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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Hackle   Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:30 am

Word of the Day: Hackle
 
noun 




Definition

1 a : one of the long narrow feathers on the neck or back of a bird

b : the neck plumage of the domestic fowl

2 : a comb or board with long metal teeth for dressing flax, hemp, or jute

3 a : (plural) hairs (as on a dog's neck and back) that can be erected

b : (plural) temper, dander

Examples


The rooster's colorful hackle quivered as it stretched out its neck and began to crow.
"So before you get your hackles up in response to local sales and gas proposals floated up in Helena, consider the significant benefits they could bring to our local cost of living." — The Bozeman (Montana) Daily Chronicle, 14 Feb. 2017




Did You Know?

In its earliest uses in the 15th century, hackle denoted either a bird's neck plumage or an instrument used to comb out long fibers of flax, hemp, or jute. Apparently, some folks saw a resemblance between the neck feathers of domestic birds—which, on a male, become erect when the bird is defensive—and the prongs of the comb-like tool. In the 19th century, English speakers extended the word's use to both dogs and people. Like the bird's feathers, the erectile hairs on the back of a dog's neck stand up when the animal is agitated. With humans, use of the word hackles is usually figurative. When you raise someone's hackles, you make them angry or put them on the defensive.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day:Ameliorate    Tue Mar 21, 2017 8:26 am

Word of the Day:Ameliorate
 
verb 




Definition

1 : to make better or more tolerable

2 : to grow better : improve

Examples

Access to clean water would ameliorate living conditions within the village.

"There is one variable that many childhood experts agree can ameliorate the uncertainty in the lives of 'at risk' youths. A caring adult willing to take a few hours a week for a one-on-one relationship with a child or young adult can have an enormous impact on that child's life and future success." — Alice Dubenetsky, The Vermont Eagle, 18 Jan. 2017

!


Did You Know?

Ameliorate traces back to melior, the Latin adjective meaning "better," and is a synonym of the verbs better and improve. When is it better to use ameliorate? If a situation is bad, ameliorate indicates that the conditions have been made more tolerable. Thus, one might refer to drugs that ameliorate the side effects of chemotherapy, a loss of wages ameliorated by unemployment benefits, or a harsh law ameliorated by special exceptions. Improve and better apply when something bad is being made better (as in "the weather improved" or "she bettered her lot in life"), and they should certainly be chosen over ameliorate when something good is getting better still ("he improved his successful program," "she bettered her impressive scores").
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Lief    Wed Mar 22, 2017 9:18 am

Word of the Day: Lief 

 
adverb 




Definition

: soon, gladly

Examples

"I'd as lief be in the tightening coils of a boa constrictor than be held by that man," declared Miss Jezebel.
"I thank you for your company; but, good faith, I had as / lief have been myself alone." — William Shakespeare, As You Like It, 1599




Did You Know?

Lief began as lēof in Old English and has since appeared in many literary classics, first as an adjective and then as an adverb. It got its big break in the epic poem Beowulf as an adjective meaning "dear" or "beloved." The adverb first appeared in the 13th century, and in 1390, it was used in John Gower's collection of love stories, Confessio Amantis. Since that time, it has graced the pages of works by William Makepeace Thackeray, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and D. H. Lawrence, among others. Today, the adjective is considered to be archaic and the adverb is used much less frequently than in days of yore. It still pops up now and then, however, in the phrases "had as lief," "would as lief," "had liefer," and "would liefer."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Watershed   Thu Mar 23, 2017 6:59 am

Word of the Day: Watershed

 
noun 


Definition

1 a : a dividing ridge between drainage areas

b : a region or area bounded peripherally by a divide and draining ultimately to a particular watercourse or body of water

2 : a crucial dividing point, line, or factor : turning point

Examples

"This year marked a watershed for contemporary classical music in the city. No greater proof was the Ear Taxi Festival, a Chicago-centric marathon of new music performance that, for six heady days in October, brought together some 500 local musicians to present roughly 100 recent classical works...." — John von Rhein, The Chicago Tribune, 22 Dec. 2016

"The Cienega Creek watershed contains some of the highest-quality riparian woodland, riverine and cienega wetland habitats in Arizona." — Jennifer McIntosh, The Arizona Daily Star, 29 Jan. 2017




Did You Know?

Opinion on the literal geographic meaning of watershed is divided. On one side of the debate are those who think the word can only refer to a ridge of land separating rivers and streams flowing in one direction from those flowing in the opposite direction. That's the term's original meaning, one probably borrowed in the translation of the German Wasserscheide. On the other side of the argument are those who think watershed can also apply to the area through which such divided water flows. The latter sense is now far more common in America, but most Americans have apparently decided to leave the quarrel to geologists and geographers while they use the term in its figurative sense, "turning point."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Nightmare    Fri Mar 24, 2017 9:06 am

Word of the Day: Nightmare 
 
noun 




Definition

1 : an evil spirit formerly thought to oppress people during sleep

2 : a frightening dream that usually awakens the sleeper

3 : something (such as an experience, situation, or object) having the monstrous character of a nightmare or producing a feeling of anxiety or terror

Examples

Since starting the new medication, John routinely experiences vivid dreams when he sleeps and even suffers from frequent nightmares.

"The dream of a stress-free, short-term rental in a balmy locale can easily become a nightmare without due diligence, according to real estate agents and Long Island snowbirds." — Cara S. Trager, Newsday, 19 Feb. 2017




Did You Know?

Looking at nightmare, you might guess that it is a compound formed from night and mare. If so, your guess is correct. But while the night in nightmare makes sense, the mare part is less obvious. Most English speakers know mare as a word for a female horse or similar equine animal, but the mare of nightmare is a different word, an obsolete one referring to an evil spirit that was once thought to produce feelings of suffocation in people while they slept. By the 14th century the mare was also known as nightmare, and by the late 16th century nightmare was also being applied to the feelings of distress caused by the spirit, and then to frightening or unpleasant dreams.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Unreconstructed   Sat Mar 25, 2017 9:40 am

Word of the Day: Unreconstructed

 
adjective 




Definition

: not reconciled to political, economic, or social change; also : holding stubbornly to a particular belief, view, place, or style
Examples

"When Jane Austen wrote 'Pride and Prejudice' in the early years of the 19th century, there was no heroic place for the unreconstructed nerd in the throbbing romantic novel." — Chris Jones, The Chicago Tribune, 22 Nov. 2016

"Writers of all descriptions are stampeding to buy word processors. Machines have already become so user-friendly that even the most unreconstructed of Luddites can be charmed into laying down the old sledgehammer and stroking a few keys instead." — Thomas Pynchon, The New York Times, 28 Oct. 1984

!


Did You Know?

The reorganization and reestablishment of the seceded states in the Union after the American Civil War is referred to as the Reconstruction. The earliest known use of unreconstructed is by a writer for the Boston, Massachusetts, publication The Liberator, who in 1865 used it to describe Southerners who were not reconciled to the outcome of the War and the changes enacted during the Reconstruction. The word immediately caught on and has been used to refer to intransigent or dyed-in-the-wool partisans ever since. The word is also used outside of political and social contexts, as when a person is described as "an unreconstructed rocker" or "an unreconstructed romantic."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Perpend    Sun Mar 26, 2017 9:23 am

Word of the Day: Perpend 

 
verb 




Definition

1 : to reflect on carefully : ponder

2 : to be attentive : reflect

Examples

Perpend: it is easier to build on a good first impression than it is to repair a bad one.
"Okay folks, it looks like all is not lost. Electronic Arts is at least perpending their stance heading into the next-generation of console gaming and after originally writing off Nintendo's Wii U, they've now reneged on that stance and are reconsidering the Big 'N's offerings." — William Usher, Cinema Blend, 23 Aug. 2013



Did You Know?

Perpend isn't used often these days, but when it does show up it is frequently imperative, as in "Perpend the following." As such, its use can be compared to the phrases "consider this" or "mark my words." Perpend arrived in English in the 15th century from the Latin verb perpendere, which in turn comes from pendere, meaning "to weigh." Appropriately, our English word essentially means "to weigh carefully in the mind." Pendere has several descendants in English, including append, compendium, expend, and suspend. Perpend can also be a noun meaning "a brick or large stone reaching through a wall" or "a wall built of such stones," but that perpend comes from a Middle French source and is unrelated to the verb.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Sarcasm   Mon Mar 27, 2017 9:47 am

Word of the Day: Sarcasm
 
noun 



Definition

1 : a sharp and often satirical or ironic utterance designed to cut or give pain

2 a : a mode of satirical wit depending for its effect on bitter, caustic, and often ironic language that is usually directed against an individual

b : the use or language of sarcasm

Examples

"I'm seeing more and more of my friends coming to watch the races instead of being a part of them. And then, some of the girls that are racing against me are literally half my age. It's awesome. Don't know if you can hear my sarcasm—really awesome." — Lindsey Vonn, The Associated Press, 3 Nov. 2015

"Often, users on social media tend to portray complicated social and political issues as simple and obvious, at times employing sarcasm or satire to disparage those who disagree." — James Lee, The Daily Pennsylvanian (University of Pennsylvania), 12 Feb. 2017




Did You Know?

If you've ever been hurt by a remark full of cutting sarcasm, you have some insight into the origins of the word. Sarcasm can be traced back to the Greek verb sarkazein, which initially meant "to tear flesh like a dog." Sarkazein eventually developed extended senses of "to bite one's lips in rage," "to gnash one's teeth," and "to sneer." The verb led to the Greek noun sarkasmos, ("a sneering or hurtful remark"), iterations of which passed through French and Late Latin before arriving in English as sarcasm in the 17th century. Even today sarcasm is often described as sharp, cutting, or wounding, reminiscent of the original meaning of the Greek verb.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Retrospective    Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:12 am

Word of the Day: Retrospective 

 
adjective 


Definition

1 a : contemplative of or relative to past events : characterized by, given to, or indulging in retrospection

b : being a generally comprehensive exhibition, compilation, or performance of the work of an artist over a span of years

2 : affecting things past : retroactive


Examples

The audit revealed that the organization owed retrospective taxes.

"The 1998 retrospective Ladies and Gentlemen—The Best of George Michael (Epic/Sony) is the album to receive the most attention in the late singer-songwriter's catalogue…." — Paul Sexton, Billboard.com, 30 Dec. 2016


Did You Know?

"Look not mournfully into the past. It comes not back again," wrote Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his 1839 novel Hyperion. But these days the past is trendy, old-fashioned is hip, and retrospective is as retro as it gets. A glance at the history of retrospective reveals that it traces back to the Latin retro- (meaning "back," "behind," or "backward") and specere (meaning "to look at"). Once you have retrospective behind you, you can also add its kin retrospect (which is used as a noun, an adjective, and a verb) and retrospection to your vocabulary, too. Retrospective can also be used as a noun, referring to an exhibition that "looks back" at artistic work created over a span of years.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Occam's razor    Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:09 am

Word of the Day: Occam's razor 

 
noun 




Definition

: a scientific and philosophic rule that entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily which is interpreted as requiring that the simplest of competing theories be preferred to the more complex or that explanations of unknown phenomena be sought first in terms of known quantities

Examples

Invoking Occam's razor, Randall concluded that the sill was wet most likely because someone left the window open during the storm.

"To even describe the plot is to make clear how phantasmagorical the whole idea is. Occam's razor applies here. Or, as medical students are taught, when you hear hoofbeats, think horses not zebras." — Paul Cassell, The Washington Post, 6 Feb. 2017




Did You Know?

William of Occam (also spelled "Ockham") didn't invent the rule associated with his name. Others had espoused the "keep it simple" concept before that 14th-century philosopher and theologian embraced it, but no one wielded the principle (also known as the "law of parsimony") as relentlessly as he did. He used it to counter what he considered the fuzzy logic of his theological contemporaries, and his applications of it inspired 19th-century Scottish philosopher Sir William Hamilton to link Occam with the idea of cutting away extraneous material, giving us the modern name for the principle.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Transpicuous    Thu Mar 30, 2017 5:25 am

Word of the Day: Transpicuous
 
adjective 



Definition

: clearly seen through or understood

Examples

"Measuring and studying a small business is not inherently different from doing it for a large corporation if its financial reports are set up to be transpicuous and to make its activities transparent and there is an incentive for making them so." — Isabel Anderson, The Financial Post (Canada), 28 Jan. 2006

"… the surfaces of his literary work were so terribly transpicuous, so banally boring—simple declaratives rife with simple vocabulary." — Joshua Cohen, Harper's, July 2012



Did You Know?

Transpicuous is derived from the Latin word transpicere, meaning "to look through." Transpicere, in turn, is a formation that combines trans-, meaning "through," and specere, meaning "to look" or "to see." If you guessed that transpicuous is related to conspicuous, you're correct. It's also possible to see a number of other specere descendants in English, including aspect, circumspect, expect, inspect, perspective, and suspect. Another descendant of specere, and a close synonym of transpicuous, is perspicuous, which means "clear and easy to understand," as in "a perspicuous argument." (Per-, like trans-, means "through.") There's also perspicacious, meaning "keen and observant." (You might say that perspicuous and transpicuous mean "able to be seen through," whereas perspicacious means "able to see through.")
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Munificent   Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:18 am

Word of the Day: Munificent

 
adjective 




Definition

1 : very liberal in giving or bestowing : lavish

2 : characterized by great liberality or generosity

Examples

"On the hill, where kites used to be flown, stood the fine college which Mr. Laurence's munificent legacy had built." — Louisa May Alcott, Jo's Boys, 1886

"Each taco is $3, and each is munificent. You might not manage more than two." — Ligaya Mishan, The New York Times, 9 Dec. 2016




Did You 

Munificent was formed back in the late 1500s when English speakers, perhaps inspired by similar words such as magnificent, altered the ending of munificence. Munificence in turn comes from munificus, the Latin word for "generous," which itself comes from munus, a Latin noun that is variously translated as "gift," "duty," or "service." Munus has done a fine service to English by giving us other terms related to service or compensation, including municipal and remunerate.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Vaticination    Sat Apr 01, 2017 8:51 am

Word of the Day: Vaticination
 
noun 



Definition

1 : something foretold : prediction

2 : the act of prophesying

Examples

"In fact, origin stories are not about the past at all: they are not eyewitness reportage, they are not history, they are not diary entries detailing actual bygone events. Similarly, end-time stories are not about the future at all: they are not predictions, they are not vaticinations, they are not crystal-ball visions.… The stories are fictive efforts offered as instructions for the present moment." — J. H. McKenna, The Huffington Post, 5 Dec. 2016

"Imagined futures that are really thinly disguised commentaries on current affairs are not chiefly concerned with reliable prediction. Yet look in the periphery of such allegorical tales and you can find some surprisingly accurate vaticination." — The Economist, 10 June 2006




Did You Know?

When George Orwell's novel 1984 was published in 1949, a displeased critic said it broke "all records for gloomy vaticination." (In Orwell's favor, another critic asserted, "It is impossible to put the book down.") While it's about as difficult to predict the future of a word as the future of the world, hindsight reveals that vaticination has endured better than other words based on Latin vates, meaning "prophet." Vaticinian ("prophetic"), vaticinar ("prophet"), vaticinatress ("prophetess"), and vaticiny ("prophesy") have all faded into obscurity (although two synonyms of prophetic, vatic and vaticinal, also keep the vates lineage alive today).
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Ignoble   Sun Apr 02, 2017 8:42 am

Word of the Day: Ignoble

 
adjective 




Definition

1 : of low birth or common origin : plebeian

2 : characterized by baseness, lowness, or meanness

Examples

"Luthor has been hanging around Superman's arctic fortress … devising plans for world dictatorship and other ignoble acts." — Kevin Canfield, The Journal News, 27 Jun. 2006

"Suburbs are sometimes portrayed as ignoble compared to cities, and media centers like New York and Washington attract young, pro-urban writers who trumpet their hometown virtues." — Tyler Cowen, The Bay City (Michigan) Times, 17 Oct. 2016



Did You Know?

The word noble, in addition to referring to someone born to aristocratic ranks, can also be used to describe someone of outstanding character. That word first appeared in English in the 13th century, and its antonym, ignoble, came about two centuries later. Ignoble derives via Middle English and Middle French from the Latin prefix in- ("not") and the Old Latin gnobilis ("noble"). Originally, ignoble described someone born to common or plebeian origins, but by the late 16th century it had come to describe people of dishonorable character, or the actions performed by such people.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Brachiate    Mon Apr 03, 2017 8:55 am

Word of the Day: Brachiate 
 
verb 



Definition

: to progress by swinging from hold to hold by the arms

Examples

Sarah sat on the park bench and watched as her five-year-old son confidently brachiated along the monkey bars.
"Designed to replicate the natural forest environment, Gibbon Forest encourages its animals to display their natural behaviours, which include loud calling, rarely descending to the ground and brachiating…." — Nick Reid, The Tamworth (UK) Herald Series, 16 Feb. 2017




Did You Know?

Certain members of the ape family, such as the gibbon, have the ability to propel themselves by grasping hold of an overhead tree branch (or other projection) and swinging the body forward. (Chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans are less likely to travel in this manner, due to the weight of their bodies; when they do, it is only for very short distances.) The word for this action, brachiate, derives from bracchium, the Latin word for "arm." Brachiate shares etymological ancestors with such words as bracelet (an ornamental band or chain worn around the wrist) and brachiopod (a category of marine organisms with armlike feeding organs called lophophores). Another relative is pretzel. That word's German root, Brezel, is related to the Latin brachiatus, meaning "having branches like arms."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Gimcrack    Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:27 am

Word of the Day: Gimcrack 
 
noun 




Definition

: a showy object of little use or value : gewgaw

Examples

The harmonica that Carrie kept in her desk drawer was a gimcrack that she had won as a carnival prize many years ago.

"He painted his office a deep crimson …, and then added period sconces, arrangements of pheasant feathers and various other gimcracks all meant to resemble, get this, the Red Room of the PBS show 'Downton Abbey.'" — Margaret Carlson, The Morning Call, 19 Mar. 2015


Did You Know?

Gimcrack is one of many peculiar-sounding words that have pervaded our language to refer to something ornamental and of little value. Others include bauble, trinket, knickknack, gewgaw, kickshaw and tchotchke. Bauble appears to be the oldest among the group, with known evidence of usage dating back to the 14th century. The earliest available evidence of gewgaw and kickshaw is from the 16th century, whereas gimcrack and knickknack established themselves in the 17th century. Tchotchke, borrowed from Yiddish, is by far the most recent addition to our language, first appearing as an English word in the 20th century.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Defile    Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:58 am

Word of the Day: Defile
  
verb 




Definition

: to march off in a line

Examples

The generals gazed on impassively as the troops defiled past.

"He watched as the troops defiled across the bridge; their thinned ranks made a noticeable impression on the monarch." — Michael V. Leggiere, Napoleon and the Struggle for Germany, 2015



Did You Know?

It's likely that when you hear the verb defile, what comes to mind is not troop movements but, rather, something being contaminated or desecrated. That more commonly encountered homograph of defile, meaning "to make unclean or impure," dates back to the 15th century and is derived from the Anglo-French verb defoiller, meaning "to trample." Today's word, on the other hand, arrived in English in the early 18th century. It is also from French but is derived from the verb défiler, formed by combining dé- with filer ("to move in a column"). Défiler is also the source of the English noun defile, which means "narrow passage or gorge."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Cloying   Thu Apr 06, 2017 6:43 am

Word of the Day: Cloying 

 
adjective 


Definition

: disgusting or distasteful by reason of excess; also : excessively sweet or sentimental

Examples

"In Raymond Chandler's first novel The Big Sleep (1939), Philip Marlowe visits a client in his orchid house, where the air was thick, wet, steamy and larded with the cloying smell of tropical orchids in bloom." — Amy Henderson, The Weekly Standard, 20 Feb. 2017

"A snap of the Eiffel Tower using only the #ParisLove hashtag requires no elaboration—been there, done that—while a photo of the Taj Mahal, simply tagged #EternalLove, can feel more cloying than compelling." — Adam Bisby, The Globe and Mail (Canada), 25 Feb. 2017




Did You Know?

"Can one desire too much of a good thing?" asks Rosalind in William Shakespeare's play As You Like It. Cloying suggests that you can because it implies a repugnant excess of something that might be pleasing in smaller doses. An exploration into the history of cloying, however, leads us eventually to roots that are neither sweet nor excessive, but rather tough as nails. Cloying derives from the verb cloy, which now means "to supply or indulge to excess," but which once meant "to clog" and earlier "to prick a horse with a nail in shoeing." Cloy itself traces via Middle English to Anglo-French encloer (which also meant "to prick a horse with a nail in shoeing") and ultimately to Latin clavus, meaning "nail."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Flack    Fri Apr 07, 2017 8:46 am

Word of the Day: Flack 

verb 



Definition

: to provide publicity : engage in press-agentry

Examples

The singer spent two weeks on the talk-show circuit, flacking for her new memoir.

"Celebrity endorsements for soda have been around for years.… More recently, Taylor Swift (Diet Coke), Beyonce (Pepsi) and Steve Harvey (Coke again) have flacked for soda." — Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz, The Telegraph Herald (Dubuque, IA), 18 Sept. 2015




Did You Know?

The verb flack comes from a noun flack: during the late 1930s, flack came to be used as a name for a press agent. According to one rumor, the word was coined in tribute to a well-known movie publicist of the time, Gene Flack. Another rumor holds that it derives from a similar-sounding Yiddish word for someone who talks about someone else's affairs. The editors of Merriam-Webster dictionaries remain skeptical about these claims and have listed the etymology of flack as "unknown." You may also be familiar with another flack—a noun meaning "criticism" or "opposition." This unrelated homograph stems from a misspelling of flak, a German acronym and English word for antiaircraft guns.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Alow    Sat Apr 08, 2017 5:18 am

Word of the Day: Alow 


adverb 




Definition

: below

Examples

"She had studding-sails out alow and aloft, with a light but steady breeze, and her captain said he could not get more than four knots out of her and thought he should have a long passage." — Richard Henry Dana, Two Years Before the Mast, 1840

"Mr. Blunt remained seated, assessed them alow and aloft and came to settle upon James, looking him right in the eye." — James Spurr, One Sloop and Slow Match, 2008




Did You Know?

In nautical use, alow means "in or to a lower part of the vessel," indicating the deck or the area of the rigging closest to the deck, or below-deck as opposed to above-deck. The opposite of alow in this sense is aloft, used to indicate a higher part of the vessel especially around the mastheads or the higher rigging. Yet, while we are still likely to encounter aloft, in both nautical and non-nautical use, alow has become something of a rarity. When encountered, it is usually found in the combination "alow and aloft." This phrase literally refers to the upper and lower parts of a ship or its rigging, but it can also be used, as in our second example sentence, to mean "completely" or "thoroughly."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Hyperbole    Sun Apr 09, 2017 7:44 am

Word of the Day: Hyperbole 
 
noun 




Definition

: extravagant exaggeration

Examples

"There are those in the organization who believe Bryant might not only be the best receiver on the team, he could be the best in the league. Whether it's true or mere hyperbole is not the point. What it indicates is the immense ability Bryant possesses." — Gerry Dulac, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 19 Feb. 2017

"It's not hyperbole to speculate that there is no director who has had a greater influence on the shape of cinema than Japanese filmmaker [Akira] Kurosawa. He directed 30 films, most of them good to great. 'Seven Samurai,' 'Yojimbo' and 'Rashomon' have been remade and borrowed from more times than can be counted…." — Barbara VanDenburgh, The Arizona Republic, 24 Feb. 2017




Did You Know?

In the 5th century B.C. there was a rabble-rousing Athenian, a politician named Hyperbolus, who often made exaggerated promises and claims that whipped people into a frenzy. But even though it sounds appropriate, Hyperbolus' name did not play a role in the development of the modern English word hyperbole. That noun does come to us from Greek (by way of Latin), but from the Greek verb hyperballein, meaning "to exceed," not from the name of the Athenian demagogue. Hyperballein itself was formed from hyper-, meaning "beyond," and ballein, "to throw."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Widdershins    Mon Apr 10, 2017 7:56 am

Word of the Day: Widdershins 

 
adverb 


Definition

: in a left-handed, wrong, or contrary direction : counterclockwise

Examples

"Who could fail to be charmed by Korda's account of how he met his wife, Margaret, in Central Park, where they both rode their horses early in the morning, one going clockwise, the other widdershins, until the fateful day when they found themselves going in the same direction …?" — Maxine Kumin, The New York Times Book Review, 22 Apr. 2001

"… I know, however, that you are lying, and nothing can turn me widdershins against the power of my own will." — Elinor Wylie, Mortal Image, 1927



Did You Know?

English speakers today are most likely to encounter widdershins as a synonym of counterclockwise. But in earliest known uses, found in texts from the early 1500s, widdershins was used more broadly in the sense of "in the wrong way or opposite direction." To say that one's hair "stood widdershins" was, in essence, to say that one was having a bad hair day. By the mid-1500s, English speakers had adopted widdershins to specifically describe movement opposite to the apparent clockwise direction (as seen from the northern hemisphere) of the sun traveling across the sky, which, at the time, could be considered evil or unlucky. The word originates from the Old High German widar, meaning "back" or "against," and sinnen, meaning "to travel."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Livelong    Tue Apr 11, 2017 7:13 am

Word of the Day: Livelong 

 
adjective 




Definition

: whole, entire

Examples

The farmhands worked hard all the livelong day and finally fell into their beds, exhausted, well past sundown.
"They were part of a research study that showed how standing in the classroom (and not sitting all the livelong day) can help reduce body mass index…." — Leslie Barker, The Dallas Morning News, 30 Aug. 2016




Did You Know?

"I've been workin' on the railroad, all the livelong day." So goes the American folk standard, and nowadays when we encounter the word livelong, it is typically in the phrase "all the livelong day" or something similar. Although we don't see livelong much in prose anymore, poets still love the word, possibly for its two distinct, alliterative syllables. Despite the resemblance, livelong does not mean the same thing as lifelong (as in "a lifelong friend"). In fact, the words are not closely related: the live in livelong derives from lef, a Middle English word meaning "dear or beloved."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Snaffle    Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:07 am

Word of the Day: Snaffle 

 
verb 



Definition

: to obtain especially by devious or irregular means

Examples

A malicious code discovered in the computer system was designed to snaffle user names and passwords.

"A quick-thinking and quick-catching baseball player has avoided a potential disaster in the dugout for his team, as he snaffled a bat careering towards his team." — Wide World of Sports (www.wwos.nine.com.au), 3 Mar. 2017




Did You Know?

The origins of snaffle are shrouded in mystery. What we know of its story begins in the 16th century. At that time, snaffle existed as both a noun referring to a simple bit for a horse's bridle and a verb meaning "to fit or equip with a snaffle" or "to restrain or check with or as if with a snaffle." The noun could be from an old German word for "mouth," snavel, but the connection has not been confirmed. The "obtain" meaning of the verb appeared in the early 18th century, and its origins are similarly elusive. Not so mysterious is what happened next to the verb: it developed a meaning of "to steal or rob," at least in British dialects.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Napery    Thu Apr 13, 2017 5:27 am

Word of the Day: Napery 
 
noun 




Definition

: household linen; especially : table linen

Examples

The napery was laundered and starched and folded crisply for the next day's brunch guests.
"Once upstairs, the sense of a solid, proper steakhouse, with low lighting, a busy bar, tufted chairs and banquettes, and snow-white napery on the tables, is clear and obvious." — Merrill Shindler, The Los Angeles Daily News, 28 Feb. 2017



Did You Know?

Napery has been used as a fancy word for our household linens, especially those used to cover a table, since the 14th century. The word derives via Middle English from Anglo-French nape, meaning "tablecloth," and ultimately from Latin mappa, "napkin." You can see part of the word napkin in that root; another, much less obvious relative is apron, which was once spelled as napron in Middle English but gradually evolved to its current spelling by way of English speakers habitually misdividing the phrase a napron as an apron.
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