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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Conversant    Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:17 am

Word of the Day: Conversant 


 
adjective 




Definition

: having knowledge or experience

Examples

The ideal candidate for the sommelier position will have expert knowledge of the various wine varieties served in the restaurant and be conversant in the rich vocabulary of viniculture.

"My sister is a cognitive scientist at M.I.T., more conversant than most people in the mental processes involved in tracking and misplacing objects." — Kathryn Schulz, The New Yorker, 13 Feb. 2017



Did You Know?

The adjectives conversant and conversational are related; both are descendants of Latin conversari, meaning "to associate with." Conversant dates to the Middle Ages, and an early meaning of the word was simply "having familiar association." One way to associate with others is to have a conversation with them—in other words, to talk. For a short time in the 19th century conversant could mean "relating to or suggesting conversation," but for the most part that meaning stayed with conversational while conversant went in a different direction. Today, conversant is sometimes used, especially in the United States, with the meaning "able to talk in a foreign language," as in "she is conversant in several languages," but it is more often associated with knowledge or familiarity, as in "conversant with the issues."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Bibelot    Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:17 pm

Word of the Day: Bibelot 


 
noun 



Definition

: a small household ornament or decorative object : trinket

Examples

"Moonlight furbished the brown cylindrical floor vase and its gnarled branch, as well as an aquarium bibelot in the shape of a ruined arch on his bedside table." — Nicholson Baker, The New Yorker, 27 June - 4 July 1994

"The sitting room is inviting, with its smart soft furnishings and bibelots, many of them from Samantha's mother, Lady Astor's, furnishing business, OKA—a sort of one-stop-tasteful decorating shop for the well-heeled." — Debora Robertson, The Telegraph (UK), 4 Aug. 2017




Did You Know?

Can you think of a six-letter synonym of bibelot that starts with the letter "g"? No? How about an eight-letter one? Crossword puzzle whizzes might guess that the words we are thinking of are gewgaw and gimcrack. Like these, bibelot, which English speakers borrowed from French, has uses beyond wordplay. In addition to its general use as a synonym of trinket, it can refer specifically to a miniature book of elegant design (such as those made by Tiffany and Faberge). It also appears regularly in the names of things as diverse as restaurants and show dogs.

Cal - I'm loving the phrase, "he complicated parade of emotions flashing across his cousin’s face." The whole skit about the names was hillarious and you captured their reaction to swallowing the moonshine perfectly. I love the idea of having a hairdown. I may have one of those myself. This whole story was a total romp and loads of fun. Great to see Heyes' silver tongue in drunken overdrive too. I loved it and I'n very glad you continued with this story.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Scour   Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:49 pm

Word of the Day: Scour 


 
verb 



Definition

1 : to move about quickly especially in search

2 : to go through or range over in or as if in a search

Examples

The dog scoured the terrain in search of the tennis ball I had thrown.

"The rescue team scoured the ground and a New Hampshire National Guard Black Hawk helicopter also searched the area." — Emily Sweeney, The Boston Globe, 18 July 2017

x!


Did You Know?

There are two distinct homographs of the verb scour in English. One means to clean something by rubbing it hard with a rough object; that scour, which goes back to at least the early 14th century, probably derives—via Middle Dutch and Old French—from a Late Latin verb, excurare, meaning "to clean off." Today's word, however, which appears in the 13th century, is believed to derive from the Old Norse skur, meaning "shower." (Skur is also distantly related to the Old English scur, the ancestor of our English word shower.) Many disparate things can be scoured. For example, one can scour an area (as in "scoured the woods in search of the lost dog") or publications (as in "scouring magazine and newspaper articles").
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PostSubject: Word of the Day Precocious   Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:59 am

Word of the Day  Precocious

 
adjective 




Definition

1 : exceptionally early in development or occurrence

2 : exhibiting mature qualities at an unusually early age

Examples

"They explained to me that we were going to watch people audition…. I ended up jumping onstage and singing something…. They thought I was precocious enough to be put in the chorus of the production. I was the only kid." — Johnny Galecki, quoted in The Las Cruces (New Mexico) Sun-News, 8 Mar. 2017

"Apricots, almonds, and other fruit trees are notoriously vulnerable to frost damage of buds or precocious flowers…." — Michael Bone et al., Steppes: The Plants and Ecology of the World's Semi-arid Regions, 2015




Did You Know?

Precocious got started in Latin when the prefix prae-, meaning "ahead of," was combined with the verb coquere, meaning "to cook" or "to ripen," to form the adjective praecox, which means "early ripening" or "premature." By the mid-1600s, English speakers had turned praecox into precocious and were using it especially of plants that produced blossoms before their leaves came out. By the 1670s, precocious was also being used to describe humans who developed skills or talents before others typically did.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Marginalia    Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:55 am

Word of the Day: Marginalia 


 
noun 



Definition

1 : marginal notes or embellishments (such as in a book)

2 : nonessential items

Examples

"Over the next nine days, [John Hughes] completed the first draft of Home Alone, capped by an eight-hour, 44-page dash to the finale. Before finishing, he'd expressed concerns in the marginalia of his journal that he was working too slowly." — James Hughes, The Chicago Magazine, 10 Nov. 2015

"In Arderne's texts the marginalia has a clear purpose, but in other manuscripts the meaning of the drawings can be indecipherable. There are countless examples of unusual marginalia—monkeys playing the bagpipes, centaurs, knights in combat with snails, naked bishops, and strange human-animal hybrids that seem to defy categorization." — Anika Burgess, Atlas Obscura, 9 May 2017

Did You Know?

We don't consider a word's etymology to be marginalia, so we'll start off by telling you the etymology of this one. Marginalia is a New Latin word that borrows from the Medieval Latin adjective marginalis ("marginal") and ultimately from the noun  margo, meaning "border." Marginalia is a relatively new word; it dates from the 19th century despite describing something—notes in the margin of a text—that had existed as far back as the 11th century. An older word, apostille (or apostil) once referred to a single annotation made in a margin, but that word is rare today.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Inoculate   Sat Sep 16, 2017 8:05 am

Word of the Day: Inoculate 


verb 


Definition

1 a : to introduce a microorganism into

b : to introduce (something, such as a microorganism) into a suitable situation for growth

c : to introduce immunologically active material (such as an antibody or antigen) into especially in order to treat or prevent a disease

2 : to introduce something into the mind of

3 : to protect as if by inoculation


Examples

In 1796, the English physician Edward Jenner discovered that inoculating people with cowpox could provide immunity against smallpox.

"Typically, ambrosia beetles have a symbiotic relationship with a fungus the beetles carry as spores on their bodies. When the beetles bore into the sapwood of the host tree, the galleries formed from the beetle boring are inoculated with the fungal spores." — Les Harrison, The Wakulla News (Crawfordville, Florida), 12 July 2017



Did You Know?

If you think you see a connection between inoculate and ocular ("of or relating to the eye"), you are not mistaken—both words look back to oculus, the Latin word for "eye." But what does the eye have to do with inoculation? Our answer lies in the original use of inoculate in Middle English: "to insert a bud in a plant for propagation." Latin oculus was sometimes applied to things that were seen to resemble eyes, and one such thing was the bud of a plant. Inoculate was later applied to other forms of engrafting or implanting, including the introduction of vaccines as a preventative against disease.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Travesty    Sat Sep 16, 2017 10:19 pm

Word of the Day: Travesty 

 
noun 



Definition

1 : a burlesque translation or literary or artistic imitation usually grotesquely incongruous in style, treatment, or subject matter 

2 : a debased, distorted, or grossly inferior imitation

Examples

"What petty whims of a few higher-ups trampling the nation under their boots, ramming back down their throats the people's cries for truth and justice, with the travesty of state security as a pretext." — Émile Zola, letter, 13 Jan. 1898

"Fans of anime are ferociously purist and loyal, and for them, I suspect, the very notion of converting [Mamoru] Oshii's masterpiece (as it is deemed to be) into a live-action Hollywood remake smells of both travesty and sellout." — Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, 10 Apr. 2017




Did You Know?

The noun travesty, which current evidence dates to the 17th century, comes from the French verb travestir, meaning "to disguise." The word's roots, however, wind back through Italian to the Latin verb vestire, meaning "to clothe" or "to dress." Travesty is not the only English descendent of vestire. Others include vestment, divest, and investiture. Travesty, incidentally, can also be a verb meaning "to make a travesty of" or "to parody."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Portentous    Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:24 pm

Word of the Day: Portentous 



adjective 




Definition

1 : of, relating to, or constituting a portent

2 : eliciting amazement or wonder : prodigious

3 a : being a grave or serious matter 

b : self-consciously solemn or important : pompous

c : ponderously excessive

Examples

Our host had a habit of making portentous proclamations about the state of modern art, which was a bit of a turnoff for us as two art majors.

"[Glen Campbell] briefly joined the instrumental rock group the Champs, who'd had some success, in 1958, with 'Tequila,' still one of the best encapsulations of the portentous elation brought on by ice-cold margaritas." — Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, 9 Aug. 2017




Did You Know?

At the heart of portentous is portent, a word for an omen or sign, which comes to us from the Latin noun portentum of the same meaning. And indeed, the first uses of portentous did refer to omens. The second sense of portentous, describing that which is extremely impressive, developed in the 16th century. A third definition—"grave, solemn, significant"—was then added to the second edition of Webster's New International Dictionary in 1934. The word's connotations, however, have since moved into less estimable territory. It now frequently describes both the pompous and the excessive.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Amanuensis    Mon Sep 18, 2017 10:24 pm

Word of the Day: Amanuensis 


 
noun 




Definition

: one employed to write from dictation or to copy manuscript

Examples

"He then proceeded in his investigation, dictating, as he went on, the import of the questions and answers to the amanuensis, by whom it was written down." — Sir Walter Scott, Waverley, 1814

"In this version of the myth, Holmes is a real-world character whose exploits were rendered in print by his sidekick and amanuensis Dr. Watson, who's long since dead." — Marc Mohan, The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon), 17 July 2015




Did You Know?

In Latin, the phrase servus a manu translates loosely as "slave with secretarial duties." (The noun manu, meaning "hand," gave us words such as manuscript, which originally referred to a document written or typed by hand.) In the 17th century the second part of this phrase was borrowed into English to create amanuensis, a word for a person who is employed (willingly) to do the important but sometimes menial work of transcribing the words of another. While other quaint words, such as scribe or scrivener, might have similarly described the functions of such a person in the past, these days we're likely to call him or her a secretary or an administrative assistant.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Glabrous   Tue Sep 19, 2017 8:54 pm

Word of the Day: Glabrous


 
adjective 


Definition

: smooth; especially : having a surface without hairs or projections

Examples

Unlike the fuzzy peach, the nectarine has a glabrous skin.

"[T]o augment the body's own ability to shed heat …, Roy Kornbluh and his colleagues … are focusing on the body's glabrous, or hairless, areas. In mammals, these parts act like a car radiator, helping heat escape from the surface. In humans, the palms of the hands and soles of the feet are vital." — Hal Hodson, New Scientist, 30 Jan. 2016




Did You Know?

"Before them an old man, / wearing a fringe of long white hair, bareheaded, / his glabrous skull reflecting the sun's / light…." No question about it—the bald crown of an old man's head (as described here in William Carlos Williams's poem "Sunday in the Park") is a surface without hairs. Williams's use isn't typical, though. More often glabrous appears in scientific contexts, such as the following description of wheat: "The white glumes are glabrous, with narrow acuminate beaks." And although Latin glaber, our word's source, can mean simply "bald," when glabrous refers to skin with no hair in scientific English, it usually means skin that never had hair (such as the palms of the hands).
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Holus-bolus play   Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:24 am

Word of the Day: Holus-bolus play 

adverb 


Definition

: all at once

Examples

If you shout your questions at me holus-bolus, instead of asking them one at a time, then I won't be able to hear any of them.

"Grasses are a conundrum. If you plant too many, you end up with a hayfield—not a great look in a garden…. Lazy landscapers shove them in holus-bolus because they will survive just about anything." — Marjorie Harris, The Globe and Mail (Toronto), 30 May 2017




Did You Know?

The story of holus-bolus is not a hard one to swallow. Holus-bolus originated in English dialect in the mid-19th century and is believed to be a waggish reduplication of the word bolus. Bolus is from the Greek word bolos, meaning "lump," and has retained that Greek meaning. In English, bolus has additionally come to mean "a large pill," "a mass of chewed food," or "a dose of a drug given intravenously." Considering this "lumpish" history, it's not hard to see how holus-bolus, a word meaning "all at once" or "all in a lump," came about.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Shofa   Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:15 am

Word of the Day: Shofar 


 
noun 


Definition

: the horn of an animal (usually a ram) blown as a trumpet by the ancient Hebrews in battle and during religious observances and used in modern Judaism especially during Rosh Hashanah and at the end of Yom Kippur

Examples

"A collection of local artists will be selling their artwork, crafts, jewelry and Judaica, and gift booths will offer T-shirts, books and traditional Jewish and Israeli items, from mezuzahs to shofars." — Jennifer Nixon, The Arkansas (Little Rock) Democrat-Gazette, 27 Apr. 2017

"So I sat as still as possible, letting the melodic intonations of Hebrew roll through me, letting the haunting sound of the shofar fill my chest." — Robyn K. Schneider, Silent Running, 2015

Did You Know
One of the shofar's original uses was to proclaim the Jubilee year (a year of emancipation of Hebrew slaves and restoration of alienated lands to their former owners). Today, it is mainly used in synagogues during the High Holy Days. It is blown daily, except on Shabbat, during the month of Elul (the 12th month of the civil year or the 6th month of the ecclesiastical year in the Jewish calendar), and is sounded a number of times during the Rosh Hashanah services, and again at the end of the last service (known as neilah) on Yom Kippur. The custom is to sound the shofar in several series that alternate shorter notes resembling sobbing and wailing with longer unbroken blasts.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Yeasty    Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:07 am

Word of the Day: Yeasty 

 
adjective 




Definition

1 : of, relating to, or resembling yeast

2 a : immature, unsettled

b : marked by change

c : full of vitality

d : frivolous


Examples

"[A]ll this yeasty mingling of dimly understood facts with vague but deep impressions … had been disturbing her during the weeks of her engagement." — George Eliot, Daniel Deronda, 1876

"'O.K., I'm ready,' Ms. Boym said, addressing this reporter's microphone and letting loose a warm, yeasty laugh." — William L. Hamilton, The New York Times, 28 Nov. 2002




Did You Know?

The word yeast has existed in English for as long as the language has existed. Spellings have varied over time—in Middle English it was yest and in Old English gist or giest—but the word's meaning has remained basically the same for centuries. In its first documented English uses in the 1500s, the adjective yeasty described people or things with a yellowish or frothy appearance similar to the froth that forms on the top of fermented beverages (such as beers or ales). Since then, a number of extended figurative senses of yeasty have surfaced, all of which play in some way or another on the excitable, chemical nature of fermentation, such as by connoting unsettled activity or significant change.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Toothsome    Sat Sep 23, 2017 8:43 pm

Word of the Day: Toothsome 


 
adjective 




Definition

1 : agreeable, attractive

2 : of palatable flavor and pleasing texture : delicious

Examples

"Next came toothsome slices of bread with three spreads: an herbaceous carrot top pesto, creamy local butter and Cheeky Monkey, a garlicky tomato oil made in Syracuse." — Tracy Schuhmacher, The Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York), 16 Aug. 2017

"But the fall brings its own set of toothsome exhibitions that encompass a range of mediums, from the always-solid shows at Bullseye Projects that demonstrate the creative limits of glass to textile art, prints, photography, drawings and, oh yes, lots of painting." — Briana Miller, The Globe and Mail (Toronto), 30 May 2017




Did You Know?

One meaning of tooth is "a fondness or taste for something specified." Toothsome comes from this definition of tooth plus the suffix -some, meaning "characterized by." Although toothsome was at first used to describe general attractiveness, it quickly developed a second sense that was specific to the sense of taste (perhaps because from as far back as Chaucer's time, tooth could also refer specifically to eating and the sense of taste). In addition, toothsome is now showing signs of acquiring a third sense, "toothy" (as in "a toothsome grin"), but this sense is not yet established enough to qualify for dictionary entry.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Anathematize    Mon Sep 25, 2017 8:45 am

Word of the Day: Anathematize 




verb 



Definition

: curse, denounce

Examples

"A great deal has happened in a very short time.… Feminist reforms in the home and workplace … have gained renewed momentum. Youth culture has anathematized bullying and accorded pride of place to nerd culture." — Jonathan Chait, The New York Magazine, 29 June 2015

"Its reception of [George] Orwell serves as a fascinating case study of Commonweal's history and editorial culture. The magazine's editors and contributors neither anathematized Orwell nor sprinkled him with holy water. Instead they simply gave him the respect they thought he deserved…." — John Rodden and John Rossi, Commonweal, 23 Sept. 2016




Did You Know?

When 16th-century English speakers needed a verb meaning "to condemn by anathema" (that is, by an official curse from church authority), anathematize proved to be just the right word. But anathematize didn't originate in English as a combination of the noun anathema and the suffix -ize. Rather, our verb is based on forebears in Late Latin (anathematizare) and Greek (anathematizein). Anathematize can still indicate solemn, formal condemnation, but today it can also have milder applications. The same is true of anathema, which now often means simply "a vigorous denunciation," or more frequently, "something or someone intensely disliked or loathed."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Legerity    Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:42 pm

Word of the Day: Legerity 


 
noun 




Definition

: alert facile quickness of mind or body

Examples

The novel's less than compelling plot is counterbalanced by the narrator's wit and legerity.

"There are brand new vehicles, brand new tracks and brand new ways to get gamers to exercise the kind of hand-digit legerity that other games don't like to employ because it might make the casual audience actually have to work for a victory." — William Usher, CinemaBlend.com, 16 May 2014




Did You Know?

When legerity first appeared in English in the 1500s, it drew significantly upon the concept of being "light on one's feet," and appropriately so. It is derived from the Middle and Old French legereté ("lightness"), which was formed from the Old French adjective leger ("light in weight"). Leger comes from an assumed Vulgar Latin adjective, leviarius, a descendent of the older Latin levis ("having little weight"). These days, legerity can describe a nimbleness of mind as well as of the feet. A cousin of legerity in English is legerdemain, meaning "sleight of hand" or "a display of skill or adroitness." Legerdemain comes from the French phrase leger de main, meaning "light of hand."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Broadside    Wed Sep 27, 2017 8:57 am

Word of the Day: Broadside 


 
noun 



Definition

1 a : a sizable sheet of paper printed on one side; also : a sheet of paper printed on one or both sides and folded (such as for mailing)

b : something (such as a ballad) printed on a broadside

2 : all the guns on one side of a ship; also : their simultaneous discharge

3 : a volley of abuse or denunciation : a strongly worded attack

4 : a broad or unbroken surface

Examples

"When the Declaration of Independence was ratified, Congress ordered that it be read throughout the colonies. The first broadside was printed in Philadelphia by John Dunlap on the evening of July 4, 1776." — The Salem (Massachusetts) News, 29 Mar. 2016

"In response, Kobach said Hensley's broadside was larded with misrepresentations certain to be distasteful to Kansans hungry for decency in politics." — Tim Carpenter, The Topeka (Kansas) Capital-Journal, 16 Aug. 2017




Did You Know?

What do sheets of printed paper and a ship's artillery have in common? Not a whole lot besides their broadsides. The printing and naval senses of broadside arose independently of one another. Printed broadsides may have first been decrees intended for public posting, so they were necessarily printed on one side of large sheets of paper. Soon even matters printed on one side of smallish sheets were called broadsides—advertisements, for example, or the so-called "broadside ballads," popular ditties that people stuck on the wall to sing from. In the nautical sense, broadside was originally the entire side of a ship above the water—which is where the guns were placed. The further use of broadside to refer to firing of the guns eventually led to the figurative "volley of abuse" sense.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Disparate    Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:49 pm

Word of the Day: Disparate 

 
adjective 




Definition

1 : containing or made up of fundamentally different and often incongruous elements

2 : markedly distinct in quality or character

Examples

The proposed law has the support of a disparate collection of interest groups.

"Released at San Diego's Comic-Con, the first full-length trailer for the CBS All Access series shows off all the Star Trek hallmarks, sweet ships, scary aliens, and the very human struggle that comes from disparate cultures coming together in unsure times." — Tim Surette, TV Guide, 23 July 2017



Did You Know?

Have you ever tried to sort differing objects into separate categories? If so, you're well prepared to understand the origins of disparate. The word, which first appeared in English in the 16th century, derives from disparatus, the past participle of the Latin verb disparare, meaning "to separate." Disparare, in turn, comes from parare, a verb meaning "to prepare." Other descendants of parare in English include both separate and prepare, as well as repair, apparatus, and even vituperate ("to criticize harshly and usually publicly"). Disparate also functions as a noun. The noun, which is rare and usually used in the plural, means "one of two or more things so unequal or unlike that they cannot be compared with each other," as in "The yoking of disparates, the old and the new, continues to be a [poet Anne] Carson strategy" (Daisy Fried, The New York Times, 21 Apr. 2013).
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Pace    Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:40 am

Word of the Day: Pace 

 
preposition 



Definition

: contrary to the opinion of — usually used as an expression of deference to someone's contrary opinion

Examples

Pace the editorialist, there are in fact multiple solutions to these kinds of problems.

"The public museums, great and small, that are one of America's educational glories house collections expensively assembled by rich men and (pace Isabella Gardner and Baltimore's Cone sisters) women with lofty but not selfless motives." — John Updike, The New York Review of Books, 5 Oct. 2006




Did You Know?

Though used in English since the 19th century, the preposition pace has yet to shed its Latin mantle, and for that reason it's most at home in formal writing or in contexts in which one is playing at formality. The Latin word pace is a form of pax, meaning "peace" or "permission," and when used sincerely the word does indeed suggest a desire for both. This Latin borrowing is unrelated to the more common noun pace (as in "keeping pace") and its related verb ("pacing the room"); these also come from Latin, but from the word pandere, meaning "to spread."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Ensconce    Sat Sep 30, 2017 7:23 am

Word of the Day: Ensconce 


 
verb 




Definition

1 : to place or hide securely : conceal

2 : to establish or settle firmly, comfortably, or snugly

Examples

Though kept—and used—for years in a private home, the unusual 17th-century porcelain bowl is now safely ensconced behind glass in a local museum.

"Using their strong back legs, female loggerheads dig until a pit is created that is deep enough to safely ensconce their eggs." — The Press and Standard (Walterboro, South Carolina), 20 July 2016




Did You Know?

You might think of a sconce as a type of candleholder or lamp, but the word can also refer to a defensive fortification, usually one made of earth. Originally, then, a person who was ensconced was enclosed in or concealed by such a structure, out of harm's way. One of the earliest writers to apply the verb ensconce with the general sense of "hide" was William Shakespeare. In The Merry Wives of Windsor, the character Falstaff, hoping to avoid detection when he is surprised during an amorous moment with Mrs. Ford, says "She shall not see me; I will ensconce me behind the arras." (An arras is a tapestry or wall hanging.)
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Apropos    Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:48 am

Word of the Day: Apropos 

 
preposition 




Definition

: with regard to (something) : concerning

Examples

Sean interrupted our conversation about politics and, apropos of nothing, asked who we thought would win the basketball game.

"Around that time I came across a felicitous quote by Mark Twain, which said, apropos the difficulty of writing about childhood, that you have to be old to write young." — Andrew Winer, The Color Midnight Made, 2002




Did You Know?

English speakers borrowed apropos from the French phrase à propos, literally "to the purpose." Since it first appeared in the 17th century, apropos has been used as an adverb, adjective, noun, and preposition. Left alone, the word probably wouldn't have gotten much attention, but in 1926 noted language expert H. W. Fowler declared of apropos "that it is better always to use of rather than to after it…." While this prescription seems to be based on the use of the preposition de ("of") in the French construction à propos de, rather than the actual usage history of apropos in English, some language commentators take Fowler's recommendation to be virtually a commandment. But others have noted that apropos is sometimes used by itself in professionally edited prose, or, more rarely, is followed by to.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Censure   Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:03 am

Word of the Day: Censure 


 
verb 



Definition

: to find fault with and criticize as blameworthy

Examples

"The Government's power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government." — Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, New York Times v. United States, 1971

"No president has ever been removed by impeachment. No president has ever been indicted. No president has been censured since 1860." — Hannah Ryan, Newsweek, 20 Aug. 2017




Did You Know?

Censure and its synonyms criticize, reprehend, condemn, and denounce all essentially mean "to find fault with openly." Additionally, censure carries a strong suggestion of authority and often refers to an official action. Criticize implies finding fault with someone's methods, policies, or intentions, as in "the commentator criticized the manager's bullpen strategy." Reprehend implies sharp criticism or disapproval, as in "a teacher who reprehends poor grammar." Condemn usually suggests a final unfavorable judgment, as in "the group condemned the court's decision." Denounce adds to condemn the implication of a public declaration, as in "her letter to the editor denounced the corrupt actions of the mayor's office."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Farceur    Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:22 pm

Word of the Day: Farceur 


 
noun 




Definition

1 : joker, wag

2 : a writer or actor of farce or satire

Examples

Grace's class presentation went very well, but she could have done without the snide remarks from the farceurs at the back of the room.

"Jerry Lewis didn't just play a nutty professor. For years he reigned as a mad comic scientist of the screen—a brash innovator who exploded conventions and expectations on either side of the camera, and a take-no-prisoners farceur who mixed slapstick antics with a seething man-child persona of his own making." — Justin Chang, The Los Angeles Times, 21 Aug. 2017

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Did You Know?

You've probably already spotted the "farce" in farceur. But although farceur can now refer to someone who performs or composes farce, it began life as a word for someone who is simply known for cracking jokes. Appropriately, farceur derives via Modern French from the Middle French farcer, meaning "to joke." If you think of farce as a composition of ridiculous humor with a "stuffed" or contrived plot, then it should not surprise you that farce originally meant "forcemeat"—seasoned meat used for a stuffing—and that both farce and farceur can be ultimately traced back to the Latin verb farcire, meaning "to stuff."
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Salubrious    Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:42 pm

Word of the Day: Salubrious 


 
adjective 




Definition

: favorable to or promoting health or well-being

Examples

The hot springs are popular both for relaxation and for their reported salubrious effect.

"There are many reasons why soup so often hits the spot. Certainly, it's got salubrious effects—with chicken soup topping the cure-all list." — Ligaya Figueras, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 24 Feb. 2017



Did You Know?

Salubrious and its synonyms healthful and wholesome all mean favorable to the health of mind or body. Healthful implies a positive contribution to a healthy condition (as in Charles Dickens' advice to "take more healthful exercise"). Wholesome applies to something that benefits you, builds you up, or sustains you physically, mentally, or spiritually. Louisa May Alcott used this sense in Little Women: "Work is wholesome.... It keeps us from ennui and mischief, is good for health and spirits, and gives us a sense of power and independence...." Salubrious is used similarly to both words but tends to apply chiefly to the helpful effects of climate or air.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Agita    Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:29 pm

Word of the Day: Agita 

 
noun 




Definition

: a feeling of agitation or anxiety

Examples

"Home-sharing through websites has meant more lodging choices for visitors to Massachusetts. But it's also become a source of considerable agita on Beacon Hill: How to tax and regulate this sudden behemoth?" — The Boston Globe, 18 June 2017

"According to an American Psychological Association (APA) report, 43 percent of women say they're more stressed out than they were five years…. Women under age 33 report the highest levels of agita of any generation, with those 33 to 46 close behind." — Shaun Dreisbach, Glamour, April 2016




Did You Know?

Judging by its spelling and meaning, you might think that agita is simply a shortened version of agitation, but that's not the case. Both agitation and the verb it comes form, agitate, derive from Latin agere, meaning "to drive." Agita, which first appeared in American English in the mid-late 20th century, comes from a dialectical pronunciation of the Italian word acido, meaning "heartburn" or "acid," from Latin acidus. (Agita is also occasionally used in English with the meaning "heartburn.") For a while the word's usage was limited to New York City and surrounding regions, but the word became more widespread in the mid-1990s.
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