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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Fillip    Sun Dec 11, 2016 8:45 am

Word of the Day: Fillip 
 
verb 




Definition

1 a : to strike by holding the nail of a finger against the ball of the thumb and then suddenly releasing it from that position

b : to make a filliping motion with

2 : to project quickly by or as if by a filliping motion : snap

3 : to urge on : stimulate

Examples

As their parents finished up dinner, the two boys entertained themselves at the table by filliping crumbs into an overturned cup.

"He leaves behind a business … which senior sources say will deliver record pre-tax profits in the region of [euros] 30 million this year, filliped by strong fundraising and private client business and surging stock markets." — Róisín Burke, The Sunday Business Post (Ireland), 7 Dec. 2014




Did You Know?

Like flip and flick, fillip is considered a phonetic imitation of the sharp release of a curled-up finger aimed to strike something. Language history suggests that people were filliping in the 15th-century, well before they were flipping and flicking. Specifically, fillip describes a strike or gesture made by the sudden straightening of a finger curled up against the thumb—a motion commonly referred to as a flick. It didn't take long before the sensational stinging smartness of filliping was extended to figurative use. "I mark this in our old Mogul's wine; it's quite as deadening to some as filliping to others," observes Herman Melville's Dutch sailor of wine's "stimulating" effect in Moby Dick.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Methuselah   Mon Dec 12, 2016 8:49 am

Word of the Day: Methuselah
 
noun 




Definition

1 : an ancestor of Noah held to have lived 969 years

2 : an oversize wine bottle holding about six liters

Examples

The winery has started bottling their champagne in Methuselahs.

"People still write of the Krug 1928 as the best bottle of wine made in the last century. A bottle of it sold in 2009 for $21,200, and that wasn't a 6-liter Methuselah. It was a standard 750 milliliters of amazing." — Julie Glenn, The News-Press (Fort Myers, FL), 21 Jan. 2015




Did You Know?

What do Jeroboam, Methuselah, Salmanazar, Balthazar, and Nebuchadnezzar have in common? Larger-than-life biblical figures all, yes (four kings and a venerable patriarch), but they're all also names of oversized wine bottles. A Jeroboam is usually the equivalent of about four 750-milliliter bottles (about 3 liters). One Methuselah holds about eight standard bottles' worth, a Salmanazar 12, a Balthazar 16, and a Nebuchadnezzar a whopping 20. (Each of these terms is also sometimes styled lowercase.) No one knows who decided to use those names for bottles, but we do know that by the 1800s Jeroboam was being used for large goblets or "enormous bottles of fabulous content." It wasn't until sometime early in the 20th century that Methuselah and all the other names were chosen for specific bottle sizes.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Hors de combat    Tue Dec 13, 2016 9:35 am

Word of the Day: Hors de combat
 
adverb or adjective 




Definition

: out of combat : disabled

Examples

The quarterback suffered a concussion in last week's game that put him hors de combat until cleared to play by the team's doctor.

"'Tis the season of software upgrades and updates. Yesterday the Windows machine took it into its head to update itself without so much as asking permission. The PC was hors de combat for an hour or so." — Terry Lane, The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 Oct. 2016



Did You Know?

We picked up hors de combat directly from French back in the mid-18th century. Benjamin Franklin put the term to use in a 1776 letter, observing that an "arrow sticking in any part of a man puts him hors du [sic] combat till it is extracted." But you don't have to use the word as literally as Franklin did. Combat can refer to any fight or contest, not just fighting in a war. A politician who's out of the running in a political race could be declared "hors de combat," for example. But the adjective (or adverb) need not refer only to humans or animals: if you own a car, chances are your vehicle has been hors de combat at least once.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Kapellmeister    Wed Dec 14, 2016 5:35 am

Word of the Day: Kapellmeister  

noun 




Definition

: (often capitalized Kapellmeister) the director of a choir or orchestra

Examples

The Kapellmeister brought his hands up slowly to signal to the musicians a shift to a slower tempo.
"Schwader joined them onstage for an account of the apparently dagger-toting Johann Sebastian Bach's tussle with a bassoonist he allegedly insulted. Using a humorous German accent during dialogue, it was an amusing anecdotal introduction to the portly bewigged Kapellmeister we recognize from portraits and intricate counterpoint…." — Libby Hanssen, The Kansas City Star, 13 November 2016



Did You Know?

As you may have guessed, Kapellmeister originated as a German word—and in fact, even in English it is often (though not always) used for the director of a German choir. Kapelle once meant "choir" in German, and Meister is the German word for "master." The Latin magister is an ancestor of both Meister and master, as well as of our maestro, meaning "an eminent composer or conductor." Kapelle comes from cappella, the Medieval Latin word for "chapel." As it happens, we also borrowed Kapelle into English, first to refer to the choir or orchestra of a royal or papal chapel, and later to describe any orchestra. Kapellmeister is used somewhat more frequently than Kapelle in current English, though neither word is especially common.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Jubilee   Thu Dec 15, 2016 7:43 am

Word of the Day: Jubilee
  
noun 




Definition

1 : (often capitalized Jubilee) a year of emancipation and restoration provided by ancient Hebrew law to be kept every 50 years by the emancipation of Hebrew slaves, restoration of alienated lands to their former owners, and omission of all cultivation of the land

2 : a special anniversary; especially : a 50th anniversary

3 : a period of time proclaimed by the Roman Catholic pope ordinarily every 25 years as a time of special solemnity

4 : a state of joy or rejoicing : jubilation

5 : a religious song of black Americans usually referring to a time of future happiness

Examples

My grandparents will be celebrating their golden jubilee this year—as Grandpa puts it, "50 years of wedded bliss and occasional blisters."

"Thousands gathered around Buckingham Palace Monday night to celebrate Queen Elizabeth's diamond jubilee with a gala concert that featured international superstars Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John and Stevie Wonder, offering music from every decade of the queen's 60-year reign." — Mackenzie Carpenter, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 5 Jun. 2012




Did You Know?

According to Leviticus, every 50th year was to be a time when Hebrew slaves were set free, lands were given back to their former owners, and the fields were not harvested. This year of liberty was announced when a ram's horn was blown. In Hebrew, that ceremonial horn was called a yōbhēl, and the celebratory year took its name from that of the horn. As the Bible was translated into other languages, the concept of the yōbhēl spread around the world, as did its name (albeit with spelling modifications). In Latin, yōbhēl was transcribed as jubilaeus (influenced by Latin jubilare, meaning "to let out joyful shouts"). French-speakers adopted the word as jubilé, and English-speakers created jubilee from the French and Latin forms.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Impetuous   Fri Dec 16, 2016 6:53 am

Word of the Day: Impetuous
  
adjective 




Examples

1 : marked by impulsive vehemence or passion 

2 : marked by force and violence of movement or action

Examples

The impetuous winds forced the hikers to postpone their expedition to the mountain's peak.

"… you care so much that you want to get it right and you're not going to indulge in either impetuous or, in some cases, manufactured responses that make good sound bites but don't produce results. The stakes are too high to play those games." — Barack Obama, quoted in The Atlantic, 10 Mar. 2016




Did You Know?

When we borrowed impetuous in the late 14th century, we used it of people and their actions. About a hundred years later, we added another sense to describe physical things like wind or storms or seas—this second sense we don't use much anymore. The word comes via Anglo-French from Late Latin impetuosus, which is from impetus. Latin impetus (which of course gave us our own impetus, meaning "driving force") essentially means "assault," but it also has figurative senses ranging from "violence" to "ardor." Our impetuous has a similar range of meaning, from "violent" to "passionate." It also carries the suggestion of impulsiveness. Often, we put a light touch on the word, as when we refer—somewhat longingly, perhaps—to our "impetuous youth."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Lave   Sat Dec 17, 2016 8:59 am

Word of the Day: Lave
  
verb 




Definition

1 a : wash, bathe

b : to flow along or against

2 : pour

Examples

"The captain walked up past the horses holding his arm and he knelt and drank and laved water over the back of his neck with his good hand." — Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses, 1992

"On that first day she rode out to the beach on the ocean side of the island, dismounted to walk along the sand and watch the breakers lave the shore, and felt, for a moment, wholly content." — Sara Taylor, The Shore, 2015
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Gallimaufry   Sun Dec 18, 2016 10:03 am

Word of the Day: Gallimaufry 

noun 



Definition

: a heterogeneous mixture : jumble

Examples

The essay collection covers a gallimaufry of subjects, from stamp collecting to Portuguese cooking.

"Upon entering the gallery, one of the first things that catches my eye is a gallimaufry of vibrant, oversized collages." — Rosalie Spear, The Las Vegas Weekly, 29 Mar. 2016




Did You Know?

If the word gallimaufry doesn't make your mouth water, it may be because you don't know its history. In the 16th century, Middle-French speaking cooks made a meat stew called galimafree. It must have been a varied dish because English speakers chose its name for any mix or jumble of things. If gallimaufry isn't to your taste, season your speech with one of its synonyms: hash (which can be a muddle of chopped meat and potatoes), hotchpotch (a stew or a hodgepodge), or potpourri (another stew turned medley).
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PostSubject: Word of the day: Nosocomial   Mon Dec 19, 2016 8:18 am

Word of the day:  Nosocomial
 
adjective 




Definition

: acquired or occurring in a hospital

Examples

A minor nosocomial outbreak of the disease occurred when doctors failed to diagnose the infected patient's illness in time.

"… there are things we handle a lot and never really clean. One study, for instance, found that about 95 percent of mobile phones carried by health care workers were contaminated with nosocomial bacteria." — Aaron E. Carroll, The New York Times, 18 Oct. 2016




Did You Know?

Nosocomial is a word that usually occurs in formal medical contexts—specifically, in reference to hospital-acquired sickness. We hope you never encounter nosocomial as part of your own medical diagnosis, but if you do, you might want to remember that the term descends from nosocomium, the Late Latin word for "hospital." Nosocomium in turn traces to the Greek nosos, meaning "disease." That root has given English other words as well, including zoonosis ("a disease communicable from animals to humans under natural conditions") and nosology ("a classification or list of diseases" or "a branch of medical science that deals with classification of diseases").
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Eternize    Tue Dec 20, 2016 9:07 am

Word of the Day: Eternize  

Verb

Definition

1 a : to make eternal 

b : to prolong indefinitely

2 : immortalize

Examples

The photograph eternizes the joy that Colin felt when he held his daughter in his arms for the first time.
"Sometimes it seems that Hopper (1882-1967) could have eternized almost any undistinguished moment of introspection or inaction in anyone's life. That's why his paintings can make us wonder about the opportunities for consciousness and revelation we have been blind to in ourselves." — Roberta Smith, The New York Times, 6 June 2013




Did You Know?

Eternize shows up in the works of literary greats, such as John Milton, Edmund Spenser, and Herman Melville, and it sees occasional use in modern-day sources, but it is far from common. The same can be said of its slightly longer and related synonym eternalize. Eternize is the older of the two; our earliest evidence of the word dates to 1566, while evidence of eternalize dates to 1620. But there's a third relative that predates them both, and it's far more common than either of them. That would be eternal, which has been with us since the 14th century. All three words are ultimately rooted in Latin aevum, meaning "age" or "eternity."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Purlieu   Wed Dec 21, 2016 8:45 am

Word of the Day: Purlieu
 
noun 




Definition

1 a : an outlying or adjacent district

b : (plural) environs, neighborhood

2 a : a frequently visited place : haunt

b : (plural) confines, bounds

Examples

"The boy, desperately nervous, continued to descend the zig-zag paths that would take him into the very purlieus of his father's house." — Ford Madox Ford, Last Post, 1928

"This is the biggest casino in the world…. It's open day and night, and entry is free, so there's no reason (assuming you're over 21) not to take a stroll through its gilded purlieus." — Ed Peters, The Telegraph (London), 13 Sept. 2016


  

Did You Know?

In medieval England, if you wished to assert the extent of your land, you might hold a ceremony called a perambulation, in which you would walk around and record your property's boundaries in the presence of witnesses. If your land bordered a royal forest, there could be some confusion about where your land started and the royal forest ended. By performing a perambulation, you could gain some degree of ownership over disputed forest tracts, although your use of them would be restricted by forest laws. Such regained forest property was called a purlewe (or as it was later spelled, purlieu), which derives from the Anglo-French word for "perambulation."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Crepuscular    Thu Dec 22, 2016 5:27 am

Word of the Day: Crepuscular 
 
adjective 




Definition

1 : of, relating to, or resembling twilight : dim

2 : occurring or active during the twilight

Examples

"After dinner they went out on the terrace for a look at the moon-misted park. Through the crepuscular whiteness the trees hung in blotted masses." — Edith Wharton, The Reef, 1912

"Rabbits are crepuscular feeders, which means they tend to leave their burrows in the twilight hours around sunset and sunrise to eat." — Joan Morris, The Mercury News (California), 24 Aug. 2016




Did You Know?

The early Romans had two words for the twilight. Crepusculum was favored by Roman writers for the half-light of evening, just after the sun sets; it is a diminutive formation based on their word for "dusky," which is creper. Diluculum was reserved for morning twilight, just before the sun rises—it is related to lucidus, meaning "bright." We didn't embrace either of these Latin nouns as substitutes for our Middle English twilight, but we did form the adjective crepuscular in the 17th century. At first, it only meant "dim" or "indistinct," often used in a figurative sense. In the 1820s, we added its special zoological sense, describing animals that are most active at twilight.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Ruminate   Fri Dec 23, 2016 8:22 am

Word of the Day: Ruminate
 
verb 




Definition

1 : to engage in contemplation : meditate

2 : to chew again what has been chewed slightly and swallowed : chew the cud

Examples

For her final column of the year, Francine ruminated on the subject of new beginnings.
"The presence of large forage particles or undigested grains may indicate that cows are not ruminating properly or that rumen passage rate is accelerated." — Paul Kononoff, Dairy Herd Management, 6 Apr. 2016




Did You Know?

When you ruminate, you chew something over, either literally or figuratively. Literal rumination may seem a little gross to humans, but to cows, chewing your cud (that's partially digested food brought up from the stomach for another chew) is just a natural part of life. Figurative ruminating is much more palatable to humans; that kind of deep, meditative thought is often deemed quite a worthy activity. The verb ruminate has described metaphorical chewing over since the early 1500s and actual chewing since later that same century. Our English word derives from and shares the meanings of the Latin ruminari, which in turn derives from rumen, the Latin name for the first stomach compartment of ruminant animals (that is, creatures like cows that chew their cud).
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Dreidel    Sat Dec 24, 2016 9:13 am

Word of the Day: Dreidel 

noun 




Definition

1 : a 4-sided toy marked with Hebrew letters and spun like a top in a game of chance

2 : a children's game of chance played especially at Hanukkah with a dreidel

Examples

The adults chatted in the living room while the children amused themselves by playing dreidel.

"He has bought a range of items, including a book on the mystical Jewish practice kabbalah and a glass dreidel." — Zoe Greenberg, The New York Times, 2 Oct. 2016




Did You Know?

On each of the dreidel's four sides is inscribed a Hebrew letter—nun, gimel, he, and shin—which together stands for "Nes gadol haya sham," meaning "A great miracle happened there" (in Israel, the letter pe, short for po, "here," is often used instead of shin). This phrase refers to the miracle of the small amount of oil—enough for one day—which burned for eight days in the Temple of Jerusalem. But when playing dreidel, the letters have a more utilitarian significance. The dreidel is spun and depending on which letter is on top when it lands, the player's currency—be it pennies or candy—is added to or taken from the pot. (Nun means the player does nothing; gimel means the player gets everything; he means the player gets half; and shin means the player adds to the pot.) The word dreidel was borrowed into English early in the 20th century from the Yiddish dreydl (itself from the word dreyen, which means "to turn").
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Wassail   Sun Dec 25, 2016 7:16 am

Word of the Day: Wassail 

verb 



Definition

1 : to indulge in riotous drinking : carouse

2 : (dialectal, England) to sing carols from house to house at Christmas

3 : to drink to the health or thriving of

Examples

Every year at Christmastime the magazine publishes a recipe for a traditional drink that can be used to wassail one's friends, neighbors, and family members.

"In the middle of January we come into the orchards to wassail these trees, singing their praises, and driving evil spirits from their branches with screaming and gunshots." — Pete Brown, The Apple Orchard, 2016



Did You Know?

The salutation wassail, from the Old Norse toast ves heill ("be well"), has accompanied English toast-making since the 12th century. By the 14th century, wassail was being used for the drink itself, and it eventually came to be used especially of a hot drink (of wine, beer, or cider with spices, sugar, and usually baked apples) drunk around Christmastime. This beverage warmed the stomachs and hearts of many Christmas revelers and was often shared with Christmas carolers. In the 14th century the verb wassail also came to describe the carousing associated with indulgence in the drink; later, it was used of other activities associated with wassail and the holiday season, like caroling. 17th-century farmers added cattle and trees to the wassail tradition by drinking to their health or vitality during wintertime festivities.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Kwanzaa   Mon Dec 26, 2016 8:44 am

Word of the Day: Kwanzaa

  
noun 




Definition

: an African-American cultural festival held from December 26 to January 1

Examples

A joyous family spirit pervaded the Allen family's Kwanzaa celebration as three generations came together for a delightful meal and a beautiful candle-lighting ceremony.

"The dynamic, multicultural Forces of Nature Dance Company celebrates Kwanzaa with dance, music, drumming and audience-engaging activities." — Jill Schensul, NorthJersey.com, 21 Nov. 2016




Did You Know?

In 1966, Maulana Karenga, a Black Studies professor at California State University at Long Beach, created a new holiday patterned after traditional African harvest festivals. He called it Kwanzaa, a name he took from a Swahili term that means "first fruits." The holiday, which takes place from December 26th to January 1st, was originally intended as a nonreligious celebration of family and social values. Each day of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of seven principles: unity, self-determination, collective responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Veridical    Tue Dec 27, 2016 5:45 am

Word of the Day: Veridical 

 
adjective 




Definition

1 : truthful, veracious

2 : not illusory : genuine

Examples

"All psychotherapies are based on the fact that memory is not veridical, that unconscious desires and fantasies exert their force on us all.…" — Henry Kaminer, The Weekly Standard, 31 July 2000

"In this book, therefore, 'perception' is used to cover all sensory experience, whether veridical or not." — Jeffrey Gray, Consciousness: Creeping Up on the Hard Problem, 2004




Did You Know?

We'll tell only the truth here: veridical comes from the Latin word veridicus, which itself is from two other Latin words: verus, meaning "true," and dicere, meaning "to say." Verus is an ancestor of several English words, among them verity, verify, and very (which originally meant "true"). The word verdict is related to veridical on both sides of the family: it also traces back to verus and dicere. Veridical itself is the least common of the verus words. You're most likely to encounter it in contexts dealing with psychology and philosophy.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Ultima    Wed Dec 28, 2016 8:36 am

Word of the Day: Ultima 


noun 




Definition

: the last syllable of a word

Examples

For the last line of her poem, Sheila needed a word with an ultima that rhymed with "green," so she tried "magazine."

"A grave accent can occur only on the ultima." — Rodney J. Decker, Reading Koine Greek, 2015



Did You Know?

In Latin, ultima is the feminine form of the adjective ultimus ("farthest or last"), the superlative form of ulter, meaning "situated beyond." The ultima is the last syllable of a word; the second-to-last syllable in a word is called the penult or penultima (literally, "that which is almost last"); and the third-to-last syllable is called the antepenult or antepenultima ("that which comes before what is almost last"). The related word ultimate, while known to most people as meaning "the best or most extreme of its kind" (as in "surfers finding the ultimate wave"), has an original meaning referring to the last of something in a series.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Beleaguer    Thu Dec 29, 2016 7:27 am

Word of the Day: Beleaguer 

verb 




Definition

1 : to cause distress to : besiege

2 : trouble, harass

Examples

Despite being beleaguered by injuries, the scrappy football team fought hard and managed to make the playoffs.

"We must work to implement reforms like the Baltimore Metropolitan Council's Plan for Sustainable Development that offer practical remedies for the extensive pockets of generational poverty that beleaguer our region." — Elijah E. Cummings, The Baltimore Sun, 22 Apr. 2016




Did You Know?

English speakers created beleaguer from the Dutch word belegeren in the 16th century. "[Military men] will not vouchsafe … to use our ancient terms belonging to matters of war, but do call a camp by the Dutch name," commented the English soldier and diplomat Sir John Smyth in 1590. The word for "camp" that he was referring to is leaguer. That term in turn comes from Dutch leger, which is one of the building blocks of belegeren (literally, "to camp around"). But neither leaguer nor beleaguer were in fact utterly foreign. Old English leger, the source of our modern lair, is related to the Dutch word. And Old English be- ("about, around"), as seen in besiege and beset, is related to the Dutch prefix be- in belegeren.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day : Solicitous   Fri Dec 30, 2016 6:43 am

Word of the Day : Solicitous

 
adjective 




Definition

1 : showing attentive care or protectiveness : manifesting or expressing solicitude

2 : full of concern or fears : apprehensive

3 : meticulously careful

4 : full of desire : eager

Examples

Lyle has developed a reputation as one of the best tailors in the area because he is solicitous of his customers and their needs.

"Any given meal included a plethora of delectable choices, including barbecued ribs, schnitzel, ice cream and German chocolate cake, served up by solicitous staff." — Erica Rosenberg, The Chicago Tribune, 2 Oct. 2016




Did You Know?

If you're solicitous about learning the connections between words, you'll surely want to know about the relationship between solicitous and another word you've probably heard before—solicit. Solicitous doesn't come from solicit, but the two words are related. They both have their roots in the Latin word sollicitus, meaning "anxious." Solicitous itself came directly from this Latin word, whereas solicit made its way to English with a few more steps. From sollicitus came the Latin verb sollicitare, meaning "to disturb, agitate, move, or entreat." Forms of this verb were borrowed into Anglo-French, and then Middle English, and have survived in Modern English as solicit.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Zeitgeist    Sat Dec 31, 2016 7:04 am

Word of the Day: Zeitgeist 
 
noun 




Definition

: (often capitalized Zeitgeist) the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era

Examples

The movie does an excellent job of capturing the zeitgeist of the dot-com boom.

"The people making the product are the same demographic as the people using the product. They don't have to rely on research and data to inform product decisions—they're just making things that they themselves want to use based on the zeitgeist of their generation." — Rachel Pasqua, quoted in Adweek, 3 Nov. 2016



Did You Know?

Scholars have long maintained that each era has a unique spirit, a nature or climate that sets it apart from all other epochs. In German, such a spirit is known as Zeitgeist, from the German words Zeit, meaning "time," and Geist, meaning "spirit" or "ghost." Some writers and artists assert that the true zeitgeist of an era cannot be known until it is over, and several have declared that only artists or philosophers can adequately explain it. We don't know if that's true, but we do know that zeitgeist has been a useful addition to the English language since at least 1835.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Rejuvenate    Sun Jan 01, 2017 10:45 am

Word of the Day: Rejuvenate 

verb 




Definition

1 : to make young or youthful again : give new vigor to

2 : to restore to an original or new state

Examples

The new arts complex and adjacent businesses have rejuvenated the city and turned downtown into a destination for visitors.

"I was drained. When I started thinking about doing another album, I had all this self-doubt. I didn't think the songs would be any good. But I pushed through, and when 'Slipstream' was so well-received, it rejuvenated me." — Bonnie Raitt, quoted in The Chicago Tribune, 18 Mar. 2016




Did You Know?

Rejuvenate originated as a combination of the prefix re-, which means "again," with a Latin term that also gave us the words juvenile and junior—juvenis, meaning "young." Rejuvenate literally means "to make young again" and can imply a restoration of physical or mental strength or a return to a more youthful, healthy condition, as when you try to rejuvenate your skin with moisturizer. You can also rejuvenate things that are timeworn. For instance, a lackluster brand can be rejuvenated by a new marketing campaign.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Baleful   Mon Jan 02, 2017 5:14 am

Word of the Day: Baleful
 
adjective 



Definition

1 : deadly or pernicious in influence

2 : foreboding or threatening evil

Examples

"His face might have been chiselled out of marble, so hard and set was its expression, while its eyes glowed with a baleful light." — Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet, 1887

"Out of nowhere, a huge fad sweeps the country. It dominates social media and leads to a blizzard of think pieces, which are followed almost immediately by a backlash, as critics warn of the fad’s baleful consequences." — James Surowiecki, The New Yorker, July 25, 2016




Did You Know?

The bale of baleful comes from Old English bealu ("evil"), and the bane of the similar-looking baneful comes from Old English bana ("slayer" or "murderer"). Baleful and baneful are alike in meaning as well as appearance, and they are sometimes used in quite similar contexts—but they usually differ in emphasis. Baleful typically describes what threatens or portends evil (e.g., "a baleful look," "baleful predictions"). Baneful applies typically to what causes evil or destruction (e.g., "a baneful secret," "the baneful bite of the serpent"). Both words are used to modify terms like influence, effect, and result, and in such uses there is little that distinguishes them.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Oligopsony    Tue Jan 03, 2017 8:05 am

Word of the Day: Oligopsony  

noun 




Definition

: a market situation in which each of a few buyers exerts a disproportionate influence on the market

Examples

The small number of supermarkets in the region has created an oligopsony in which the stores can dictate the price they pay to farmers for meat and fresh produce.

"Under the crude oil export ban, domestic refineries were granted an oligopsony. Now oil companies will have more pricing power, which stands to boost their profits even if it doesn't lead to one extra drop of oil coming out of the ground." — Ben Adler, Grist, 31 Dec. 2015



Did You Know?

You're probably familiar with the word monopoly, but you may not recognize its conceptual and linguistic relative, the much rarer oligopsony. Both monopoly and oligopsony are ultimately from Greek, although monopoly passed through Latin before being adopted into English. Monopoly comes from the Greek prefix mono-, which means "one," and pōlein, "to sell." Oligopsony derives from the combining form olig-, meaning "few," and the Greek noun opsōnia—"the purchase of victuals"—which is ultimately from the combination of opson, "food," and ōneisthai, "to buy." It makes sense, then, that oligopsony refers to a buyer's market in which the seller is subjected to the potential demands of a limited pool of buyers. Another related word is monopsony, used for a more extreme oligopsony in which there is only a single buyer.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Deem   Wed Jan 04, 2017 6:57 am

Word of the Day: Deem

  
verb 




Definition

1 : to come to think or judge : consider

2 : to have an opinion : believe

Examples

The covered bridge was closed to automobile traffic for the winter because town officials deemed it a hazard to motorists.

"Being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature is something I never could have imagined or seen coming. From an early age, I've been familiar with and reading and absorbing the works of those who were deemed worthy of such a distinction: Kipling, Shaw, Thomas Mann, Pearl Buck, Albert Camus, Hemingway. These giants of literature … have always made a deep impression." — Bob Dylan, speech, 10 Dec. 2016




Did You Know?

In the Middle Ages, demen was a fateful word. Closely related to doom, this precursor of deem meant "to act as a judge" or "to sentence, condemn, or decree." These meanings passed to deem itself, but we haven't used deem to mean "to legally condemn" since the early 17th century. Though deem is still frequently used in contexts pertaining to the law, today it means "to judge" only in a broader sense of "to decide (something specified) after inquiry and deliberation," as in "the act was deemed unlawful" or "the defendant is deemed to have agreed to the contract." Outside of the law, deem usually means simply "to consider." Some usage commentators consider deem pretentious, but its use is well established in both literary and journalistic contexts. We deem it perfectly acceptable.
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