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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Frieze   Sat Oct 22, 2016 8:59 am

Word of the Day: Frieze

noun 

 
Definition

1 : the part of an entablature between the architrave and the cornice

2 : a sculptured or richly ornamented band (as on a building or piece of furniture)

3 : a band, line, or series suggesting a frieze
Examples

"The house commands a hilltop and is forbidding, imposing, but softened with a frieze of beautiful American elms." — Lady Bird Johnson, A White House Diary, 1970

"But many of the iconic features of the old ballpark, such as the curved frieze atop the three-tiered grandstand, have been preserved." — Kevin Baxter, The Los Angeles Times, 17 Aug. 2016



Did You Know?

Today's word is not the only frieze in English. The other frieze refers to a kind of heavy wool fabric. Both of the frieze homographs derive from French, but each entered that language through a different channel. The woolen homograph is from the Middle Dutch word vriese, which also refers to coarse wool. The frieze that we are featuring as our word today is from the Latin word frisium, meaning "embroidered cloth." That word evolved from phrygium and Phrygia, the name of an ancient country of Asia Minor whose people excelled in metalwork, wood carving, and (unsurprisingly) embroidery. That embroidery lineage influenced the use of frieze for the middle division of an entablature, which commonly has a decorated surface resembling embroidered cloth.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Glaucous    Sun Oct 23, 2016 5:43 pm

Word of the Day: Glaucous 

adjective 



 
Definition

1 a : of a pale yellow-green color

b : of a light bluish-gray or bluish-white color

2 : having a powdery or waxy coating that gives a frosted appearance and tends to rub off

Examples

"Her eyes, a clear, glaucous gray, express unambiguous yearning." — Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, 26 May 2016

"Waxy, hard, hairy and glaucous leaves help prevent water loss." — Patrice Hanlon, The Mercury News (California), 10 Aug. 2016




Did You Know?

Glaucous came to English—by way of Latin glaucus—from Greek glaukos, meaning "gleaming" or "gray," and has been used to describe a range of pale colors from a yellow-green to a bluish-gray. The word is often found in horticultural writing describing the pale color of the leaves of various plants as well as the powdery bloom that can be found on some fruits and leaves. The stem glauc- appears in some other English words, the most familiar of which is glaucoma, referring to a disease of the eye that can result in gradual loss of vision. Glauc- also appears in the not-so-familiar glaucope, a word used to describe someone with fair hair and blue eyes (and a companion to cyanope, the term for someone with fair hair and brown eyes).
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Domicile   Mon Oct 24, 2016 7:57 pm

Word of the Day: Domicile 

noun 



 
Definition

1 : a dwelling place : place of residence : home

2 a : a person's fixed, permanent, and principal home for legal purposes

b : the place where a corporation is actually or officially established

Examples

"I got married, when I was 66, to David Bale.... I thought the women's movement has struggled for 25 years to allow marriage to be an equal partnership, so I no longer had to give up my name, my domicile, my credit rating, so why not? — Gloria Steinem, quoted in The Scottish Daily Mail, 29 Feb. 2016

"Meese estimates he moved 20 times during his 32-year military career. While he could have chosen a number of states for his residence, he elected to keep Texas—where he bought his first house—as his domicile." — Maryalene LaPonsie, U.S. News & World Report, 11 Mar. 2016



Did You Know?

Domicile traces to Latin domus, meaning "home," and English speakers have been using it as a word for "home" since at least the 15th century. In the eyes of the law, a domicile can also be a legal residence, the address from which one registers to vote, licenses a car, and pays income tax. Wealthy people may have several homes in which they live at different times of the year, but only one of their homes can be their official domicile for all legal purposes.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Beatific   Wed Oct 26, 2016 8:23 pm

Word of the Day: Beatific 

adjective 




 
Definition

1 : of, possessing, or imparting a state of utmost bliss

2 : having a blissful appearance

Examples

"She was Italian, funny, a beatific tomboy, with just the hint of a lazy eye, and wore a pair of glasses that made me think of the wonders of the library." — Bruce Springsteen, Born to Run, 2016

"Maybe it was the unexpected warmth of the gesture….  Maybe it was his response, the beatific expression on his face, eyes almost closed, head tilted toward her shoulder.… But when Michelle Obama hugged former President George W. Bush … at a ceremony to open the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the image quickly took flight online." — Mark Landler, The New York Times, 26 Sept. 2016



Did You Know?

Beatific—which derives from Latin beatificus, meaning "making happy"—has graced the English language as a word describing things that impart consummate bliss since the 17th century. In theology, the phrase "beatific vision" gained meaning as an allusion to the direct sight of God enjoyed by the blessed in heaven. Today, the word more frequently describes a blissful look or appearance. A closely related word is beatitude, which can refer to a state of utmost bliss or to any of the declarations made by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Myriad    Thu Oct 27, 2016 8:13 pm

Word of the Day: Myriad 

noun 



 
Definition

1 : ten thousand

2 : a great number

Examples

"After sold-out shows in New York and Los Angeles, Rise will make its debut in Boston with a myriad of hand-carved jack o' lanterns that will light up a trail that people can walk on as music plays in the background." — Matt Juul, Boston Magazine, 21 Sept. 2016

"The robust and metallic nest-like venue, which is the first ever arena to be run entirely on solar power, features additional popular local restaurants, grab-and-go fresh fruits and vegetables, a touch of Sacramento history with their refurbished neon signs, and a myriad of local microbreweries." — Michael Morris, The Vallejo (California) Times-Herald, 28 Sept. 2016




Did You Know?

In English, the "ten thousand" sense of myriad mostly appears in references to Ancient Greece, such as the following from English historian Connop Thirwall's History of Greece: "4000 men from Peloponnesus had fought at Thermopylae with 300 myriads." More often, English speakers use myriad in the broad sense—both as a singular noun ("a myriad of tiny particles") and a plural noun ("myriads of tiny particles"). Myriad can also serve as an adjective meaning "innumerable" ("myriad particles"). While some usage commentators criticize the noun use, it's been firmly established in English since the 16th century, and in fact is about 200 years older than the adjective. Myriad comes from Greek myrias, which in turn comes from myrioi, meaning "countless" or "ten thousand."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Variegated   Fri Oct 28, 2016 8:30 pm

Word of the Day: Variegated
 
adjective 

 
Definition

1 : having discrete markings of different colors

2 : various, diverse, varied

Examples

The flower has bright variegated petals.

"Everyone of significance in the region has multiple agendas and variegated geopolitical interests." — Robert Robb, The Arizona Republic, 21 Aug. 2016




Did You Know?

Variegated has been adding color to our language since the 17th century. It is used in botany to describe the presence of two or more colors in the leaves, petals, or other parts of plants, and it also appears in the names of some animals (such as the variegated cutworm). It can be used by the general speaker to refer to anything marked with different colors ("a variegated silk robe," for instance) or to things that are simply various and diverse ("a variegated collection"). Variegated has a variety of relatives in English—it is ultimately derived from the Latin root varius, meaning "varied," which also gave us vary, various, and variety.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Osculate    Sat Oct 29, 2016 9:49 pm

Word of the Day: Osculate 

verb 

 
Definition

: kiss

Examples

"One thing I forgot to ask the guy in the bar: When his significant other ended their relationship, did she at least osculate him goodbye?" — Mike Royko, "Love Lost in Lingo," 3 June 1981

"Attorney Dan Bailey was the officiant-with-a-sense-of-humor, advising the groom, 'You may now osculate your bride.'" — Business Observer (Sarasota, Florida), 24 May 2012




Did You Know?

Osculate comes from the Latin noun osculum, meaning "kiss" or "little mouth." It was included in a dictionary of "hard" words in 1656, but we have no evidence that anyone actually used it until the 19th century—except for scientists who used it differently to mean "to have contact with." Today, osculate is used in geometry for the action of a pair of curves or surfaces that touch so that they have a common tangent at the point of contact. When osculate is used to mean "kiss," the context is typically humorous.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Titivate    Sun Oct 30, 2016 8:27 pm

Word of the Day: Titivate 

verb 



 
Definition

: to make or become smart or spruce

Examples

"It was instantly clear, however, that she had not been idle, but busy titivating: painting her nails, washing her hair, doing her face…." — Rosamunde Pilcher, September, 1990

"I came here as a student …, but I spent more time in Cannon Hill Park two miles from the city centre. I clearly remember watching the gardeners titivate the flower beds and strolling past the lake through the many choice trees." — Val Bourne, The Daily Telegraph (London), 21 May 2016




Did You Know?

Titivate, spruce, smarten, and spiff all mean "to make a person or thing neater or more attractive." Titivate often refers to making small additions or alterations in attire ("titivate the costume with sequins and other accessories"), but it can also be used figuratively (as in "titivating the script for Broadway"). Spruce up is sometimes used for cosmetic changes or renovations that give the appearance of newness ("spruce up the house with new shutters and fresh paint before trying to sell it"). Smarten up and spiff up both mean to improve in appearance often by making more neat or stylish ("the tailor smartened up the suit with minor alterations"; "he needed some time to spiff himself up for the party"). The origins of titivate are uncertain, but it may have been formed from the English words tidy and renovate.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Sepulchre   Mon Oct 31, 2016 9:10 pm

Word of the Day: Sepulchre 

noun 

 
Definition

1 : a place of burial : tomb

2 : a receptacle for religious relics especially in an altar

Examples

"The secrets of business—complicated and often dismal mysteries—were buried in his breast, and never came out of their sepulchre save now…." — Charlotte Brontë, Shirley, 1849

"He had begun making plans for his sepulchre soon after his election to the papacy in 1503, ultimately conceiving of a memorial that was to be the largest since the mausoleums built for Roman emperors such as Hadrian and Augustus." — Ross King, Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling, 2002




Did You Know?

Sepulchre (also spelled sepulcher) first appeared in Middle English around the beginning of the 13th century. It was originally spelled sepulcre, a spelling taken from Anglo-French. Like many words borrowed into English from French, sepulchre has roots buried in Latin. The word arose from Latin sepulcrum, a noun derived from the verb sepelire, meaning "to bury." Sepultus, the past participle of sepelire, gave us—also by way of Anglo-French—the related noun sepulture, which is a synonym of burial and sepulchre.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Gravid    Tue Nov 01, 2016 6:51 pm

Word of the Day: Gravid 

adjective




 
Definition

1 : pregnant

2 : distended with or full of eggs

Examples

"We know by intuition and study that great books approach a condition both above and below human … and our job is to place ourselves somewhere on the continuum between those shifting poles, to welcome a gravid agitation …; to have our personhood both threatened and amplified." — William Giraldi, The New York Times, 26 Jan. 2014

"Her laugh overtakes her.… It's restorative; it brings light into her eyes and her high, round cheekbones into sharp relief. She has a radiance sometimes, almost gravid, and it's usually when she's been laughing." — Tom Junod, Esquire, 1 Feb. 2016



Did You Know?

Gravid comes from Latin gravis, meaning "heavy." It can refer to a female who is literally pregnant, and it also has the figurative meanings of pregnant: "full or teeming" and "meaningful." Thus, a writer may be gravid with ideas as she sits down to write; a cloud may be gravid with rain; or a speaker may make a gravid pause before announcing his remarkable findings.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Temerarious   Wed Nov 02, 2016 2:40 pm

Word of the Day: Temerarious

adjective 




 
Definition

: marked by temerity : rashly or presumptuously daring

Examples

"Nissan execs are proud of their new 'flagship crossover,' as they call the 2015 Murano, throwing around further clichés like 'concept car for the street' and talking about how much the interior resembles a 'lounge on wheels.' Which is by an appropriate measure less temerarious than the concept's press release, which proclaimed that designers had drawn inspiration from 'the futuristic allure of hypersonic travel.'" — Jeff Sabatini, CarandDriver.com, December 2014

"More important still—and here he is perceived as either temerarious or feckless—[Pope] Francis has departed radically from his predecessors in that he actively encourages his bishops … to speak boldly when addressing him and in assembly…." — Michael W. Higgins, The Globe and Mail, 13 Mar. 2015



Did You Know?

If you have guessed that temerarious may be related to the somewhat more common word temerity, you are correct. Temerarious was borrowed into English in the early 16th century from Latin temerarius, which in turn derives from Latin temere, meaning "blindly" or "recklessly." Temerity, which arrived in English over a century earlier, also derives from temere; another descendant is the rare word intemerate,meaning "pure" or "undefiled." Temere itself is akin to Old High German demar, Latin tenebrae, and Sanskrit tamas, all of which have associations with darkness.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Echelon    Thu Nov 03, 2016 7:50 pm

Word of the Day: Echelon  

noun 


 
Definition

1 : a steplike arrangement (as of troops or airplanes)

2 a : one of a series of levels or grades in an organization or field of activity

b : a group of individuals at a particular level or grade in an organization

Examples

"And I think that … there are more conservatives in Hollywood than one would think in all echelons, even among the actors." — Jon Voight, speaking on the Fox News Network, 9 Sept. 2016

"There were those in the upper echelons of network news who caught a bit of that altitude sickness and thought it was their job to massage the news on behalf of a greater good only they could see." — Dalton Delan, The Berkshire Eagle (Pittsfield, Massachusetts), 23 Sept. 2016




Did You Know?

Echelon is a useful word for anyone who is climbing the ladder of success. It traces back to scala, a Late Latin word meaning "ladder" that was the ancestor of the Old French eschelon, meaning "rung of a ladder." Over time, the French word (which is échelon in Modern French) came to mean "step," "grade," or "level." When it was first borrowed into English in the 18th century, echelon referred specifically to a steplike arrangement of troops, but it now usually refers to a level or category within an organization or group of people.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Dicker    Fri Nov 04, 2016 5:09 pm

Word of the Day: Dicker 

verb



 
Definition

: to bargain

Examples

"Long before Walt Disney thought to sell toys based on his cartoon characters, [Edgar Rice] Burroughs was dickering with toy manufacturers for Tarzan tie-ins." — Tim Martin, The Telegraph (United Kingdom), 7 July 2016

"As in any divorce, the lawyers will commence dickering, mostly behind closed doors. As in any celeb divorce, the usual unnamed 'sources' will commence leaking like sieves to favored media to benefit one side or the other." — Maria Puente, USA Today, 21 Sept. 2016



Did You Know?

Etymologists aren't exactly sure of the origins of the verb dicker; however, there is a probability that it arose from the bartering of animal hides on the American frontier. The basis of that theory is founded on the noun dicker, which in English can refer to a quantity of ten hides. That word is derived from decuria, the Latin word for a bundle of ten hides, and ultimately from Latin decem, meaning "ten" (to learn why the month December comes from the Latin word decem, click here). In ancient Rome, a decuria became a unit of bartering. The word entered Middle English as dyker and eventually evolved to dicker. It has been posited that the verb emerged from the bargaining between traders over dickers of hides, but not all etymologists are sold on that idea.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Cavalcade   Sat Nov 05, 2016 10:27 am

Word of the Day: Cavalcade 

noun 




 
Definition

1 a : a procession of riders or carriages

b : a procession of vehicles or ships

2 : a dramatic sequence or procession : series

Examples

"Giant helium balloons, beautifully decorated, horse-drawn carriages and antique cars, along with uniformed cavalcades performing their routines, will thrill parade goers." — San Antonio Magazine, 22 Apr. 2016

"In the first video released by the PAC, a cavalcade of Hollywood's finest appear to underline the importance of voting in November's election. From 'Avengers' alumni Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson … to Julianne Moore, Keegan-Michael Key, … and many more …" — Libby Hill, The Los Angeles Times, 21 Sept. 2016




Did You Know?

When cavalcade was first used in English, it meant "a horseback ride" or "a march or raid made on horseback." Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, used it this way in his 1647 History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England: "He had with some Troops, made a Cavalcade or two into the West." From there came the "procession of riders" meaning and eventual applications to processions in a broader sense. Cavalcade came to English via French from the Old Italian noun cavalcata, which in turn came from an Old Italian verb, cavalcare, meaning "to go on horseback." Ultimately, these words came from the Latin word caballus, meaning "horse." The combining form –cade also appears in other words describing particular kinds of processions, such as motorcade or the less common aquacade.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Mollify    Sun Nov 06, 2016 12:56 pm

Word of the Day: Mollify 

verb 

 
Definition

1 : to soothe in temper or disposition : appease

2 : to reduce the rigidity of : soften

3 : to reduce in intensity : assuage, temper

Examples

"To some extent, the delay also was intended to mollify the concerns of county leaders that police and fire service responsibilities were being shoved at them on an abrupt timetable, potentially to the detriment of affected residents." — Lawrence Specker, AL.com, 30 Aug. 2016

"If there were any doubt that Roark, with his 15 wins and top-five ERA, could be a reliable No. 2 starter if Stephen Strasburg cannot pitch in October, he has done all he could to mollify it. He has now thrown 200 innings for the first time. He still leads the league with nine starts of seven or more scoreless innings." — Chelsea Janes, The Washington Post, 21 Sept. 2016


Did You Know?

Mollify, pacify, appease, and placate all mean "to ease the anger or disturbance of," although each implies a slightly different way of pouring oil on troubled waters. Pacify suggests the restoration of a calm or peaceful state, while appease implies the quieting of insistent demands by making concessions; you can appease appetites and desires as well as persons. Placate is similar to appease, but it often indicates a more complete transformation of bitterness to goodwill. Mollify, with its root in Latin mollis, meaning "soft," implies soothing hurt feelings or anger.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Auriferous    Mon Nov 07, 2016 11:58 am

Word of the Day: Auriferous 

adjective 



 
Definition

: containing gold

Examples

The mining company has discovered many auriferous deposits throughout the region.

"Development … on the east flank of the Huachuca Mountains occurred after the 1911 discovery of a gold nugget weighing 22 ounces, probably originating from auriferous quartz veins found in the granite beds upstream." — William Ascarza, The Arizona Daily Star (Tucson, AZ), 26 Sept. 2016




Did You Know?

Students in chemistry class learn that the chemical symbol for gold is Au. That symbol is based on aurum, the Latin word for the element. In the 17th century, English speakers coined auriferous by appending the -ous ending to the Latin adjective aurifer, an offspring of aurum that means "containing gold" or "producing gold." (The -fer is from ferre, a Latin verb meaning "to produce" or "to bear.") Not surprisingly, auriferous is a term that shows up in geological contexts. Some other descendants of aurum include aureate ("of a golden color" or "marked by grandiloquent style"), auric ("of, relating to, or derived from gold"), and the noun or ("the heraldic color gold or yellow").
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Bully pulpit    Tue Nov 08, 2016 7:58 am

Word of the Day: Bully pulpit  

noun 


 
Definition

: a prominent public position (as a political office) that provides an opportunity for expounding one's views; also : such an opportunity

Examples

"Candidates for governor like to make people think they set the vision. But the governor has a bully pulpit and little else. He or she may be in a position to push or prod or convene a task force or two, but nothing happens if the other players don't agree." — Jay Evensen, The Deseret News (Salt Lake City, Utah), 28 Sept. 2016

"Land use is a local responsibility, and the federal government has limited power to make cities build more housing. Still, the Obama administration is increasingly using the bully pulpit to tell urban progressives that if they care about income inequality, they ought to care about building more housing.'" — Kerry Cavanaugh, The Los Angeles Times, 26 Sept. 2016



Did You Know?

Bully pulpit comes from the 26th U.S. President, Theodore Roosevelt, who observed that the White House was a bully pulpit. For Roosevelt, bully was an adjective meaning "excellent" or "first-rate"—not the noun bully ("a blustering, browbeating person") that's so common today. Roosevelt understood the modern presidency's power of persuasion and recognized that it gave the incumbent the opportunity to exhort, instruct, or inspire. He took full advantage of his bully pulpit, speaking out about the danger of monopolies, the nation's growing role as a world power, and other issues important to him. Since the 1970s, bully pulpit has been used as a term for an office—especially a political office—that provides one with the opportunity to share one's views.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Triptych   Wed Nov 09, 2016 5:59 am

Word of the Day: Triptych
 
noun 


 
Definition

1 : an ancient Roman writing tablet with three waxed leaves hinged together

2 a : a picture (such as an altarpiece) or carving in three panels side by side

b : something composed or presented in three parts or sections; especially : trilogy

Examples

The panels of the triptych illustrated the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity.
"'Certain Women,' her latest film and arguably the most precise expression of [Kelly] Reichardt's vision to date, is a triptych based on three short stories by the Montana-raised author Maile Meloy." — Alice Gregory, The New York Times, 16 Oct. 2016



Did You Know?

A painted or carved triptych typically has three hinged panels, and the two outer panels can be folded in towards the central one. A literary or musical triptych generally consists of three closely related or contrasting themes or parts. Triptych derives from the Greek triptychos ("having three folds"), formed by combining tri- ("three") and ptychē ("fold" or "layer"). Although triptych originally described a specific type of Roman writing tablet that had three hinged sections, it is not surprising that the idea was generalized first to a type of painting, and then to anything composed of three parts.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day:Elicit    Thu Nov 10, 2016 5:24 am

Word of the Day:Elicit 

verb 


 
Definition

1 : to draw forth or bring out (something latent or potential)

2 : to call forth or draw out (as information or a response)

Examples

The announcement of the final amount raised by the charity walk elicited many cheers from the crowd.

"But the big question is whether fragments of pottery, fraying textiles and decaying manuscripts can elicit excitement these days when people are glued to technology." — Ruth Eglash, The Washington Post, 26 Oct. 2016




Did You Know?

Elicit derives from the past participle of the Latin verb elicere, formed by combining the prefix e- (meaning "away") with the verb lacere, meaning "to entice by charm or attraction." It is not related to its near-homophone, the adjective illicit—that word, meaning "unlawful," traces back to another Latin verb, licēre, meaning "to be permitted." Nor is elicit related to the verb solicit, even though it sounds like it should be. Solicit derives from Latin sollicitare ("to disturb"), formed by combining the adjective sollus, meaning "whole," with the past participle of the verb ciēre, meaning "to move."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Ukase   Fri Nov 11, 2016 6:45 am

Word of the Day: Ukase  

noun 



 
Definition

1 : a proclamation by a Russian emperor or government having the force of law

2 a : a proclamation having the force of law

b : order, command
Examples

"On December 31, 1810, the Emperor issued a ukase lifting all restrictions on exports from Russia and on imports coming by sea, while at the same time imposing a heavy tariff on goods arriving overland, most of which came from France." — James Traub, John Quincy Adams: Militant Spirit, 2016

"The Department of Education has issued a ukase … on the use of exclamation marks by seven-year-olds.… Education ministers have concluded that seven-year-olds are …  unhealthily addicted to exclamation points …, and have decreed that in this summer's grammar tests for primary school pupils, sentences concluding with an exclamation point may be marked correct only if they begin with How or What." — Jane Shilling, The Daily Telegraph (London), 7 Mar. 2016



Did You Know?

English speakers adopted ukase more or less simultaneously from French (ukase) and Russian (ukaz) in the early 18th century. The word can be traced further back to the Russian verb ukazat', meaning "to show" or "to order," and its ultimate source is an ancient root that led to similar words in Latin, Sanskrit, and Old Church Slavic. A Russian ukase was a command from the highest levels of government that could not be disobeyed. But by the early 19th century, English speakers were also using ukase generally for any command that seemed to come from a higher authority, particularly one that was final or arbitrary.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Facetious    Sat Nov 12, 2016 8:28 am

Word of the Day: Facetious 

adjective 

 
Definition

1 : joking or jesting often inappropriately : waggish

2 : meant to be humorous or funny : not serious

Examples

"My proposal to tax estates heavily is neither entirely serious nor wholly facetious." — Martha Viehmann, The Cincinnati (Ohio) Enquirer, 17 Aug. 2016

"When I was a kid, I wanted to be a garbage man. I'm not being facetious or silly…. As a four-year-old, my room window faced the street, and I remember being mesmerized by these wild guys waking me up twice a week. They were raucous and loud, they yelled and threw things around with reckless abandon, they dangerously climbed on and hung off a large moving vehicle…." — Andy Nulman, quoted in The Globe and Mail, 11 Sept. 2016




Did You Know?

Facetious—which puzzle fans know is one of the few English words containing the vowels a, e, i, o, u in order—came to English from the Middle French word facetieux, which traces to the Latin word facetia, meaning "jest." Facetia seems to have made only one other lasting contribution to the English language: facetiae, meaning "witty or humorous writings or sayings." Facetiae, which comes from the plural of facetia and is pronounced \fuh-SEE-shee-ee\ or \fuh-SEE-shee-eye\, is a far less common word than facetious, but it does show up occasionally. For example, American essayist Louis Menand used it in his 2002 book American Studies to describe the early days of The New Yorker. "The New Yorker," he wrote, "started as a hectic book of gossip, cartoons, and facetiae."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Sabot    Sun Nov 13, 2016 7:30 am

Word of the Day: Sabot  

noun




 
Definition

1 a : a wooden shoe worn in various European countries

b : a strap across the instep in a shoe especially of the sandal type; also : a shoe having a sabot strap 

2 : a thrust-transmitting carrier that positions a missile in a gun barrel or launching tube and that 
prevents the escape of gas ahead of the missile 

3 : a dealing box designed to hold several decks of playing cards

Examples

"The spin imparted by rifling lets slugs separate cleanly from the sabot, makes them fly true, and allows them to expand." — Phil Bourjaily, Field & Stream, November 2014

"The man is a venerable but unprepossessing figure; he rests his hands on a cane, he has sabots on his feet, wears cinched gaiters over his trousers and has two medals on his greatcoat." — Michael Prodger, The New Statesman, 17 June 2015



Did You Know?

The term sabot may have first been introduced into English in a 1607 translation from French: "wooden shoes," readers were informed, are "properly called sabots." The gun-related sense appeared in the mid-1800s with the invention of a wooden gizmo that kept gun shells from shifting in the gun barrel. Apparently, someone thought the device resembled a wooden shoe and named it sabot (with later generations of this device carrying on the name). Another kind of French sabot—a metal "shoe" used to secure rails to railway ties—is said to be the origin of the word sabotage, from workers destroying the sabots during a French railway strike in the early 1900s. The word sabot is probably related to savate, a Middle French word for an old shoe.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Hoke   Mon Nov 14, 2016 6:28 am

Word of the Day: Hoke 

verb 



 
Definition

: to give a contrived, falsely impressive, or hokey quality to — usually used with up

Examples

"Its okay that everybody looks great, though certain scenes seem hoked up. A black cat crossing the path of a motorcade about to explode feels more like Hollywood moviemaking than truth telling…." — D.J. Palladino, The Santa Barbara Independent, 10 Jan. 2013

"'Concussion' has the sober, patient earnestness of a lawyer preparing a major case—it's a dramatization of true events and occasionally hoked up in the finest Hollywood tradition, but it wants to stir you into being convinced instead of the other way around." — Ty Burr, The Boston Globe, 25 Dec. 2015




Did You Know?

Hoke is a back-formation of hokum, which was probably created as a blend of hocus-pocus and bunkum. Hokum is a word for the theatrical devices used to evoke a desired audience response. The verb hoke appeared in the early 20th century and was originally used (as it still can be today) when actors performed in an exaggerated or overly sentimental way. Today, it is often used adjectivally in the form hoked-up, as in "hoked-up dialogue." The related word hokey was coined soon after hoke to describe things that are corny or phony.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Quid pro quo   Tue Nov 15, 2016 5:50 am

Word of the Day: Quid pro quo

noun 




 
Definition

: something given or received for something else; also : a deal arranging such an exchange
Examples

"PA officials say they have no evidence [the employees] engaged in a quid quo pro, in which they green-light the PA's purchase of wasteful insurance policies in return for the gifts or considerations, but rather suspect they turned a blind eye to their responsibilities." — Philip Messing, The New York Post, 26 July 2013

"On the face of it, Canada's agreement to enter into talks on an extradition treaty looks a lot like a quid pro quo for the welcome release of Kevin Garratt, the Canadian missionary imprisoned on trumped-up espionage charges." — The Toronto Star, 23 Sept. 2016




Did You Know?

In the early 16th century, a quid pro quo was something obtained from an apothecary. That's because when quid pro quo (New Latin for "something for something") was first used in English, it referred to the process of substituting one medicine for another—whether intentionally (and sometimes fraudulently) or accidentally. The meaning of the phrase was quickly extended, however, and within several decades it was being used for more general equivalent exchanges. These days, it often occurs in legal contexts.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Jejune    Wed Nov 16, 2016 4:07 am

Word of the Day: Jejune 

adjective 



 
Definition

1 : lacking nutritive value

2 : devoid of significance or interest : dull

3 : juvenile, puerile

Examples

"I have not, however, been a fan of the Broadway singer … in the past, and her jejune performances here—complete with some tap dancing that belied the lyrics of 'I Got Rhythm'—did not convert me." — Anne Midgette, The Washington Post, 22 Sept. 2015

"He complains about wasting his talent 'writing songs for frogs' (he is a composer of jejune melodies for a children's television show called Mr. Bungee's Lily Pad)." — Nancy Chen, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 21 Oct. 2016



Did You Know?

Starved for excitement? You won't get it from something jejune. That term derives from the Latin jejunus, which means "empty of food," "meager," or "hungry." Back in the 1600s, English speakers used jejune in senses very similar to those of its Latin parent, lamenting "jejune appetites" and "jejune morsels." Something that is meager rarely satisfies, and before long jejune was being used not only for meager meals or hunger, but for things wanting in intellectual or emotional substance. The word most likely gained its "childish" sense when people confused it with the look-alike French word jeune, which means "young."
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