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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Maelstrom    Thu Jan 05, 2017 4:43 am

Word of the Day: Maelstrom 
 
noun 



Definition

1 : a powerful often violent whirlpool sucking in objects within a given radius

2 : something resembling a maelstrom in turbulence

Examples

The mayor has been swept up in the media maelstrom surrounding the laundering of thousands of dollars in state funds by city officials.

"The dark eye of Saturn's northern polar storm dominates the top left portion of the image, while smaller storms can be seen embedded in the surrounding maelstrom of the hexagon-shaped jet stream." — Anthony Wood, New Atlas (newatlas.com), 7 Dec. 2016




Did You Know?

Maelstrom comes from an early Dutch proper noun that is a combination of the verb malen ("to grind") and the noun stroom ("stream"). The original Maelstrom, now known as the Moskstraumen, is a channel located off the northwest coast of Norway that has dangerous tidal currents and has been popularized among English speakers by writers such as Edgar Allan Poe and Jules Verne (whose writing was widely translated from French) in stories exaggerating the Maelstrom's tempestuousness and transforming it into a whirling vortex. Maelstrom entered English in the 16th century and was soon applied more generally in reference to any powerful whirlpool. By the mid-19th century, it was being applied figuratively to things or situations resembling such maelstroms in turbulence or confusion.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Factitious    Fri Jan 06, 2017 9:22 am

Word of the Day: Factitious 

adjective 




Definition

1 : produced by humans rather than by natural forces

2 a : formed by or adapted to an artificial or conventional standard

b : produced by special effort : sham

Examples

"For all the factitious factoids about state education spending, the reality from the federal government and even the nation's largest teachers union is that Pennsylvania far outspends most states—and by a comfortable margin." — The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 24 June 2016

"Brucie's worsening situation, like many events in Sweat's early scenes, is a harbinger of bad economic times that ultimately afflict all the characters. Nottage takes her time, piling up the details carefully and compassionately; Kate Whoriskey's direction keeps the action taut without any factitious pressuring." — Michael Feingold, The Village Voice, 9 Nov. 2016




Did You Know?

Like the common words fact and factual, factitious ultimately comes from the Latin verb facere, meaning "to do" or "to make." But in current use, factitious has little to do with things factual and true—in fact, factitious often implies the opposite. The most immediate ancestor of factitious is the Latin adjective facticius, meaning "made by art" or "artificial." When English speakers first adopted the word as factitious in the 17th century, it meant "produced by human effort or skill" (rather than arising from nature). This meaning gave rise to such meanings as "artificial" and "false" or "feigned."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Beguile    Sat Jan 07, 2017 8:26 am

Word of the Day: Beguile 
 
verb 




Definition

1 : to lead by deception

2 : to deceive by cunning means 

3 : to draw notice or interest by wiles or charm 

4 : to cause (as time) to pass in a pleasant manner

Examples

The carnival barker beguiled Ricky into buying a chance at the target-shooting game, even though it was all but impossible to win.

"The elusive and suddenly quite prolific Terrence Malick is fascinated, and beguiled, by nothing less than the legacy of all existence in his long-gestating, avant-nature doc Voyage of Time…." — Sam C. Mac, Slant Magazine, 21 Nov. 2016




Did You Know?

Deceive, mislead, delude, and beguile all mean "to lead astray" or "to frustrate," usually by underhandedness. Deceive implies imposing a false idea or belief that causes ignorance, bewilderment, or helplessness (as in "they tried to deceive me about the cost"). Mislead implies a leading astray that may or may not be intentional (as in "I was misled by the confusing sign"). Delude implies deceiving so thoroughly as to obscure the truth (as in "we were deluded into thinking we were safe"). Beguile stresses the use of charm and persuasion in deceiving (as in "they were beguiled by false promises"), and more generally describes the use of that charm to capture another's attention.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Haberdasher    Sun Jan 08, 2017 8:58 am

Word of the Day: Haberdasher 
 
noun




Definition

1 : (British) a dealer in notions (such as needles, thread, buttons, etc.)

2 : a dealer in men's clothing and accessories

Examples

Mr. Watson planned to visit the haberdasher during the week to buy some new shirts for his wardrobe.

"There was a time when downtown St. Louis was known for its clothing and shoe companies, haberdashers and other apparel businesses." — Julia M. Johnson, St. Louis Business Journal, 27 Oct. 2016




Did You Know?

At various times throughout its history, the term haberdasher has referred to a dealer of hats or caps, a seller of notions (sewing supplies, such as needles and thimbles), and apparently (perhaps somewhat coyly) to a person who sells liquor. Nowadays, with hats not being as fashionable as they once were, the word mostly is applied generally as a clothing outfitter for men, with haberdashery referring to the establishment or the goods sold there. Haberdasher derives via Middle English from hapertas, an Anglo-French word for a kind of cloth, as does the obsolete noun haberdash, which once meant petty merchandise or small wares.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Immutable   Mon Jan 09, 2017 7:26 am

Word of the Day: Immutable

 
adjective 




Definition

: not capable of or susceptible to change

Examples

"There's an immutable attraction between fingers and potato chips, making resistance, as the saying goes, futile." — Michele Henry, The Toronto Star, 30 Nov. 2016

"Like much of the American heartland, the summertime landscape in Iowa's Webster County is dominated by several immutable features: hot sun and lots of it; a ruler-straight grid of byways …; shining grain silos towering above the plains; and farmhouses…." — Michelle Donahue, PCMag.com, 8 Nov. 2016



Did You Know?

Immutable comes to us through Middle English from Latin immutabilis, meaning "unable to change." Immutabilis was formed by combining the negative prefix in- with mutabilis, which comes from the Latin verb mutare and means "to change." Some other English words that can be traced back to mutare are commute (the earliest sense of which is simply "to change or alter"), mutate ("to undergo significant and basic alteration"), permute ("to change the order or arrangement of"), and transmute ("to change or alter in form, appearance, or nature"). There's also the antonym of immutable—mutable—which of course can mean "prone to change" and "capable of change or of being changed."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Jitney    Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:11 am

Word of the Day: Jitney 

noun 



Definition

1 : a small bus that carries passengers over a regular route on a flexible schedule

2 : an unlicensed taxicab

Examples

After doing some shopping along the boardwalk, we boarded a jitney whose route took us back to our hotel.
"Another option, especially if you're staying along Cable Beach or areas west, is to hop a ride on the jitneys into and out of Downtown Nassau, a great way to chat with locals who are doing the same thing (each ride is about $1.50)." — Kaeli Conforti, BudgetTravel.com, 14 Nov. 2016




Did You Know?

Jitneys weren't worth a dime—just a nickel. In the early 1900s, jitney was slang for "nickel," but it wasn't long before the term was applied to a new mode of public transportation that only cost a nickel. When they were introduced in American cities at the beginning of the century, vehicular jitneys could be any automobiles that carried passengers over a set route for a cheap fare, but eventually the term was applied specifically to small buses—and, nowadays, to the motor shuttles used by airlines and hotels). In the mid-1900s, the word jitney was combined with jeep to create a new coinage: jeepney, meaning "a Philippine jitney bus converted from a jeep."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Gambol   Wed Jan 11, 2017 9:08 am

Word of the Day: Gambol

 
verb 




Definition

: to skip about in play : frisk, frolic

Examples

From her cabana, Candace watched her three children gambol in the ocean waves.

"… Canandaigua has now joined the list of communities … where jittery citizens have reported the appearance of scary clowns. A few instances have involved real people gamboling in public in clown suits for reasons only they understand, though many of the 'sightings' have turned out to be hoaxes or exaggerations…." — Steve Orr, Rochester (New York) Democrat and Chronicle, 4 Oct. 2016


Did You Know?

In Middle French, the noun gambade referred to the frisky spring of a jumping horse. In the early 1500s, English speakers adopted the word as gambol as both a verb and a noun. (The noun means "a skipping or leaping about in play.") The English word is not restricted to horses, but rather can be used of any frolicsome creature. It is a word that suggests levity and spontaneity, and it tends to be used especially of the lively activity of children or animals engaged in active play.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Lachrymose   Thu Jan 12, 2017 9:05 am

Word of the Day: Lachrymose 

 
adjective 




Definition

1 : given to tears or weeping : tearful 

2 : tending to cause tears : mournful

Examples

"… [Art] Garfunkel has always been partial to lachrymose sentiment. Listen, for instance, to his 1979 hit Bright Eyes, a song that targets the tear duct … and here summed up the tone of the evening." — Patrick Smith, The Daily Telegraph (London), 24 June 2016

"'Hallelujah' found a natural home in the hospital shows of the late-2000s, and it was frequently called upon to lend extra gravitas to a patient's dramatic death. On a particularly lachrymose episode of 'General Hospital,' the staff sings 'Hallelujah' as they bus into the mountains for a ski trip. The song then returns after their bus crashes in the snow." — Nick Murray, The New York Times, 21 Sept. 2016




Did You Know?

The adjective lachrymose comes from Latin lacrimosus (from the noun lacrima, meaning "tear"). Lachrymose didn't appear in English until around 1727, but another closely related adjective can be traced back to the 15th century. This earlier cousin, lachrymal (sometimes spelled lacrimal, particularly in its scientific applications), has a scientific flavor and is defined as "of, relating to, or being glands that produce tears" or "of, relating to, or marked by tears." In contrast, lachrymose typically applies to someone who is moved to tears because of strong emotions or to something that stimulates such feelings.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Effrontery    Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:26 am

Word of the Day: Effrontery 
 
noun 




Definition

: shameless boldness : insolence

Examples

Holly could not believe the effrontery of the student who asked that her grade be changed even though she had completed little of the coursework.

"'I [Amanda Seyfried] once made a pecan pie for a guy I was dating, and we had a nice meal … with friends, and then that night, when we were alone, he said, "Did you really make that pie?"' She pauses to let the injustice, the sheer effrontery, of the question settle in. 'I mean, who says that?'" — David Denicolo, Allure, November 2016
!


Did You Know?

To the Romans, the shameless were "without forehead," at least figuratively. Effrontery derives from Latin effrons, a word that combines the prefix ex- (meaning "out" or "without") and frons (meaning "forehead" or "brow"). The Romans never used effrons literally to mean "without forehead," and theorists aren't in full agreement about the connection between the modern meaning of effrontery and the literal senses of its roots. Some explain that frons can also refer to the capacity for blushing, so a person without frons would be "unblushing" or "shameless." Others theorize that since the Romans believed that the brow was the seat of a person's modesty, being without a brow meant being "immodest" or, again, "shameless."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Neologism   Sat Jan 14, 2017 7:56 am

Word of the Day: Neologism 
 
noun 




Definition

1 : a new word, usage, or expression

2 : (psychology) a new word that is coined especially by a person affected with schizophrenia and is meaningless except to the coiner

Examples

The novelist's latest book is peppered with numerous slang words and neologisms that might not be familiar to some readers.

"Borrowing a friend's neologism, [the British writer Simon] Parkin uses the term 'chronoslip' to describe the way video games affect one's sense of time, numbing one to its passing." — Christopher Byrd, The Washington Post, 31 July 2016




Did You Know?

The English language is constantly picking up neologisms. In recent decades, for example, computer technology has added a number of new terms to the language. Webinar, malware, netroots, and blogosphere are just a few examples of modern-day neologisms that have been integrated into American English. The word neologism was itself a brand-new coinage in the latter half of the 18th century, when English speakers borrowed the French term néologisme. The word's roots are quite old, ultimately tracing back to ancient Greek neos, meaning "new," and logos, meaning "word."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Cantankerous    Sun Jan 15, 2017 7:24 am

Word of the Day: Cantankerous 


adjective 





Definition

: difficult or irritating to deal with

Examples

"[Kenneth] Lonergan's brow was furrowed, and he was speaking, as he often does, in a low, growling mumble.… Among his theatre and movie-industry peers, he is famous for being famously cantankerous." — Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, 7 Nov. 2016

"Far from being cantankerous, she says [Roald] Dahl was endlessly ingenious in his desire to amuse, even when mortally ill, and only grumpy when finishing a book." — Elizabeth Gricehow, The Daily Telegraph (London), 12 Nov. 2016




Did You Know?

It's irritating, but we're not absolutely sure where cantankerous comes from. Etymologists think it probably derived from the Middle English word contack (or contek), which meant "contention" or "strife." Their idea is that cantankerous may have started out as contackerous but was later modified as a result of association or confusion with rancorous (meaning "spiteful") and cankerous (which describes something that spreads corruption of the mind or spirit). Considering that a cantankerous person generally has the spite associated with contack and rancor, and the noxious and sometimes painful effects of a canker, that theory seems plausible. What we can say with conviction is that cantankerous has been used in English since at least the 1730s.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Paladin   Mon Jan 16, 2017 8:48 am

Word of the Day: Paladin
 
noun 





Definition

1 : a trusted military leader (as for a medieval prince)

2 : a leading champion of a cause

Examples

The prince summoned the paladin to commend him for his actions in battle.

"This collection of stories by one of England's best novelists is both playful and serious in the manner of Laurence Sterne, the 18th-century author of 'Tristram Shandy'…. Sterne was the master of the marginal, the random, the inconsequential. In our own day, David Foster Wallace, Geoff Dyer and Ali Smith have become the paladins of this goofy manner." — Edmund White, The New York Times, 2 Dec. 2016




Did You Know?

In ancient Rome, the emperor's palace was located on the Palatine Hill, known as Palatium in Latin. Since the site was the seat of imperial power, the word palatium came to mean "imperial" and later "imperial official." Different forms of the word passed through Latin, Italian, and French, picking up various meanings along the way, and eventually some of those forms made their way into English. Paladin is one of the etymological heirs of palatium; another descendant is the word palace.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Abstemious    Tue Jan 17, 2017 8:13 am

Word of the Day: Abstemious 

adjective 




Definition

: marked by restraint especially in the consumption of food or alcohol; also : reflecting such restraint

Examples

Allie's midlife heart attack opened her eyes to the importance of taking care of her body and turned her to a more abstemious and healthful lifestyle.

"He is so abstemious that he once declared that to avoid temptation, he would never appear anywhere alcohol was served unless his wife was with him." — Michael Barbaro and Monica Davey, The New York Times, 16 July 2016

!


Did You Know?

Abstemious and abstain look alike, and both have meanings involving self-restraint or self-denial. So they must both come from the same root, right? Yes and no. Both get their start from the Latin prefix abs-, meaning "from" or "away." But abstain traces to the Latin abstinēre, a combination of abs- and the Latin verb tenēre ("to hold"), while abstemious comes from the Latin abstēmius, which combines abs- with tēm- (a stem found in the Latin tēmētum, "intoxicating beverage," and tēmulentus, "drunken") and the adjectival suffix -ius ("full of, abounding in, having, possessing the qualities of").
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Raiment   Wed Jan 18, 2017 6:01 am

Word of the Day: Raiment

 
noun 




Definition

: clothing, garments

Examples

"On their arrival the station was lively with straw-hatted young men, welcoming young girls who bore a remarkable family likeness to their welcomers, and who were dressed up in the brightest and lightest of raiment." — Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure, 1895

"A deepest navy cashmere dressing robe with every edge trimmed in the finest white cord…. I wear this raiment while working at my desk." — Tom Wolfe, Esquire, 9 Aug. 2016



Did You Know?

If you seek a fancy word to describe the clothes on your back, you have no shortage of colorful options. There's apparel and attire, certainly, as well as garments. Habiliments and vestments suggest clothes of a particular profession (as in "a clergyman's vestments"), while garb is effective for describing clothes of a particular style (as in "traditional Scottish garb"). If slang is more your game, try duds, rags, or threads. Raiment tends to appear mostly in classical contexts, though it pops up from time to time in contemporary English from authors looking to add a touch of formality. Raiment derives from Middle English, where it was short for arrayment, from the verb arrayen ("to array").
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Whimsical    Thu Jan 19, 2017 5:40 am

Word of the Day: Whimsical 
 
adjective 




Definition

1 : full of, actuated by, or exhibiting capricious or eccentric and often sudden ideas or turns of the mind : relating to whims

2 a : resulting from or characterized by whim or caprice; especially : lightly fanciful

b : subject to erratic behavior or unpredictable change

Examples

"In 2008, she decided to pursue a Master's in Library Science. The whimsical decision to work part-time at the library had created a love for helping people." — Matthew Crane, Dubois County (Indiana) Free Press, 5 Dec. 2016

"There is an ice bar offering cocktails and champagne, whimsical ice sculptures, and designs from artists in nine countries." — Talia Avakian, Travel + Leisure, 7 Dec. 2016




Did You Know?

Whimsical and the related nouns whim and whimsy all ultimately derive from whim-wham, a noun from the early 16th century that originally referred to an ornamental object or trinket. Later whim-wham, with its fun sound, came to refer to a fantastic notion or odd fancy. The word's origin isn't clear, but it's worth noting that the similar-sounding flimflam had, in its earliest use, a similar meaning referring to an odd or nonsensical idea or tale. Whim naturally came about as a shortened form of whim-wham, and whimsy and whimsical eventually followed. Whimsical now describes more than just decisions made impulsively, but things resulting from an unrestrained imagination, as in "whimsical children's book characters."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Tenet    Fri Jan 20, 2017 8:28 am

Word of the Day: Tenet 
 
noun 




Definition

: a principle, belief, or doctrine generally held to be true; especially : one held in common by members of an organization, movement, or profession

Examples

According to many, the first tenet of real estate is that location is fundamental to determining the value of a property.

"A basic tenet of [Frank Lloyd] Wright's designs was that structures should grow out of the features that are already on the land, that land and buildings should seem an integrated whole." — Linda Charlton, The Daily Commercial (Leesburg, Florida), 20 Dec. 2016




Did You Know?

In Latin, tenet is the third person singular of the verb tenēre ("to hold") and means "he/she/it holds." It is believed to have been borrowed into English around 1600 from Latin writings in which it often introduced the opinions held by a particular church or sect. There are a good many tenēre descendants in English, including some words that end in -tain (abstain, contain, maintain, and sustain, to name a few), and others that begin with ten- (such as tenable, meaning "capable of being held," and tenacious).
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Xylography    Sat Jan 21, 2017 10:12 am

Word of the Day: Xylography 
 
noun 




Definition

: the art of making engravings on wood especially for printing

Examples

Xylography attracted the attention of early modernists, including Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky.
"[Angelo] Aversa relished the way that xylography moved from inspiration to wood selection to pencil drawing to ink drawing to carving and cutting to ink and paper selection to hand rubbing the Japanese paper that absorbs the ink." — Ron Fletcher, The Boston Globe, 30 Nov. 2008



Did You Know?

Current evidence dates the word xylography to 1816, but it is linked to printing practices that are much older. In fact, the oldest known printed works (from Japan and China in the 8th and 9th centuries) were made by xylography, a printing technique that involves carving text in relief upon a wooden block, which is then inked and applied to paper. This method of wood-block printing appeared in Europe in the 14th century, and eventually inspired Johannes Gutenberg to create individual and reusable pieces of type out of metal. These days, xylography can also describe the technique of engraving wood for purely artistic purposes. English speakers picked up the word from French, where it was formed as a combination of xyl-, meaning "wood," and -graphie, which denotes writing in a specified manner.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Vanguard    Sun Jan 22, 2017 4:38 am

Word of the Day: Vanguard 
 
noun 




Definition

1 : the troops moving at the head of an army

2 : the forefront of an action or movement

Examples

The general received a report from scouts in the vanguard that the swampy terrain was not passable.

"Students have long been at the vanguard of South Korea's robust history of protest, drawing on deep-rooted Confucian traditions that elevated scholars as guardians of morality." — Susan Chira, The New York Times, 10 Dec. 2016


Did You Know?

Vanguard and avant-garde both derive from the Anglo-French word avantgarde, itself from avant, meaning "before," and garde, meaning "guard." In medieval times, avantgarde referred to the troops that marched at the head of the army. English speakers retained that meaning when they adopted vanguard in the 15th century. Avant-garde, which is now used in English to refer to a group of people who develop new and often very surprising ideas in art, literature, etc., didn't make its own English debut until almost 400 years later.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Sanction    Mon Jan 23, 2017 8:05 am

Word of the Day: Sanction 

 
verb 



Definition

1 : to make valid or binding usually by a formal procedure (such as ratification)

2 : to give effective or authoritative approval or consent to

Examples

Because he was using equipment that was not sanctioned by league officials, Jared was disqualified from the competition.

"Villanova University this summer will host a regional conference sanctioned by the Vatican on how sports and faith can promote positive social change." — Robert Moran, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 22 Dec. 2016



Did You Know?

Sanction can be both a verb and a noun meaning "authoritative approval" or "a coercive measure." The noun entered English first, in the 15th century, and originally referred to a formal decree or law, especially an ecclesiastical decree. (The Latin sancire, meaning "to make holy," is an ancestor.) The noun's meaning then extended in different directions. By the end of the 17th century, it could refer to both a means of enforcing a law (a sense that in the 20th century we began using especially for economic penalties against nations violating international law) and the process of formally approving or ratifying a law. When the verb sanction appeared in the 18th century, it had to do with ratifying laws as well. Soon it had also acquired an additional, looser sense: "to approve."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Uncouth    Tue Jan 24, 2017 7:00 am

Word of the Day: Uncouth 
 
adjective 




Definition

1 : strange or clumsy in shape or appearance : outlandish

2 : lacking in polish and grace : rugged

3 : awkward and uncultivated in appearance, manner, or behavior : rude

Examples

"Increasingly, consumers are turning to mints and breath-freshening strips that don't come with gum's social baggage—namely, how to dispose of it when the flavor's gone as well as the uncouth sight of one's jaws constantly working." — Robert Klara, Adweek.com, 3 Oct. 2016

"No, I'm not some sort of barbarian who would open a bottle of wine to enjoy some before offering it as a gift. That would be uncouth." — Irv Erdos, The San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 Dec. 2016




Did You Know?

Uncouth comes from the Old English word uncūth, which joins the prefix un- with cūth, meaning "familiar" or "known." How did a word that meant "unfamiliar" come to mean "outlandish," "rugged," or "rude"? Some examples from literature illustrate that the transition happened quite naturally. In Captain Singleton, Daniel Defoe refers to "a strange noise more uncouth than any they had ever heard." In William Shakespeare's As You Like It, Orlando tells Adam, "If this uncouth forest yield anything savage, I will either be food for it or bring it for food to thee." In Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Ichabod Crane fears "to look over his shoulder, lest he should behold some uncouth being tramping close behind him!" So, that which is unfamiliar is often perceived as strange, wild, or unpleasant. Meanings such as "outlandish," "rugged," or "rude" naturally follow.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Ab ovo    Wed Jan 25, 2017 5:40 am

Word of the Day: Ab ovo 

adverb 



Definition

: from the beginning

Examples

"Given Arthur's fondness for approaching a problem ab ovo, without reference to previous results, and adding to it a certain obscurity of presentation that even I, who knew him well, had found disturbing, it was a wonder that he had done as well as he had." — Charles Sheffield, "A Braver Thing," 1990

"'Peter and the Starcatcher'—a show that exalts that ephemeral space where actor and audience embrace, time out of time—promises to stand for many years as a worthy legacy to Rees: the superb actor, brilliant director, and absolutely marvelous man who was there ab ovo." — Judith Newmark, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 10 Dec. 2015




Did You Know?

"Ab ovo usque ad mala." That phrase translates as "from the egg to the apples," and it was penned by the Roman poet Horace. He was alluding to the Roman tradition of starting a meal with eggs and finishing it with apples. Horace also applied ab ovo in an account of the Trojan War that begins with the mythical egg of Leda from which Helen (whose beauty sparked the war) was born. In both cases, Horace used ab ovo in its literal sense, "from the egg," but by the late 16th century it had been adapted to its modern English meaning of "from the beginning," perhaps for the first time by Sir Philip Sidney in his An Apology for Poetry: "If [the dramatic poets] wil represent an history, they must not (as Horace saith) beginne Ab ouo: but they must come to the principall poynt of that one action."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Barbican   Thu Jan 26, 2017 6:24 am

Word of the Day: Barbican 

 
noun 



Definition

: an outer defensive work; especially : a tower at a gate or bridge

Examples

"He heard the voices of the sentries in the barbican as they conversed with the newcomers." — Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Mad King, 1926

"The result is an honest-to-goodness fairy-tale castle that sits perched on a hilltop, guarding against invaders high above Malibu's coastline. There are turrets, barbicans and winding stone steps that lead to circular rooms." — Ann Brenoff, The Los Angeles Times, 18 Feb. 2007




Did You Know?

You've heard of moats and drawbridges, but barbicans may be unfamiliar. Those stone outworks stand in front of the gate of a castle or bridge and historically helped prevent invaders from gaining access to the main entryway. Up to a point, the case for the history of the word barbican is well fortified. It is clear that English speakers seized the term from the Anglo-French barbecane, which in turn had been taken from the Medieval Latin barbacana (both of those words had the same meaning as the modern word). The etymological path crumbles from there, however. Some speculate that the ultimate ancestor of barbican might lie in a Persian phrase meaning "house on the wall," but that speculation has never been proven.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Omnibus   Fri Jan 27, 2017 9:47 am

Word of the Day: Omnibus 
 
adjective 





Definition

1 : of, relating to, or providing for many things at once

2 : containing or including many items

Examples

"Michael Counts … invites you on a blind date with 17 playwrights. They have taken over the Lower East Side club Fat Baby for this immersive, omnibus evening, which features an array of [one-act plays] describing contemporary courtship." — The New York Times, 4 July 2014 

"For the last several years, Congress has been prone to passing … omnibus spending bills that pack many smaller, regular appropriations bills into one, instead of new, individual bills each fiscal year." — Ariella Phillips, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 21 Dec. 2016



Did You Know?

The adjective omnibus may not have much to do with public transportation, but the noun omnibus certainly does—it not only means "bus," but it's also the word English speakers shortened to form bus. The noun omnibus originated in the 1820s as a French word for long, horse-drawn vehicles that transported people along the main thoroughfares of Paris. Shortly thereafter, omnibuses—and the noun omnibus—arrived in New York. But in Latin, omnibus simply means "for all." Our adjective omnibus, which arrived in the mid-1800s, seems to hark back to that Latin omnibus, though it may also have been at least partially influenced by the English noun. An "omnibus bill" containing numerous provisions, for example, could be likened to a bus loaded with people.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Dander    Sat Jan 28, 2017 9:44 am

Word of the Day: Dander 
 
noun 



Definition

1 : dandruff; specifically : minute scales from hair, feathers, or skin that may be allergenic

2 : anger, temper

Examples

Farrah liked dogs, but she couldn't own one because she was allergic to pet dander.

"If you had to start a new Western state from scratch and you got to choose a natural landmark that would become its symbol—something that could drive tourism and that you might name the capital city after—would you choose the Great Salt Lake? People get their dander up when I ask things like that." — Jay Evensen, The New York Times, 10 Dec. 2016




Did You Know?

How did dander acquire its "temper" sense? Etymologists have come up with a few possibilities, but nothing is known for sure. Some experts have proposed, tongue-in-cheek, that the meaning stems from the image of an angry person tearing out his or her hair by the fistful, scattering dandruff in the process. Some think it may come from a West Indian word dander, which refers to a kind of ferment and suggests "rising" anger (in English, ferment can mean either "an agent capable of causing fermentation" or "a state of unrest or excitement"). Yet another proposed possibility is that the "anger" sense was imported to America by early Dutch colonists and is from their phrase op donderen, meaning "to burst into a sudden rage."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Macerate    Sun Jan 29, 2017 9:42 am

Word of the Day: Macerate 
 
verb 




Definition

1 : to cause to waste away by or as if by excessive fasting

2 : to soften by steeping or soaking so as to separate the parts

Examples

"Absinthe is made by macerating herbs and spices … with the grand wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) that gives the drink its name." — Julia Reed, Newsweek, 12 Apr. 2010

"Choose whatever berries you'd like for a topping, and let them macerate in the sugar until they yield a little syrup." — Dorie Greenspan, The Washington Post, 10 Aug. 2016




Did You Know?

Macerate is derived from the Latin verb macerare, which means "to soften" or "to steep," and, in Late Latin, can also mean "to mortify (the flesh)." Macerate first entered English in the mid-1500s to refer both to the wasting away of flesh especially by fasting and to softening or steeping. A few other manifestations sprouted thereafter from the word's figurative branch (e.g., the 18th-century novelist Laurence Sterne once wrote of "a city so macerated with expectation"); however, those extensions wilted in time. Today, the "steeping" and "soaking" senses of macerate saturate culinary articles (as in "macerating fruit in liquor") as well as other writings (scientific ones, for instance: "the food is macerated in the gizzard" or "the wood is macerated in the solution").
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