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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Finesse   Thu Feb 23, 2017 3:20 am

Word of the Day: Finesse
 
verb 



Definition

1 : to make a finesse in playing cards : to play (a card) in a finesse

2 a : to bring about, direct, or manage by adroit maneuvering

b : evade, skirt

Examples

"No author can finesse wry, homespun humor better than Fannie Flagg …, whose main claim to literary fame remains the award-winning 'Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe.'" — Allen Pierleoni, The Sacramento (California) Bee, 20 Jan. 2017

"My base in Johannesburg was the superb Saxon Hotel…. Outside that cocoon of safety a guide was essential. Mine showed a marked reluctance to venture into the badlands of the city centre…. But he finessed the security barriers to take me around Parktown, which more than made up for it." — Clive Aslet, The Daily Telegraph (London), 21 Jan. 2017

Did You Know?

Finesse was a noun for more than 300 years before it became a verb. In the 15th century the noun finesse was used to refer to refinement or delicacy of workmanship, structure, or texture. During the 16th century, it developed the "skillful handling of a situation" meaning most common today. The first use of the verb finesse, however, was not as a corollary of one of these meanings. Instead, its meaning had to do with cards: if you finesse in a game like bridge or whist, you withhold your highest card or trump in the hope that a lower card will take the trick because the only opposing higher card is in the hand of an opponent who has already played. The other verb meanings of finesse developed soon after this one.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Kudos    Fri Feb 24, 2017 6:11 am

Word of the Day: Kudos  

noun 




Definition

1 : fame and renown resulting from an act or achievement : prestige

2 : praise given for achievement

Examples

"I'd like to be a widow. Then I'd have the freedom of the unmarried, with the kudos of the married. I could eat my cake and have it, too. Oh, to be a widow!" — Lucy Maud Montgomery, "The End of a Quarrel," 1912

"But Kraft deserves kudos for the way he has allowed Belichick to do his job. A man that is obsessed with public relations, he has gotten out of the way when it comes to running the football operations." — Bill Burt, The Eagle-Tribune (Massachusetts), 23 Jan. 2017



Did You Know?

Deriving from Greek, kudos entered English as slang popular at British universities in the 19th century. In its earliest use, the word referred to the prestige or renown that one gained by having accomplished something noteworthy. The sense meaning "praise given for achievement" came about in the 1920s. As this later sense became the predominant one, some English speakers, unaware of the word's Greek origin, began to treat the word as a plural count noun, inevitably coming up with the back-formation kudo to refer to a single instance of praise. For the same reason, when kudos is used as a subject you may see it with either a singular or plural verb.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Hoary   Sat Feb 25, 2017 9:28 am

Word of the Day: Hoary
 
adjective 




Definition

1 : gray or white with or as if with age

2 : extremely old : ancient

Examples

The lichen gives the rocks a hoary appearance.
"Take encouragement from this hoary truth: No matter how bad things get, you can always make them worse." — Paul McHugh, The Sacramento (California) Bee, 19 Dec. 2016





Did You Know?

"How to save the old that's worth saving ... is one of our greatest problems." British novelist John Galsworthy knew the value of preserving the past—and he would likely have counted hoary among those old things worth saving. The word is old indeed; it traces to an Old English adjective, hār, which appeared in Beowulf. That hoary ancestor evolved over time into hoar, a synonym of ancient. Hoary developed from hoar more than 475 years ago, and since then it has been used for anything that is old or that has the whitened look of age (from the hoary bat to the hoary willow). The venerable hoar also remains as a synonym of hoary and as a component of compounds such as hoarfrost.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Indigenous    Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:04 am

Word of the Day: Indigenous 

adjective 



Definition

1 : having originated in and being produced, growing, living, or occurring naturally in a particular region or environment 

2 : innate, inborn

Examples

"In all its forms, stone speaks of timelessness, solidity and quality. Indigenous local versions invariably work well as a construction material for houses or for interior surfaces and accessories." — Ben Kendrick, Country Living (UK), January 2017

"About 13 percent of Brazil's land had been set aside for the country's indigenous people based on the territories they historically occupied." — Chris Arsenault, Reuters (reuters.com), 19 Jan. 2017


Did You Know?

Indigenous derives from the Latin noun indigena (meaning "native"), which was formed by combining Old Latin indu (meaning "in" or "within") with the verb gignere (meaning "to beget"). Another term that comes from the indigena root is indigene, a word for a plant or animal that lives, grows, or originates in a certain area. Indigene is the older of the two; it has been used in English since the late 16th century, whereas the earliest documented use of indigenous occurred nearly 50 years later. Indigenous is used in scientific contexts to describe organisms and the habitats to which they belong, and in expressly non-scientific contexts, as in "emotions indigenous to the human spirit." Most often, however, it's used to describe the native inhabitants of a place.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Shunpike   Mon Feb 27, 2017 9:24 am

Word of the Day: Shunpike
  
noun 




Definition

: a side road used to avoid the toll on or the speed and traffic of a superhighway

Examples

David did some math to determine if the money on the extra gas needed to take the shunpike cost more than the toll for using the freeway.

"The News On 6 wanted to see if other drivers would consider a shunpike to save money.'It just depends on what kind of drive it is and how much more time it would take,' said Lisa Underhill, a Claremore resident." — Dan Bewley, Newson6.com (Oklahoma), 24 Aug. 2009



Did You Know?

America's love affair with the automobile and the development of a national system of superhighways (along with the occasional desire to seek out paths less traveled) is a story belonging to the 20th century. So the word shunpike, too, must be a 20th-century phenomenon, right? Nope. Toll roads have existed for centuries (the word turnpike has meant "tollgate" since at least 1678), and were quite common in 19th-century America. Shunpike has been describing side roads since the middle of that century, almost half a century before the first Model T rolled out of the factory.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Genuflect   Tue Feb 28, 2017 7:52 am

Word of the Day: Genuflect 

 
verb 



Definition

1 a : to bend the knee

b : to touch the knee to the floor or ground especially in worship

2 : to be humbly obedient or respectful

Examples

"Other jazz pianists would pause to genuflect when they entered a room where Peterson was playing...." — David Hinckley, The New York Daily News, 25 Dec. 2007
"By abdicating [their] responsibility to provide a counterweight to the executive branch, legislative leaders are genuflecting at the feet of the governor." — Kevin Franck, The Boston Herald, 6 Oct. 2016


Did You Know?

Genuflect is derived from the Late Latin genuflectere, formed from the noun genu ("knee") and the verb flectere ("to bend"). Flectere appears in a number of our more common verbs, such as reflect ("to bend or throw back," as light) and deflect ("to turn aside"). By comparison genu sees little use in English, but it did give us geniculate, a word often used in scientific contexts to mean "bent abruptly at an angle like a bent knee." Despite the resemblance, words such as genius and genuine are not related to genuflect; instead, they are of a family that includes the Latin verb gignere, meaning "to beget."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Exponent    Wed Mar 01, 2017 9:03 am

Word of the Day: Exponent 
 
noun 



Definition

1 : a symbol written above and to the right of a mathematical expression to indicate the operation of raising to a power

2 a : one that expounds or interprets

b : one that champions, practices, or exemplifies

Examples

"As the leading exponent of naturalism in fiction, [Émile] Zola believed in the clinically accurate depiction of all aspects of human life." — Adam Kirsch, The New Statesman, 18 Jan. 2017

"But the quality of the imagination is to flow, and not to freeze. The poet did not stop at the color, or the form, but read their meaning; neither may he rest in this meaning, but he makes the same objects exponents of his new thought." — Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays: Second Series, 1944




Did You Know?

You probably won't be surprised to learn that expent shares an ancestor with proponent—and indeed, the Latin ponere ("to put") is at the root of both terms. Exponent descends from exponere, which joins ponere with ex- ("out") and means "to put forth" or "to explain." Proponent traces to proponere, a word created from the affix pro- ("before") that can mean "to put before," or "to display" or "to declare." Proponent is related to propose and can describe someone who offers a proposal, but today it usually means "one who argues in favor of something." Exponent can also refer to someone who is an advocate, but it tends to refer especially to someone who stands out as a shining representative of something. In addition, it has retained its earlier meaning of "one who expounds."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Laconic    Thu Mar 02, 2017 5:26 am

Word of the Day: Laconic 
 
adjective 




Definition

: using or involving the use of a minimum of words : concise to the point of seeming rude or mysterious

Examples

The reporters had a hard time getting the laconic quarterback to share his thoughts after the tough loss.
"Far from laconic, Penny is steeped with a positive attitude as she greets students with a smile and asks for their omelet request. With a voracious appetite for conversation, Penny's outgoing personality draws a throng of students to her omelet line." — Haley Thompson, The Courier (Monmouth College), 3 Feb. 2017



Did You Know?

Laconia was an ancient country in southern Greece, bordering on the and the Mediterranean seas. Its capital city was Sparta, and the Spartans were famous for their terseness of speech. Laconic comes to us by way of Latin from Greek Lakōnikos, which is derived from Lakōn, meaning "native of Laconia." It has been with us since the 16th century and has sometimes been used with the basic meaning "of or relating to Laconia or its inhabitants" (though we're more apt to use Laconian for this meaning today). In current use, laconic means "terse" or "concise," and thus recalls the Spartan tendency to use the fewest words possible.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Cabotage    Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:30 am

Word of the Day: Cabotage 
 
noun 



Definition

1 : trade or transport in coastal waters or airspace or between two points within a country

2 : the right to engage in coastal trade or transport

Examples

"If Britain were granted cabotage, B.A.'s planes would be able to operate like a domestic carrier—to hop about the United States, picking up and discharging passengers, and carrying many of them to and from Britain." — John Newhouse, The New Yorker, 5 Aug. 1991

"The decision to allow cabotage could see a foreign carrier … fly domestic passengers between the Queensland resort and another destination north of the tropic." — Steve Creedy, The Australian, 29 May 2015




Did You Know?

Coastlines were once so important to the French that they came up with a verb to name the act of sailing along a coast: caboter. That verb gave rise to the French noun cabotage, which named trade or transport along a coast. In the 16th century, the French legally limited their lucrative coastal trade, declaring that only French ships could trade in French ports. They called the right to conduct such trading cabotage too. Other nations soon embraced both the concept of trade restrictions and the French name for trading rights, and expanded the idea to inland trade as well.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Nugatory    Sat Mar 04, 2017 8:28 am

Word of the Day: Nugatory 
 
adjective 




Definition

1 : of little or no consequence : trifling, inconsequential

2 : having no force : inoperative

Examples

"The novel's greatest talker is Sandro's best friend, Ronnie Fontaine, whose photographs (such as we hear about them) seem nugatory, but whose stories are captivating." — James Wood, The New Yorker, 8 Apr. 2013

"… Christine McVie … was working on 'Keep Me There,' a throwback melodically to her solo album of a few years previously. The opening may have been nugatory, but the chord progression up into the chorus had a driving tension." — David Honigmann, The Financial Times, 9 Jan. 2017




Did You Know?

Nugatory, which first appeared in English in the 17th century, comes from the Latin adjective nugatorius and is ultimately a derivative of the noun nugae, meaning "trifles." Like its synonyms vain, idle, empty, and hollow, nugatory means "without worth or significance." But while nugatory suggests triviality or insignificance ("a monarch with nugatory powers," for example), vain implies either absolute or relative absence of value (as in "vain promises"). Idle suggests being incapable of worthwhile use or effect (as in "idle speculations"). Empty and hollow suggest a deceiving lack of real substance or genuineness (as in "an empty attempt at reconciliation" or "a hollow victory").
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Affable    Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:14 am

Word of the Day: Affable 
 
adjective 



Definition

1 : being pleasant and at ease in talking to others

2 : characterized by ease and friendliness

Examples

Michelle looked forward to sharing her coffee breaks with Joe, one of her more affable coworkers.

"Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson is an affable, chatty fellow. But the filmmaker sounded particularly upbeat Tuesday when he jumped on the phone to talk about the upcoming Blu-ray and DVD release of his … Marvel superhero movie." — Clark Collis, Entertainment Weekly, 24 Jan. 2017




Did You Know?

Affable is one of several English words that evolved from the Latin verb fari, which means "to speak." The adjective comes from Latin affabilis, which comes from the fari relative affari ("to speak to"), plus -abilis, meaning "able." Some other fari derivatives are infant, fable, and fate. Infant comes from the Latin infans, which means "incapable of speech" and combines in- and fans, the present participle of fari. Fable comes from the Latin fabula, a fari offspring that means "conversation." Fate comes from the Latin word fatum, meaning "what has been spoken" and deriving from fatus, the past participle of fari.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Postulate    Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:23 am

Word of the Day: Postulate 
 
verb 




Definition

1 : demand, claim

2 a : to assume or claim as true, existent, or necessary

b : to assume as an axiom or as a hypothesis advanced as an essential presupposition, condition, or premise of a train of reasoning (as in logic or mathematics)

Examples

"Some postulate that the moment when machines surpass humans in intelligence may not be that far off." — Vicky Allan, The Sunday Herald (Glasgow), 22 Jan. 2017

"[Dr. Kevin] Tracey, a neurosurgeon, scientist and inventor, first advanced what seemed a radical hypothesis in the late 1990s: He postulated that the vagus nerve is intimately involved in the function of the immune system." — Delthia Ricks, Newsday, 3 Jan. 2017




Did You Know?

In 1703, the dedication of the City and County Purchaser and Builders Dictionary included the following words: "These your extraordinary Favours … seem to Postulate from me … a Publick Recognition." That sense of postulate, a synonym of claim or demand, has been used by English speakers since the early 1600s. (The word's Latin grandparent, postulare, has the same meaning, but postulate first appeared earlier in the 1500s in senses restricted to ecclesiastical law.) Postulate was also used as a noun in the late 1500s, with the meaning "demand" or "stipulation." That sense is now considered archaic, but we still use the noun postulate. Today, it usually means "a hypothesis advanced as an essential presupposition, condition, or premise of a train of reasoning."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Syncretism   Tue Mar 07, 2017 6:12 am

Word of the Day: Syncretism
 
noun 




Definition

1 : the combination of different forms of belief or practice

2 : the fusion of two or more originally different inflectional forms

Examples

"Dance caller and historian Phil Jamison … argues convincingly … that American square dance is not a colonial relic from the British Isles, but rather a uniquely American syncretism of European, African and Native American influences." — Gabriel Popkin, The Washington Post, 24 Jan. 2016

"The Yoruba religion was brought to Cuba by Africans from the Yoruba region…. Over time, the religion merged with Catholicism, resulting in a religious syncretism that unites the Yoruba deities (orishas) with Catholic saints." — Abel Fernandez, The Miami Herald, 4 Jan. 2017




Did You Know?
The ancient Greeks mainly used the term synkrētismos to describe the joining together of Greeks in opposition to a common enemy. In the early 17th century, English speakers adopted the term in the anglicized form syncretism to refer to the union of different religious beliefs. Three centuries later, lexicographers of the 1909 edition of Webster’s New International Dictionary of the English Language added a new definition of syncretism ("the union or fusion into one or two or more originally different inflectional forms, as of two cases"), but this specialized sense is rarely encountered outside of the field of linguistics. Some related terms that you might encounter are syncretize ("to attempt to unite and harmonize"), syncretist ("one who advocates syncretism"), and syncretic and syncretistic ("characterized or brought about by syncretism").
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Ramify   Wed Mar 08, 2017 5:45 am

Word of the Day: Ramify

 
verb 




Definition

1 : to split up into branches or constituent parts 

2 : to send forth branches or extensions 

3 : to cause to branch

Examples

"In alternating chapters, 'The Lost Boy' moves back and forth in time, from a present-day whodunit set in a city … to a grim tale set in the 1870s on one of the myriad rocky islands lying off the coast. These narratives are related in fascinating ways, their threads crisscrossing and ramifying inventively." — Anthony Lewis, The Providence Journal, 27 Nov. 2016

"[H. G.] Wells was also publishing inspired books at a furious pace. His first were the scientific textbooks Honours Physiography and Text-book of Biology (both 1893); the latter went into many editions. The topics rapidly ramified. The year 1895 alone saw a short-story collection (The Stolen Bacillus and Other Incidents), a fantastic romance in which an angel falls to Earth (The Wonderful Visit) and a volume of essays, as well as his first full-length work of fiction, The Time Machine." — Simon J. James, Nature, 8 Sept. 2016


Did You Know?

Ramify has been part of English since the 15th century and is an offshoot of the Latin word for "branch," which is ramus. English acquired several scientific words from ramus, including biramous ("having two branches"). Another English word derived from ramus is the now obsolete ramage, meaning "untamed" or "wild." Ramage originated in falconry—it was initially used of young hawks that had begun to fly from branch to branch in trees. The most common ramus word, though, is a direct descendant of ramify. Ramification in its oldest sense means "branch, offshoot," but is most commonly used to mean "consequence, outgrowth." Ramify started out as a scientific word, at first referring to branching parts of plants and trees and later to veins and nerves, but it soon branched out into non-scientific and even figurative uses, as in "ideas that ramify throughout society."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Ominous    Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:27 am

Word of the Day: Ominous 
 
adjective 



Definition

: being or exhibiting an omen : portentous; especially : foreboding or foreshadowing evil : inauspicious
Examples

Our fears about the picnic being cancelled were heightened by the sight of dark, ominous clouds appearing over the horizon.

"An ominous week-long standoff between the government and its rogue first vice president is … dominating talk in the edgy Afghan capital." — Pamela Constable, The Washington Post, 29 Jan. 2017



Did You Know?

Ominous didn't always mean "foreshadowing evil." If you look closely, you can see the omen in ominous, which gave it the original meaning of "presaging events to come"—whether good or bad. It is ultimately derived from the Latin word omen, which is both an ancestor and a synonym of our omen. Today, however, ominous tends to suggest a menacing or threatening aspect. Its synonyms portentous and fateful are used similarly, but ominous is the most menacing of the three. It implies an alarming character that foreshadows evil or disaster. Portentous suggests being frighteningly big or impressive, but seldom gives a definite forewarning of calamity. Fateful implies that something is of momentous or decisive importance.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Tattoo    Fri Mar 10, 2017 8:12 am

Word of the Day: Tattoo 
 
noun




Definition

1 : a rapid rhythmic rapping

2 a : a call sounded shortly before taps as notice to go to quarters

b : outdoor military exercise given by troops as evening entertainment

Examples

The impatient man began beating a tattoo with his fingers on the countertop.
"As tennis fans, we spend our time watching the players' hands. But the professionals will tell you that matches are more often won with the feet, and this was the greatest contrast yesterday. Murray's size 12s tapped out a rapid tattoo on the turf … as he ran down countless lost causes." — Simon Briggs, The Daily Telegraph (London), 9 July 2016



Did You Know?

Today's word has nothing to do with skin markings. That other tattoo comes from the Tahitian word tatau. Today's tattoo comes from the Dutch colloquialism "tap toe," which can be translated as "turn off the tap," though it was most often used to mean something like "Shut up! Cease!" The Dutch began using the word taptoe for a drum beat, and then English speakers borrowed the term (changing it slightly, to taptoo and, eventually, to tattoo). It was used especially by the military to name a drum beat (or possibly a bugle call) that signaled the day's end. This taptoo most likely led to our taps, a term for the final bugle call at night in the military.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Minuscule    Sat Mar 11, 2017 7:08 am

Word of the Day: Minuscule 
 
adjective 



Definition

1 : written in or in the size or style of lowercase letters 

2 : very small

Examples

The number of bugs in the latest version of the computer program is minuscule compared to the number that surfaced in the earlier version.

"What's essentially a minuscule contact lens that never has to be removed or cleaned is changing the way people address near vision challenges." — Kristi King, WTOP.com, 14 Feb. 2017

Learn a new word every day. Delivered to your inbox!


Did You Know?

Minuscule derives from the Latin adjective minusculus, which means "rather small." The minuscule spelling is consistent with the word's etymology, but since the 19th century, people have also been spelling it miniscule, perhaps because they associate it with the combining form mini- and words such as minimal and minimum. Usage commentators generally consider the miniscule spelling an error, but it is widely used in reputable and carefully edited publications and is accepted as a legitimate variant in some dictionaries.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Vade mecum    Sun Mar 12, 2017 8:26 am

Word of the Day: Vade mecum 

 
noun 




Definition

1 : a book for ready reference : manual

2 : something regularly carried about by a person

Examples

"Well into the 20th century, John Barlow's Ideal Handbook, the vade mecum of the rifleman, carried instructions for molding the Keene bullet." — Jim Foral, Gun Digest 2012, 2011

"How to Do Biography is not a prescriptive, do-it-by-the-numbers volume. It's more a vade mecum, a guidebook filled with general advice on issues that face all biographers." — James L. W. West III, The Centre Daily Times (State College, Pennsylvania), 26 Apr. 2009




Did You Know?

Vade mecum (Latin for "go with me") has long been used of manuals or guidebooks sufficiently compact to be carried in a deep pocket, and it would sometimes appear in the title of such works, as with one of the earliest known uses of the phrase in the title of the 1629 volume Vade Mecum: A Manuall of Essayes Morrall, Theologicall. From the beginning, it has also been used for constant companions that are carried about by a person, such as gold, medications, and memorized gems of wisdom. But these days, vade mecum is primarily encountered in reference to works which are intended to serve as one-stop references or guides to a particular subject, whether or not such a work can actually be carried in one's pocket (a moot distinction, perhaps, in an age when such works can easily reside in a smartphone's memory).
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Irenic    Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:06 am

Word of the Day: Irenic 

 
adjective 



Definition

: favoring, conducive to, or operating toward peace, moderation, or conciliation

Examples

The former senator's irenic nature made her an ideal candidate to be a foreign ambassador.

"In a period when relations between religious traditions are characterized by suspicion and lack of understanding, Gregg's even-handed and irenic treatment of each religion's biblical interpretation provides a positive appreciation of each on its own terms and an invitation for each religion to consider rejoining with the others in an important conversation." — Luke Timothy Johnson, Commonweal, 17 June 2016




Did You Know?

In Greek mythology, Eirene was one of the Horae, the goddesses of the seasons and natural order; in the Iliad the Horae are the custodians of the gates of Olympus. According to the Greek poet Hesiod, the Horae were the daughters of Zeus and a Titaness named Themis, and their names indicate their function and relation to human life. Eirene was the goddess of peace. Her name is also the Greek word for "peace," and it gave rise to irenic and other peaceable terms including irenics (a theological term for advocacy of Christian unity), Irena (the genus name of two species of birds found in southern Asia and the Philippines), and the name Irene.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Besmirch    Tue Mar 14, 2017 7:29 am

Word of the Day: Besmirch 


verb




Definition

: to cause harm or damage to : sully, soil

Examples

"Greenfield is not one of those biographers who set out to besmirch their subjects and deplore their lives, and for whom every detail is an indictment." — Luc Sante, The New York Times Book Review, 25 June 2006

"But to many of us, golf is more than a game…. We occasionally curse its name, but will defend it to the death to any that besmirch it. In short, golf is our addiction." — Joel Beall, Golf Digest, 1 July 2016




Did You Know?

Since the prefix be- in besmirch means "to make or cause to be," when you besmirch something, you cause it to have a smirch. What's a smirch? A smirch is a stain, and to smirch something is to stain it or make it dirty. By extension, the verb smirch came to mean "to bring discredit or disgrace on." Smirch and besmirch, then, mean essentially the same thing. We have William Shakespeare to thank for the variation in form. His uses of the term in Hamlet ("And now no soil nor cautel doth besmirch the virtue of his will") and Henry V ("Our gayness and our gilt are all besmirch'd with rainy marching in the painful field") are the first known appearances of besmirch in English.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Gadzookery   Wed Mar 15, 2017 6:28 am

Word of the Day: Gadzookery 

 
noun 



Definition

: (British) the use of archaisms (as in a historical novel)

Examples

"Several other stories and verses that they jointly contributed to magazines are historical and melodramatic in tone, larded with archaic oaths and exclamations and general gadzookery." — Julia Briggs, A Woman of Passion: The Life of E. Nesbit, 1987

"Her spare prose and dialogue give a period flavour without the dread excesses of gadzookery." — David Langford, The Complete Critical Assembly, 2002




Did You Know?

"Gadzooks . . . you astonish me!" cries Mr. Lenville in Charles Dickens' Nicholas Nickleby. We won't accuse Dickens of gadzookery ("the bane of historical fiction," as historical novelist John Vernon once called it), because we assume people actually said gadzooks back in the 1830s. That mild oath is an old-fashioned euphemism, so it is thought, for "God's hooks" (a reference, supposedly, to the nails of the Crucifixion). Today's historical novelists must toe a fine line, avoiding anachronistic expressions while at the same time rejecting modern expressions such as okay and nice (the latter, in Shakespeare's day, suggesting one who was wanton or dissolute rather than pleasant, kind, or respectable).
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Decry    Thu Mar 16, 2017 6:21 am

Word of the Day: Decry 

 
verb 




Definition

1 : to depreciate (as a coin) officially or publicly

2 : to express strong disapproval of

Examples

Town officials were surprised by how roundly the changes to the town hall's hours were decried.

"He has previously spoken on behalf of music education and decried music piracy and the low royalty rates paid to artists whose songs are streamed online." — George Varga, The San Diego Union Tribune, 12 Feb. 2017




Did You Know?

Decry, depreciate, disparage, and belittle all mean "to express a low opinion of something," but there are also some subtle differences in their use. Decry, which is a descendant of the Old French verb crier, meaning "to cry," implies open condemnation with intent to discredit ("he decried her defeatist attitude"). Depreciate implies that something is being represented as having less value than commonly believed ("critics depreciated his plays for being unabashedly sentimental"). Disparage implies depreciation by indirect means, such as slighting or harmful comparison ("she disparaged polo as a game for the rich"). Belittle usually suggests a contemptuous or envious attitude ("they belittled the achievements of others").
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Effulgence    Fri Mar 17, 2017 9:24 am

Word of the Day: Effulgence 

 
noun 




Definition

: radiant splendor : brilliance

Examples

"There's plenty of conflict about who invented hummus or falafel … and where these dishes reach their dazzling effulgence, but the truth is there are common dishes and flavors to many of the cuisines found along the southern edge of the Mediterranean Sea." — Laura Reiley, The Tampa Bay Times, 6 July 2016

"The performance was riveting, demonstrating both her technical prowess and her clear understanding of line, movement, and energy. The work was exquisitely sculpted into an ever-growing effulgence that crept steadily forward toward a transfixing conclusion." — Wayne F. Anthony, The Blade (Toledo, Ohio), 4 Feb. 2017




Did You Know?

Apparently, English speakers first took a shine to effulgence in the 17th century; that's when the word was first used in print in our language. Effulgence derives from the Latin verb fulgēre, which means "to shine." Fulgēre is also the root of fulgent, a synonym of radiant that English speakers have used since the 15th century. Another related word, refulgence, is about 30 years older than effulgence. Refulgence carries a meaning similar to effulgence but sometimes goes further by implying reflectivity, as in "the refulgence of the knight's gleaming armor."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Furtive   Sat Mar 18, 2017 9:55 am

Word of the Day: Furtive

 
adjective 




Definition

1 a : done in a quiet and secretive way to avoid being noticed : surreptitious

b : expressive of stealth : sly

2 : obtained underhandedly

Examples

Julia and I exchanged furtive glances across the room when Edward asked who had rearranged his CD collection.
"… I create a hidden fortress for the cake at the back of the fridge and by this I mean shove quinoa and brussels sprouts in front of it thus saving it for furtive late night snacking." — Sherry Kuehl, The Kansas City Star, 28 Dec. 2016




Did You Know?

Furtive has a shadowy history. It may have slipped into English directly from the Latin furtivus or it may have covered its tracks by arriving via the French furtif. We aren't even sure how long it has been a part of the English language. The earliest known written uses of furtive are from the early 1600s, but the derived furtively appears in written form as far back as 1490, suggesting that furtive may have been lurking about for a while. However furtive got into English, its root is the Latin fur, which is related to, and may come from, the Greek phōr (both words mean "thief"). When first used in English, furtive meant "done by stealth," and later also came to mean, less commonly, "stolen." Whichever meaning you choose, the elusive ancestry is particularly fitting, since a thief must be furtive to avoid getting caught in the act.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Chaffer   Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:02 am

Word of the Day: Chaffer
 
verb 




Definition

1 a : haggle, exchange, barter

b : to bargain for

2 : (British) to exchange small talk : chatter

Examples

"And while Levy and Toriki drank absinthe and chaffered over the pearl, Huru-Huru listened and heard the stupendous price of twenty-five thousand francs agreed upon." — Jack London, "The House of Mapuhi," 1909

"Travelers who had little money to start with frequently traded a stock of wares of their own along the way—leather goods or precious stones for example—or offered their labor here and there, sometimes taking several months or even years to finally work or chaffer their way as far as Egypt." — Ross E. Dunn, The Adventures of Ibn Battuta, 1986




Did You Know?

The noun chaffer was originally used to refer to commercial trading. Chaffer (also spelled chaffare, cheffare, and cheapfare over the years) dates to the 1200s and was formed as a combination of Middle English chep, meaning "trade" or "bargaining," and fare, meaning "journey." The verb chaffer appeared in the 1300s and originally meant "to trade, buy, and sell." In time, both the verb and the noun were being applied to trade that involved haggling and negotiating.
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