Quaff is by no means the oldest of these terms—earliest evidence of it in use is from the early 1500s, whereas sip dates to the 14th century—but it is the only one with the mysterious "origin unknown" etymology.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Tocsin   Mon Jun 13, 2016 7:34 pm

Word of the Day: Tocsin
 
  
noun  


 

Definition

1 : an alarm bell or the ringing of it

2 : a warning signal

Examples

A coalition of parents was sounding the tocsin for the school music program—if voters didn't approve a tax increase, the program was sure to be axed.

"That may sound alarmist, but the tocsin is being rung by some pretty sober people." — Doyle McManus, Advance-News (Ogdensburg, New York), 16 Feb. 2016

  

Did You Know?

Although it has occasionally been spelled like its homonym toxin, tocsin has nothing to do with poison. Rather, it is derived from the Middle French toquassen, which in turn comes from the Old Occitan tocasenh, and ultimately from the assumed Vulgar Latin verb toccare ("to ring a bell") and the Latin signum ("mark, sign"), which have given us, respectively, the English words touch and signal. Tocsin long referred to the ringing of church bells to signal events of importance to local villagers, including dangerous events such as attacks. Its use was eventually broadened to cover anything that signals danger or trouble.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Obtuse   Tue Jun 14, 2016 7:54 pm

Word of the Day: Obtuse
 
  
adjective  


 

Definition

1 a : not pointed or acute : blunt

b : exceeding 90 degrees but less than 180 degrees 

c : having an obtuse angle

2 a : lacking sharpness or quickness of sensibility or intellect : insensitive, stupid

b : difficult to comprehend : not clear or precise in thought or expression

Examples

"A wrinkled brow or wrinkled nose in response to someone volunteering life-changing news, imbued with hope for change, is the domain of the ignorant, the determinedly obtuse or the bigot." — Nicky Clark, The Independent (London), 8 Mar. 2016

"The angled walls and obtuse openings led to gallery areas beyond and made for a private and original environment that gave booths a more secluded and comfortable feeling." — Greg Smith, Antiques and The Arts Weekly, 18 May 2016

 

 

Did You Know?

Obtuse, which comes to us from the Latin word obtusus, meaning "dull" or "blunt," can describe an angle that is not acute or a person who is mentally "dull" or slow of mind. The word has also developed a somewhat controversial sense of "hard to comprehend," probably as a result of confusion with abstruse. This sense of obtuse is well established, and it is now possible to speak of "obtuse language" and "obtuse explanations," as well as "obtuse angles" and "obtuse readers"; however, it may attract some criticism. If you're hesitant about using new meanings of words, you should probably stick with abstruse when you want a word meaning "difficult to understand."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Verdure   Wed Jun 15, 2016 8:36 pm

Word of the Day: Verdure
 
  
noun  


 

Definition

1 : the greenness of growing vegetation; also : such vegetation itself

2 : a condition of health and vigor

Examples

"All right, I have to admit it. It's stunning. Even though the summer drought has leached the verdure from the grand, sweeping lawns." — Zofia Smardz, The Washington Post, 24 Oct. 2007

"The visit began and culminated with Can Tomas, her family house, which crests one of the hills on the island, providing unobstructed views of San Antonio Bay's sunsets and the seething palette of verdure and ocher soil that composes the island's countryside." — Nikil Saval, The New York Times, 10 Nov. 2015

  

Did You Know?

English speakers have had the use of the word verdure since the 14th century, when it made its way into Middle English from Anglo-French. Like the more common verdant, the word traces back to Latin virere, meaning "to be green." Since the early 16th century, verdure has also been used to refer to a kind of tapestry with a design based on plant forms. The verdure that English speakers sometimes encounter on menus is Italian; in that language verdure refers to green vegetables or to vegetables in general (as in "fettuccine con verdure").
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: MacGuffin   Thu Jun 16, 2016 8:30 pm

Word of the Day: MacGuffin
  
  
noun 




 

Definition

: an object, event, or character in a film or story that serves to set and keep the plot in motion despite usually lacking intrinsic importance

Examples

The missing document is the MacGuffin that brings the two main characters together, but the real story centers on their tumultuous relationship.

"The story opens … at the funeral of elderly Oleander Gardener…. The childless Oleander has several nieces and nephews…. Questions of inheritance and a mysterious seed pod that each of her heirs receives constitute the framework of a tenuous plot, but these are primarily MacGuffins." — The Publisher's Weekly Review, 14 Mar. 2016

  

Did You Know?

The first person to use MacGuffin as a word for a plot device was Alfred Hitchcock. He borrowed it from an old shaggy-dog story in which some passengers on a train interrogate a fellow passenger carrying a large, strange-looking package. The fellow says the package contains a "MacGuffin," which, he explains, is used to catch tigers in the Scottish Highlands. When the group protests that there are no tigers in the Highlands, the passenger replies, "Well, then, this must not be a MacGuffin." Hitchcock apparently appreciated the way the mysterious package holds the audience's attention and builds suspense. He recognized that an audience anticipating a solution to a mystery will continue to follow the story even if the initial interest-grabber turns out to be irrelevant.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Benign   Fri Jun 17, 2016 8:29 pm

Word of the Day: Benign
 
  
adjective  


 

Definition

1 : of a gentle disposition : gracious

2 a : showing kindness and gentleness

b : favorable, wholesome

3 a : of a mild type or character that does not threaten health or life; especially : not becoming cancerous

b : having no significant effect : harmless

Examples

"No doubt the history of this genial, white-haired American emigre was benign, but, still, I remember wondering about his real story, as distinct from the one he was telling me." — Chris Jones, The Chicago Tribune, 29 July 2013

"University of Florida Health researchers say they are making progress in ascertaining whether a kidney tumor is cancerous or benign before a patient is subjected to an invasive needle biopsy or surgery." — TheLedger.com (Polk County, Florida), 5 May 2016

 
 

Did You Know?

Benediction, benefactor, benefit, benevolent, and benign are just some of the English words that derive from the well-tempered Latin root bene, which means "well." Benign came to English via Anglo-French from the Latin benignus, which in turn paired bene with gignere, meaning "to beget." Gignere has produced a few offspring of its own in English. Its descendants include congenital, genius, germ, indigenous, and progenitor, among others. Benign is commonly used in medical contexts to describe conditions, such as noncancerous masses, that present no apparent harm to the patient. It is also found in the phrase benign neglect, which refers to an attitude or policy of ignoring an often delicate or undesirable situation that one has the responsibility to manage.
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