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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Magnanimous   Fri Apr 14, 2017 9:13 am

Word of the Day: Magnanimous
 
adjective 




Definition

1 : showing or suggesting a lofty and courageous spirit

2 : showing or suggesting nobility of feeling and generosity of mind

Examples

Rather than gloat about her victory in the race, Michelle chose to be magnanimous and congratulated her opponents on their strong showings.

"Of course, all TV shows will one day end, and cancellation is part of the business. But similar to its streaming rival Netflix, Amazon has been unusually magnanimous with renewals, granting second and even third seasons to series that haven't exactly captured the cultural conversation…." — Meredith Blake, The Los Angeles Times, 17 Dec. 2016



Did You Know?

When you see anima, animus, or a similar formation in a word, it's an indicator of something alive, lively, or spirited. Something described as animated is full of life, for example, and the word animal names a living, breathing thing. The Latin word animus means "soul" or "spirit." In magnanimous, that animus is joined by Latin magnus, meaning "great." Basically meaning "greatness of spirit," magnanimity is the opposite of pettiness. A truly magnanimous person can lose without complaining and win without gloating. Angry disputes can sometimes be resolved when one side makes a magnanimous gesture toward another.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Pittance    Sat Apr 15, 2017 7:29 am

Word of the Day: Pittance 


noun 




Definition

: a small portion, amount, or allowance; also : a meager wage or remuneration

Examples

"… chances are good that any snow that might fall in coming days could be like the pittance of flakes that fell Thursday—and then almost immediately melted." — Neil Johnson, The Janesville (Wisconsin) Gazette, 11 Mar. 2017

"It's a setup worthy of Sherlock Holmes: a museum acquires a work of art for a pittance, not quite realizing what it has on its hands, only to discover, quite casually, that the piece in question is a long-lost work by a canonical artist." — Kirkus Reviews, 24 Feb. 2017




Did You Know?

It's a pity when you haven't anything but a pittance. And in fact, pity and pittance share etymological roots. The Middle English word pittance came from Anglo-French pitance, meaning "pity" or "piety." Originally, a pittance was a gift or bequest to a religious community, or a small charitable gift. Ultimately, the word comes from the Latin pietas, meaning "piety" or "compassion." Our words pity and piety come from pietas as well.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Interminable    Sun Apr 16, 2017 8:15 am

Word of the Day: Interminable 
 
adjective 




Definition

: having or seeming to have no end; especially : wearisomely protracted

Examples

Hayley didn't think she would have the patience to sit through another interminable radio pledge drive without changing the station at least once.

"Garrett Richards' first thought when he found out about his torn elbow ligament in May was to schedule Tommy John surgery as soon as possible.… Richards knew how to handle the seemingly interminable months of rehab, and he wanted to get the clock started on his return." — Jorge L. Ortiz, USA Today, 28 Feb. 2017




Did You Know?

We promise not to ramble on endlessly about the origins of interminable. The word was borrowed into English in the 15th century and descends from a Latin combination of the prefix in- ("not") and the verb terminare, meaning "to terminate" or "to limit." The word describes not only something without an actual end (or no end in sight, such as "interminable oceans"), but also events, such as tedious lectures, that drag on in such a way that they give no clear indication of ever wrapping up. Other relatives of interminable in English include terminate, determine, terminal, and exterminate.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Reciprocate   Mon Apr 17, 2017 5:20 am

Word of the Day: Reciprocate

 
verb 




Definition

1 : to give and take mutually

2 : to return in kind or degree

3 : to make a return for something done or given

4 : to move backward and forward alternately

Examples

It was kind of Jake to give us a ride to the airport, and we'd like to find a way to reciprocate the favor.
"The covenant only works if each partner, as best as possible, puts the other's needs above his or her own, with the understanding that the other will reciprocate." — David Brooks, The New York Times, 7 Mar. 2017



Did You Know?

Reciprocate, retaliate, requite, and return all mean "to give back," usually in kind or in quantity. Reciprocate implies a mutual or equivalent exchange or a paying back of what one has received ("We reciprocated their hospitality by inviting them to our beach house"). Retaliate usually implies a paying back of an injury or offense in exact kind, often vengefully ("She retaliated by spreading equally nasty rumors about them"). Requite implies a paying back according to one's preference, and often not in an equivalent fashion ("He requited her love with cold indifference"). Return implies simply a paying or giving back ("returned their call" or "return good for evil").
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Grimalkin   Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:19 am

Word of the Day: Grimalkin
 
noun 



Definition

: a domestic cat; especially : an old female cat

Examples

The family grimalkin, dreaming, perhaps, of mousing days long past, twitched her tail as she dozed contentedly on the windowsill.

"The security-evading feline was caught on camera … on a confectionary shelf, back in November. Now, the grumpy grimalkin has been pictured glaring down at shoppers from above a fridge full of pizzas, garlic bread and ready meals." — Hatty Collier, News Shopper, 7 Jan. 2016




Did You Know?

In the opening scene of William Shakespeare's Macbeth, one of the three witches planning to meet with Macbeth suddenly announces, "I come, Graymalkin." The witch is responding to the summons of her familiar, or guardian spirit, which is embodied in the form of a cat. Shakespeare's graymalkin literally means "gray cat." The gray is of course the color; the malkin was a nickname for Matilda or Maud that came to be used in dialect as a general name for a cat—and sometimes a hare—and for an untidy woman as well. By the 1630s, graymalkin had been altered to the modern spelling grimalkin.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Tatterdemalion   Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:05 am

Word of the Day: Tatterdemalion


 
adjective 




Definition

1 : ragged or disreputable in appearance

2 : being in a decayed state or condition : dilapidated

Examples

"ThreadBanger features episodes about making clothes and other D.I.Y. endeavors that will make you wish you could live life all over again and be a tatterdemalion steampunk kid from San Francisco." — Virginia Hefferman, The New York Times, 21 June 2009

"Layoffs in the refinery, paper mills and brewery that anchored the economy after its shipbuilding and merchant trading days ended have left many striking 19th century buildings of the compact, hilly downtown in a tatterdemalion state but have not torn its welcoming, small-town atmosphere." — Philip Hersh, The Chicago Tribune, 21 Nov. 2014




Did You Know?

The exact origin of tatterdemalion is uncertain, but it's probably connected to either the noun tatter ("a torn scrap or shred") or the adjective tattered ("ragged" or "wearing ragged clothes"). We do know that tatterdemalion has been used in print since the 1600s. In its first documented use, it was a noun referring to a person in ragged clothing—the type of person we might also call a ragamuffin. (Ragamuffin, incidentally, predates tatterdemalion in this sense. Like tatterdemalion, it may have been formed by combining a known word, rag, with a fanciful ending.) Soon after the first appearance of tatterdemalion, it came to be used as an adjective to describe anything or anyone ragged or disreputable.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Eighty-six    Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:37 am

Word of the Day: Eighty-six 

 
verb 




Definition

: (slang) to refuse to serve (a customer); also : to get rid of : throw out

Examples

The bar's policy is that bartenders have both the authority and responsibility to eighty-six customers who disrupt other patrons.

"He eighty-sixed the last reform once he was safely re-elected, saying he wanted to give municipalities more time to get ready for the change." — Brian O'Neill, The Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) Post-Gazette, 14 June 2007




Did You Know?

If you work in a restaurant or bar, you might eighty-six (or "eliminate") a menu item when you run out of it, or you might eighty-six (or "cut off") a customer who should no longer be served. Eighty-six is still used in this specific context, but it has also entered the general language. These days, you don't have to be a worker in a restaurant or bar to eighty-six something—you just have to be someone with something to get rid of or discard. There are many popular but unsubstantiated theories about the origin of eighty-six. The explanation judged most probable by Merriam-Webster etymologists is that the word was created as a rhyming slang word for nix, which means "to veto" or "to reject."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Bucolic    Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:37 am

Word of the Day: Bucolic 

 
adjective 


Definition

1 : of or relating to shepherds or herdsmen : pastoral

2 a : relating to or typical of rural life

b : pleasing or picturesque in natural simplicity : idyllic

Examples

"My husband, Toby, and I … live on a remote sheep farm in the Cotswold Hills.… Our house perches on the edge of a bucolic valley, its pastures divided by ancient dry-stone walls and hawthorn hedges." — Plum Sykes, Vogue, November 2016

"With acres of tree-shaded paths, outdoor cafés, a lake with rowboats, and several exhibition spaces, the city's grandest park offers a bucolic escape." — Andrew Ferren, Traveler, November 2016



Did You Know?

We get bucolic from the Latin word bucolicus, which is ultimately from the Greek word boukolos, meaning "cowherd." When bucolic was first used in English as an adjective in the early 17th century, it meant "pastoral" in a narrow sense—that is, it referred to things related to shepherds or herdsmen and in particular to pastoral poetry. Later in the 19th century, it was applied more broadly to things rural or rustic. Bucolic has also been occasionally used as a noun meaning "a pastoral poem" or "a bucolic person."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Cartographer    Sat Apr 22, 2017 9:15 am

Word of the Day: Cartographer 
 
noun 




Definition

: one that makes maps

Examples

A cartographer was brought in to create new graphical representations of the shoreline that had been reshaped by erosion.

"A multi-media interactive website that celebrates the life and times of 16th-century cartographer Martin Waldseemüller—who created the 1507 World Map … —has been unveiled by the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., and the Galileo Museum, Florence, Italy." — USA Today, 1 Jan. 2017



Did You Know?

Up until the 18th century, maps were often decorated with fanciful beasts and monsters, at the expense of accurate details about places. French mapmakers of the 1700s and 1800s encouraged the use of more scientific methods in the art they called cartographie. The French word cartographie (the science of making maps), from which we get our English word cartography, was created from carte, meaning "map," and -graphie, meaning "representation by." Around the same time we adopted cartography in the mid-19th century, we also created our word for a mapmaker, cartographer.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Factoid    Sun Apr 23, 2017 7:00 am

Word of the Day: Factoid 

 
noun 



Definition

1 : an invented fact believed to be true because of its appearance in print

2 : a briefly stated and usually trivial fact

Examples

Printed on the back of each baseball card is a chart showing the player's statistics along with one or two interesting factoids about his career.

"Diana, the manager, took us through the intricacies of coffee roasting, providing us with interesting factoids such as that lava from the volcanoes results in excellent soil for coffee growing, and the darker the coffee bean, the less caffeine it has." — Patti Nickell, The Lexington (Kentucky) Herald Leader, 17 Feb. 2017



Did You Know?

We can thank Norman Mailer for the word factoid; he coined the term in his 1973 book Marilyn, about Marilyn Monroe. In the book, Mailer explains that factoids are "facts which have no existence before appearing in a magazine or newspaper, creations which are not so much lies as a product to manipulate emotion in the Silent Majority." Mailer's use of the -oid suffix (which traces back to the ancient Greek word eidos, meaning "appearance" or "form") follows in the pattern of humanoid: just as a humanoid appears to be human but is not, so a factoid appears to be factual but is not. Mailer likely did not appreciate the word's evolution. As current evidence demonstrates, it now most often refers to things that decidedly are facts, just not ones we tend to pay much attention to.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Ambiguous   Mon Apr 24, 2017 8:07 am

Word of the Day: Ambiguous
 
adjective 




Definition

1 a : doubtful or uncertain especially from obscurity or indistinctness

b : incapable of being explained, interpreted, or accounted for : inexplicable

2 : capable of being understood in two or more possible senses or ways

Examples

"In the app, numbers and symbols are included by default, and ambiguous characters like the digit 0 and capital O are suppressed." — Neil J. Rubenking, PCMag.com, 24 Feb. 2017

"The setting for this story is ambiguous—a girl and her mother leave one country for another to escape an unspecified conflict. The only clue given to the location is the vast ocean separating the two countries, which the refugees must travel by boat." — Anna Fitzpatrick, The Globe and Mail (Canada), 4 Mar. 2017



Did You Know?

Ambiguous, obscure, vague, equivocal, and cryptic are used to describe writing or speech that is not clearly understandable. Ambiguous applies to language capable of more than one interpretation ("an ambiguous suggestion") and derives from the Latin verb ambigere, meaning "to be undecided." Obscure suggests a hiding or veiling of meaning through some inadequacy of expression or withholding of full knowledge ("obscure poems"). Vague, on the other hand, describes a lack of clear formulation due to inadequate conception or consideration ("a vague sense of obligation"). Equivocal is the best choice for language that creates a wrong or false impression, allowing for uncertainty or promoting mistaken interpretations ("the politician gave an equivocal answer"), and when there is a deliberate attempt to confuse, cryptic can be used ("cryptic clues about the location of the buried treasure"). The enigmatologist
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Hummock   Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:07 am

Word of the Day: Hummock

 
noun 




Definition

1 : a rounded knoll or hillock

2 : a ridge of ice

3 : a fertile area in the southern United States and especially Florida that is usually higher than its surroundings and that is characterized by hardwood vegetation and deep humus-rich soil

Examples

"Ah! I have penetrated to those meadows on the morning of many a first spring day, jumping from hummock to hummock, from willow root to willow root, when the wild river valley and the woods were bathed in so pure and bright a light as would have waked the dead, if they had been slumbering in their graves, as some suppose." — Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

"Relying on a surveying device … Reeder set about measuring minute elevation changes across the land, searching for subtle gradations and anomalies. He zeroed in on a hummock that looked like the earthen side of a bunker, long since overgrown with moss and foliage, and roughly 100 feet away, a telltale dip in the earth." — Matthew Shaer, Smithsonian Magazine, March 2017



Did You Know?

Hummock first appeared in English in the mid-1500s as an alteration of hammock, another word which can be used for a small hill. This hammock is not related to the hammock we use to refer to a swinging bed made of netting or canvas. That hammock comes from the Spanish hamaca, and ultimately from Taino, a language spoken by the original inhabitants of the Greater Antilles and the Bahamas. The origins of the other hammock and the related hummock are still obscure, though we know they share an ancestor with Middle Low German hummel ("small height") and hump ("bump"). The latter of those is also a cousin of the English word hump, another word which can refer to a small hill or hummock.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Upbraid   Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:46 am

Word of the Day: Upbraid

 
verb 




Definition

1 : to criticize severely : find fault with

2 : to reproach severely : scold vehemently

Examples

"A helpful neighbor was able to contact the owner in Dorset and upbraided her for having her house stand empty while a young couple could find no place to live." — Kitty Ferguson, Stephen Hawking: An Unfettered Mind, 2012
"There was a steady stream of customers, mostly for takeout, and the experience was marred only by a guy we took to be the proprietor upbraiding one of his employees in front of the customers. Bad form, sir." — Heidi Knapp Rinella, The Las Vegas Review-Journal, 1 Apr. 2016

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Did You Know?

Upbraid, scold, and berate all mean to reproach angrily, but with slight differences in emphasis. Scold usually implies rebuking in irritation or ill temper, either justly or unjustly. Upbraid tends to suggest censuring on definite and usually justifiable grounds, while berate implies scolding that is prolonged and even abusive. If you're looking for a more colorful term for telling someone off, try tongue-lash, bawl out, chew out, or wig—all of which are fairly close synonyms of berate. Among these synonyms, upbraid is the senior member in English, being older than the others by at least 100 years. Upbraid derives via Middle English from the Old English ūpbregdan, believed to be formed from a prefix meaning "up" and the verb bregdan, meaning "to snatch" or "to move suddenly."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Junket    Thu Apr 27, 2017 5:25 am

Word of the Day: Junket 
 
noun 




Definition

1 : a dessert of sweetened flavored milk set with rennet

2 a : a festive social affair

b : trip, journey: such as (1) : a trip made by an official at public expense (2) : a promotional trip made at another's expense

Examples

The senator is under fire for going on a weeklong lavish junket.

"When I was young, … our family often made junkets after church on Sunday, to Cook's, a massive arrangement of barns and sheds near New London. Purveyors of everything from household items to car parts, it … had such buyer appeal that it seemed to be swarming with shoppers every time we stopped in." — The Litchfield (Minnesota) Independent Review, 9 Feb. 2017

Did You Know?

The road junket has traveled has been a long one, with frequent stops for food along the way. Since at least the 15th century, the word has named various comestibles, ranging from curds and cream to sweet confections. By the 16th century, junket had also come to mean "banquet." Apparently, traveling must have been involved to reach some junkets because eventually the term was also applied to pleasure outings or trips (whether or not food was the focus). Today, the word usually refers either to a trip made by a government official and paid for by the public, or to a free trip by a member of the press to a place where something, such as a new movie, is being promoted.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Slough   Fri Apr 28, 2017 5:11 am

Word of the Day: Slough 

verb 




Definition

1 : to cast off or become cast off

2 : to crumble slowly and fall away

3 : to get rid of or discard as irksome, objectionable, or disadvantageous

Examples

"The glue [that affixes the tiling to the hull] is exposed to a wide variety of environmental conditions, including big temperature swings as well as the pressures of operating at 1,000 feet beneath the surface. The friction of moving underwater tugs at the coating, and running into objects contributes to it gradually sloughing off." — Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 7 Mar. 2017

"After Monday’s [landslide], the Department of Public Works cut down two trees on the hillside, removed a loose mass of dirt that was unstable and reopened the road. But a significant chunk of the hillside sloughed off in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, with a valley resident alerting people that it had closed as early as 12:30 a.m." — Samantha Kimmey, Point Reyes Light (Marin County, California), 9 Mar. 2017




Did You Know?

There are two verbs spelled slough in English, as well as two nouns, and both sets have different pronunciations. The first noun, referring to a swamp or a discouraged state of mind, is pronounced to rhyme with either blue or cow; it derives from Old English slōh, which is akin to a Middle High German slouche, meaning "ditch." Its related verb, which can mean "to plod through mud," has the same pronunciation. The second noun, pronounced to rhyme with cuff, refers to the shed skin of a snake (as well as anything else that has been cast off). Its related verb describes the action of shedding or eliminating something, just like a snake sheds its skin. This slough derives from Middle English slughe and is distantly related to slūch, a Middle High German word meaning "snakeskin."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Lethargic    Sat Apr 29, 2017 9:17 am

Word of the Day: Lethargic 
 
adjective 




Definition

1 : of, relating to, or characterized by laziness or lack of energy : feeling or affected by lethargy : sluggish

2 : indifferent, apathetic

Examples

After eating a large plate of spaghetti and meatballs I often feel lethargic and sleepy.
"The cold water temperatures slow down the metabolism of the fish, and they become very lethargic." — Jim Hutchinson, Asbury Park (New Jersey) Press, 9 Mar. 2017




Did You Know?

In Greek mythology, Lethe was the name of a river in the underworld that was also called "the River of Unmindfulness" or "the River of Forgetfulness." Legend held that when someone died, he or she was given a drink of water from the river Lethe to forget all about his or her past life. Eventually this act of forgetting came to be associated with feelings of sluggishness, inactivity, or indifference. The name of the river and the word lethargic, as well as the related noun lethargy, all derive from lēthē, Greek for "forgetfulness."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Orientate    Sun Apr 30, 2017 8:25 am

Word of the Day: Orientate 


verb 




Definition

1 : to set or arrange in a definite position especially in relation to the points of the compass

2 : to acquaint with the existing situation or environment

3 : to direct (as a book or film) toward the interests of a particular group

Examples

The program is designed to orientate new students to the college and community.

"… the conference's focus was orientated toward the production side of organic farming, which is most beneficial to individual farmers." — Nathan J. Tohtsoni, The Gallup (New Mexico) Independent, 28 Feb. 2017



Did You Know?

Orientate is a synonym of orient, and it has attracted criticism as a consequence. Orient, which dates from the early 18th century, is in fact the older of the two verbs—orientate joined the language in the mid-19th century. Both can mean "to cause to face toward the east" and, not surprisingly, they are related to the noun Orient, meaning "the East." Both also have broader meanings that relate to setting or determining direction or position, either literally or figuratively. Some critics dislike orientate because it is one syllable longer than orient, but you can decide for yourself how important that consideration is to you. Personal choice is the primary deciding factor, although orientate tends to be used more often in British English than it is in American English.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Fey    Mon May 01, 2017 8:00 am

Word of the Day: Fey 


adjective 




Definition

1 : marked by a foreboding of death or calamity

2 a : marked by an otherworldly air or attitude

b : crazy, touched

3 a : excessively refined : precious

b : quaintly unconventional : campy

Examples

"Often I slipped into one of a few personas I had invented to make myself feel more authentically magical. Sometimes I was Cassandra, a husky-voiced Southern belle who called everyone 'honey child.' Other times I became Gabriel, a fey mystic with an accent that I imagined to be French-ish." — Bennett Madison, The New York Times, 5 Sept. 2016

"What children get is something even better. They get a Batman who isn't invulnerable and who needs his friends. They get a fey, effeminate hero who is every bit as brave and talented as his mentor…." — Louis McEvoy, Cherwell (Oxford University), 25 Feb. 2017



Did You Know?

Fey is a word that defies its own (original) meaning, since it has yet to even come close to the brink of death after being in our language for well over 800 years. In Old and Middle English it meant "feeble" or "sickly." Those meanings turned out to be fey themselves, but the word lived on in senses related to death, and because a wild or elated state of mind was once believed to portend death, other senses arose from these. The word fay, meaning "fairy" or "elf," may also have had an influence on some senses of fey. Not until the 20th century did the word's most recent meanings, "precious" and "campy," find their way into the dictionary.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Majordomo    Tue May 02, 2017 8:04 am

Word of the Day: Majordomo 


 
noun 



Definition

1 : a head steward of a large household (such as a palace)

2 : butler, steward

3 : a person who speaks, makes arrangements, or takes charge for another; broadly : the person who runs an enterprise

Examples

"Arriving at the Palace, he was informed that His Highness had gone out shortly after breakfast, and had not returned. The majordomo gave the information with a tinkle of disapproval in his voice." — P. G. Wodehouse, The Prince and Betty, 1912

"When Hinton died, his will transferred half of his interest in the property to Robert Kelly, an Army buddy who was working as Hinton's majordomo at the ranch." — John Cannon, The San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 May 2015




Did You Know?

Majordomo has relatives in Spanish (mayordomo) and Italian (the now obsolete maiordomo), and English speakers borrowed the term from one of these languages. All three words—majordomo, mayordomo, and maiordomo—ultimately come from the Medieval Latin major domus, meaning "chief of the house." In its earliest uses, majordomo referred to the head steward of a royal household. The position was a high one with some relatively weighty responsibilities. Later, in the U.S., the word was used for the steward or overseer of a ranch. Since then, the word's meaning has extended even further; today, majordomo can designate any person who takes charge of another's affairs, be they business or personal.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Refurbish    Wed May 03, 2017 7:46 am

Word of the Day: Refurbish 

 
verb 



Definition

: to brighten or freshen up : renovate

Examples

"Ann Eliza noticed that Evelina now took the precaution of putting on her crimson bow every evening before supper, and that she had refurbished with a bit of carefully washed lace the black silk which they still called new because it had been bought a year after Ann Eliza's." — Edith Wharton, Bunner Sisters, 1916

"The company doesn't make jet engines, but it does build and refurbish critical components that protect them and enable them to power aircraft through the skies." — Lawrence Specker, The Mobile (Alabama) Register, 19 Mar. 2017



Did You Know?

If you're wondering if refurbish implies the existence of an earlier furbish, you are on the right track. Furbish was borrowed into English in the 14th century from Anglo-French furbiss-, a distant relative of Old High German furben, meaning "to polish." In its earliest uses furbish also meant "to polish," but it developed an extended sense of "renovate" shortly before English speakers created refurbish with the same meaning in the 17th century. These days refurbish is the more common of the two words, although furbish does continue to be used.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Visceral    Thu May 04, 2017 8:14 am

Word of the Day: Visceral 
 
adjective 




Definition

1 : felt in or as if in the internal organs of the body : deep

2 : not intellectual : instinctive, unreasoning

3 : dealing with crude or elemental emotions : earthy

4 : of, relating to, or located on or among the internal organs of the body : splanchnic

Examples

"My mom is the only one who still writes me letters. And there's something visceral about opening a letter—I see her on the page. I see her in her handwriting." — Steve Carell, quoted in The Boston Globe Magazine, 24 July 2011
"After months of drama, the gravity of the coming week is hard to grasp and, totally untested, feels strangely abstract. What is tangible, however, is the spitting acrimony and visceral anger that still animate both sides of the Brexit debate." — Louis McEvoy, Cherwell (Oxford University), 25 Feb. 2017




Did You Know?

The viscera are the internal organs of the body—especially those located in the large cavity of the trunk (e.g., the heart, liver, and intestines). The word viscera comes from Latin, in which it has essentially the same meaning. Something visceral has to do with the viscera, and in a more figurative sense, something visceral is felt "deep down." Even in the early years of its use, visceral often referred to things emotional rather than physiological. For example, in 1640 an English bishop named Edward Reynolds wrote, "Love is of all other the inmost and most visceral affection." This figurative use is the most common use of visceral, but the word continues to be used in medical contexts as well.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Acronym    Fri May 05, 2017 8:50 am

Word of the Day: Acronym 

 
noun 



Definition

: a word (such as NATO, radar, or laser) formed from the initial letter or letters of each of the successive parts or major parts of a compound term; also : an abbreviation (such as FBI) formed from initial letters : initialism

Examples

The new committee spent a fair amount of time choosing a name that would lend itself to an appealing acronym.
"For now, the Regional Acceleration and Mentoring Program—which goes by the acronym RAMP—looks like an average office space on the third floor of the old Gill Memorial Hospital Building in downtown Roanoke, complete with separate rooms for five companies, shared meeting areas and a kitchen." — Jacob Demmitt, The Roanoke (Virginia) Times, 17 Mar. 2017



Did You Know?

Acronym was created by combining acr- ("beginning" or "top") with -onym ("name" or "word"). You may recognize -onym in other familiar English words, such as pseudonym and synonym. English speakers borrowed -onym from the Greek onyma ("name") and acr- from the Greek akros (meaning "topmost, extreme"). When acronym first entered English, some usage commentators decreed that it should refer to combinations of initial letters that were pronounced as if they were whole words (such as radar and scuba), differentiated from an initialism, which is spoken by pronouncing the component letters (as in FBI and CEO). These days, however, that distinction is largely lost, and acronym is a common label for both types of abbreviation.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Demean    Sat May 06, 2017 8:58 am

Word of the Day: Demean 

 
verb 




Definition

: to conduct or behave (oneself) usually in a proper manner

Examples

Theresa was proud of how well her boys demeaned themselves during the ceremony.

"He knew that he had been lackadaisical, and was ashamed of himself; and at once resolved that he would henceforth demean himself as though no calamity had happened to him." — Anthony Trollope, The Small House at Allington, 1864




Did You Know?

There are two words spelled demean in English. The more familiar demean—"to lower in character, status, or reputation"—comes straight from mean, the adjective that means "spiteful." Today's featured word, on the other hand, comes from the Anglo-French verb demener ("to conduct"), which in turn comes from Latin minare, meaning "to drive." This verb has been with us since the 14th century and is generally used in contexts (especially formal ones) specifying a type of behavior: "he demeaned himself in a most unfriendly manner"; "she demeaned herself as befitting her station in life"; "they knew not how to demean themselves in the king's presence." As you may have already guessed, the noun demeanor, meaning "behavior," comes from this demean.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Tetchy    Sun May 07, 2017 8:46 am

Word of the Day: Tetchy 

 
adjective 



Definition

: irritably or peevishly sensitive : touchy

Examples

"What's the use of being cross with this old man? … Seems to me you're getting awful tetchy! Don't you like your old friends any more?" — Booth Tarkington, Alice Adams, 1921
"A million years ago, when written communication between people was limited to emails, I had a policy of always engaging. It took effort to compose an email, and I found even the tetchy ones gratifying. As long as the sender wasn't too obviously insane, I would reply…." — Emma Brockes, The Guardian, 5 Apr. 2017



Did You Know?

One of the first cited uses of tetchy occurs in William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet (1596). Etymologists are not certain how the word came about, but some have suggested that it derives from tetch, an obsolete noun meaning "habit." The similarity both in meaning and pronunciation to touchy might lead you to conclude that tetchy is related to that word, but there is no conclusive evidence to suggest such a connection. The adjectives teched and tetched, meaning "mentally unbalanced," are variations of touched, and are probably also unrelated to tetchy.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Panacea    Mon May 08, 2017 8:29 am

Word of the Day: Panacea 
 
noun 




Definition

: a remedy for all ills or difficulties : cure-all

Examples

Georgette said, "I don't know if hybrid cars are a panacea for the world's environmental issues, but they seem to be a step in the right direction."

"… while an uptick in subscriptions is certainly a good thing, it is unlikely to be a panacea for what ails newspapers." — Leonard Pitts, The Miami Herald, 3 Mar. 2017




Did You Know?

Panacea is from Latin, and the Latin word, in turn, is from Greek panakeia. In Greek, panakēs means "all-healing," combining pan- ("all") and akos, which means "remedy." The Latin designation Panacea or Panaces has been awarded to more than one plant at one time or other, among them the herb today known as Prunella vulgaris, whose common name is self-heal. More often than not, panacea is used when decrying a claim made for a remedy that seems too good to be true. Most likely that's what the author is doing in a 1625 anatomical treatise, describing "a certaine medicine made of saffron, quick silver, vermilion, antimonie, and certaine sea shels made up in fashion of triangular lozenges," and calling it a panacea.
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