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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Ambivalent    Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:41 pm

Word of the Day: Ambivalent 

adjective 



Definition

: having or showing simultaneous and contradictory attitudes or feelings toward something : characterized by ambivalence

Did You Know?

The words ambivalent and ambivalence entered English during the early 20th century in the field of psychology. They came to us through the International Scientific Vocabulary, a set of words common to people of science who speak different languages. The prefix ambi- means "both," and the -valent and -valence parts ultimately derive from the Latin verb valere, meaning "to be strong." Not surprisingly, an ambivalent person is someone who has strong feelings on more than one side of a question or issue.


Examples

Bianca was ambivalent about starting her first year away at college—excited for the new opportunities that awaited but sad to leave her friends and family back home.
"A new study from LinkedIn found that many people feel ambivalent in their careers—wondering if they should stay in the same job or take time to invest in learning new skills or even change to a new path altogether." — Shelcy V. Joseph, Forbes, 3 Sept. 2018
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Gloaming    Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:48 pm

Word of the Day: Gloaming  

noun 




Definition

: twilight, dusk

Did You Know?

If gloaming makes you think of tartans and bagpipes, you've got a good ear and a good eye; we picked up gloaming from the Scottish dialects of English back in the Middle Ages. The roots of the word trace to the Old English word for "twilight," glom, which is akin to glowan, an Old English verb meaning "to glow." In the early 1800s, English speakers looked to Scotland again and borrowed the now-archaic verb gloam, meaning "to become dusk" or "to grow dark."



Examples

"It was in the gloaming at Duke University in late fall of 1966. There was a wet chill in the air, most of the trees were leafless, and a low cloud cover added to the gloom. " — Bob Williams, The Chronicle (Duke University), 20 Aug. 2018
"Afterward, we meandered up Lincoln Way in the gloaming, and I was delighted at the music sponsored by the Auburn Arts Commission—at Central Square and the Clock Tower. But before we reached the Clock Tower, I saw that the lights were on in Winston Smith. Auburn's bookstore open at an odd hour? Yes, yes, of course that works for me." — Susan Rushton, The Auburn (California) Journal, 3 August 2018
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Peripeteia    Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:39 pm

Word of the Day: Peripeteia 

noun 


Definition

: a sudden or unexpected reversal of circumstances or situation especially in a literary work

Did You Know?

Peripeteia comes from Greek, in which the verb peripiptein means "to fall around" or "to change suddenly." It usually indicates a turning point in a drama after which the plot moves steadily to its denouement. In his Poetics, Aristotle describes peripeteia as the shift of the tragic protagonist's fortune from good to bad—a shift that is essential to the plot of a tragedy. The term is also occasionally used of a similar change in actual affairs. For example, in a 2006 article in The New York Times, Michael Cooper described William Weld's second term as Massachusetts' governor as "political peripeteia": it "began with a landslide victory and ended with frustrated hopes and his resignation."


Examples

The novel is populated by a number of secondary characters, each of whom plays a crucial role in the protagonist's peripeteia.
"Before ever writing Chapter one, he will write synopsis after synopsis, for up to a year, ironing out all the wrinkles, developing not just plot and peripeteia (or twists) but character." — Andy Martin, The Independent, 25 Nov. 2016
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Tergiversation    Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:42 am

Word of the Day: Tergiversation  

noun 




Definition

1 : evasion of straightforward action or clear-cut statement : equivocation

2 : desertion of a cause, position, party, or faith

Did You Know?

The roots of tergiversation are about an unwillingness to pick a course and stay on it. The Latin verb tergiversari means "to show reluctance," and it comes from the combining of tergum, meaning "back," and versare, meaning "to turn." (While versare and its related form, vertere, turn up in the etymologies of many English words, including versatile and invert, tergum is at the root of only a few, among them tergal, an obscure synonym of dorsal.) While the "desertion" meaning of tergiversation is both older and a better reflection of the meanings of its etyma, the word is more frequently used as a synonym of equivocation. The related verb tergiversate is a somewhat rare synonym of equivocate.


Examples

"Two chapters stand out. One covers the grinding combat in southern Afghanistan in 2009 and 2010, where the horrific daily reality for fighting soldiers is nicely juxtaposed with the tergiversations of generals and officials safe in Kabul and Washington." — Jason Burke, The Spectator, 3 Feb. 2018
"The emotional leitmotif of Frankel's book is the Wilde-Douglas love story, one of vacillations and tergiversations, perhaps the most spectacular in the annals of literary history. There were various times when each of the lovers declared he would kill the other, only to rush back into his outstretched arms." — John Simon, The Weekly Standard, 2 Mar. 2018
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Crapulous    Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:12 pm

Word of the Day: Crapulous  

adjective 



Definition

1 : marked by intemperance especially in eating or drinking

2 : sick from excessive indulgence in liquor

Did You Know?

Crapulous may sound like a word that you shouldn't use in polite company, but it actually has a long and perfectly respectable history (although it's not a particularly kind way to describe someone). It is derived from the Late Latin adjective crapulosus, which, in turn, traces back to the Latin word crapula, meaning "intoxication." (The decidedly impolite word crap is unrelated; it comes from a British dialect term meaning "residue from rendered fat.") Crapula itself comes from a much older Greek word for the headache one gets from drinking too much alcohol. Crapulous first appeared in print in the 1530s. Approximately 200 years later, its close cousin crapulence arrived on the scene as a word for sickness caused by excessive drinking. Crapulence later acquired the meaning "great intemperance especially in drinking," but it is not an especially common word.


Examples

"Helena she was called. She was Czech. I, on the other hand, was crapulous and reeked strongly—even to myself—of the odours of the tavern." — Jeremy Clarke, The Spectator, 24 May 2008
"Your former acquaintance with Deane may perhaps put it in your power to render our country the service of recovering those books. It would not do to propose it to him as for Congress. What other way would best bring it about, you know best. I suppose his distresses and his crapulous habits will not render him difficult on this head [understanding]." — Thomas Jefferson, letter, 2 Mar. 1789
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Emblazon    Tue Oct 16, 2018 10:56 pm

Word of the Day: Emblazon 

verb 




Definition

1 a : to inscribe or adorn with or as if with heraldic bearings or devices

b : to inscribe (something, such as heraldic bearings) on a surface 

2 : celebrate, extol

Did You Know?

English speakers have been using the heraldic sense of emblazon since the late 16th century, and before that there was the verb blazon ("to describe heraldically") and the noun blazon ("a heraldic coat of arms"), which descend from Anglo-French blason. Emblazon still refers to adorning something with an emblem of heraldry, but it is now more often used for adorning or publicizing something in any conspicuous way, whether with eye-catching decoration or colorful words of praise.


Examples

Outside the stadium in the hours before the game, thousands of fans wearing shirts and hats emblazoned with the hometown team's logo gathered.
"Berkshire County knows David York as the man just daring enough to open a museum dedicated to dogs and emblazon the sides of a stretch limousine with a depiction of a dachshund." — Adam Shanks, The Berkshire Eagle (Massachusetts), 19 June 2018
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Acceptation    Wed Oct 17, 2018 9:09 pm

Word of the Day: Acceptation  

noun 




Definition

1 : acceptance; especially : favorable reception or approval

2 : a generally accepted meaning of a word or understanding of a concept

Did You Know?

Acceptation is older than its synonym acceptance; it first appeared in print in the 15th century, whereas acceptance makes a 16th-century appearance. Grammarian H. W. Fowler insisted in 1926 that acceptation and acceptance were not actually synonymous (he preferred to reserve acceptation for the "accepted meaning" use), but the earliest meaning of acceptation was indeed acceptance. Both words descend from the Anglo-French word accepter ("to accept"), but acceptation took an extra step. Anglo-French added the -ation ending, which was changed to form acceptacioun in Middle English. (English embraced the present-day -ation ending later.) Acceptance simply comes from accepter plus the Anglo-French -ance.

Examples

"About 40 fine arts students filled out a two-page application to be a part of the project, Rodriguez said.... Some have done commissioned work and sold their art on Etsy. One received an automatic acceptation to a prestigious art school in Chicago on National Portfolio Day last fall." — Laura Gutschke, The Abilene (Texas) Reporter-News, 8 Apr. 2018
"For its primary definition of 'money,' the same source states, 'In usual and ordinary acceptation it means gold, silver, or paper money used as circulating medium of exchange, and does not embrace notes, bonds, evidences of debt, or other personal or real estate.'" — Tom Egan, The Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, 1 June 2017
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Intestine    Fri Oct 19, 2018 7:17 am

Word of the Day: Intestine 

adjective 



Definition

: internal; specifically : of or relating to the internal affairs of a state or country

Did You Know?

We bet you thought intestine was a noun referring to a part of the digestive system! It is, of course, but naming that internal body part isn't the word's only function. Both the noun and the adjective intestine have been a part of English since the 15th century, and both trace to the Latin adjective intestinus, meaning "internal," and ultimately to intus, meaning "within." Though the adjective intestine turns up much less frequently than does its anatomical cousin, it does see occasional use, especially as a synonym for civil and domestic (in contrast to foreign) applied to wars and disturbances.


Examples

News reports of intestine disagreements between the country's two most powerful political factions led to murmurings that the country was on the precipice of civil war.
"Never, during the whole existence of the English nation, had so long a period passed without intestine hostilities. Men had become accustomed to the pursuits of peaceful industry, and, exasperated, as they were, hesitated long before they drew the sword." — Thomas Babington Macaulay, The History of England, 1848
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Superjacent   Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:27 pm

Word of the Day: Superjacent  

adjective 




Definition

: lying above or upon : overlying

Did You Know?

You're probably familiar with adjacent, and if you guessed that it's a relative of superjacent, you're right. Both derive from the Latin verb jacere, meaning "to lie." Adjacent, which is both the more popular and the earlier word (it first appeared in print in the 15th century, while superjacent turned up in the late 16th century), comes from jacere and the prefix ad-, meaning "near." Superjacent, on the other hand, was formed by combining jacere with the prefix super-, meaning "over," "above," or "on top of." In case you were wondering, jacere descendants are also available for other possible configurations: subjacent means "lying below," and circumjacent means "lying near on all sides" or "surrounding."


Examples

"Village streets threaded around the hillside, eternally watched over by the superjacent castle." — Evan Rail, The New York Times, 25 Sept. 2011
"Article 56 of the convention provides that … the coastal State has … sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring and exploiting, conserving and managing the natural resources … of the waters superjacent to the seabed and of the seabed and its subsoil…." — Costas Stamatiou and Yiota Georgiou, Mondaq Business Briefing, 5 June 201
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Mawkish    Tue Oct 23, 2018 8:11 pm

Word of the Day: Mawkish 


adjective 


Definition

1 : lacking flavor or having an unpleasant taste

2 : exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

Did You Know?

The etymology of mawkish really opens up a can of worms—or, more properly, maggots. The first part of mawkish derives from Middle English mawke, which means "maggot." Mawke, in turn, developed from the Old Norse word mathkr, which had the same meaning as its descendant. The majority of English speakers eventually eschewed the word's dipteran implications (mawk still means "maggot" in some dialects of British English), and began using it figuratively instead. As language writer Ivor Brown put it in his 1947 book Say the Word, "Time has treated 'mawkish' gently: the wormy stench and corruption of its primal state were forgotten and 'mawkish' became sickly in a weak sort of way instead of repulsive and revolting."
 


Examples

"Naomi Watts gives a committed, grounded performance as a single mother who finds herself surprisingly agreeable to doing whatever it takes to stay connected to her beloved older son. Few films aspire to be both a mawkish tearjerker and a Hitchcockian thriller, and The Book Of Henry makes a pretty convincing case why more shouldn't." — Tim Grierson, Screen International, 15 June 2017
"Now for the tears of joy, the kind to which mawkish septuagenarians fall prey. First was the experience of taking the grandchildren to Giffords Circus…. " — Max Hastings, The Spectator, 26 Aug. 2017
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Fugacious   Thu Oct 25, 2018 8:20 am

Word of the Day: Fugacious 

adjective 




Definition

: lasting a short time : evanescent

Did You Know?

Fugacious is often used to describe immaterial things like emotions, but not always. Botanists, for example, use it to describe plant parts that wither or fall off before the usual time. Things that are fugacious are fleeting, and etymologically they can also be said to be fleeing. Fugacious derives from the Latin verb fugere, which means "to flee." Other descendants of fugere include fugitive, refuge, and subterfuge.


Examples

The rock band's rise in popularity turned out to be fugacious, and within two years its members had moved on to other careers.
"The maple leaves are a yellow light signaling me to slow down and take in the last pulse of color of a fugacious fall." — David Johnson, The Daily News of Newburyport (Massachusetts), 26 Nov. 2013
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Holy writ    Fri Oct 26, 2018 7:11 am

Word of the Day: Holy writ  

noun 




Definition

1 often capitalized Holy Writ : Bible

2 : a writing or utterance having unquestionable authority

Did You Know?

Holy Writ has been used in English as a synonym for Bible for more than a thousand years. The term traces to the Venerable Bede, an 8th-century Anglo-Saxon scholar, historian, and theologian who wrote a history of England in which he dated events from the birth of Christ. Bede's history was translated from Latin to English around the year 900, and it is in that translated text that we find the earliest evidence for holy writ. William Shakespeare used holy writ in Othello: "Trifles light as air are to the jealous confirmations strong as proofs of holy writ." And Alexander Pope used it in his Wife of Bath: "And close the sermon, as beseem'd his wit, with some grave sentence out of holy writ."



Examples

"But just because these people claim to be experts doesn't mean their every utterance should be treated as holy writ." — James Delingpole, The Spectator, 7 Apr. 2018
"Holy Writ is a text we read and engage with fully. In an imaginative appropriation of the text of Scripture, and through the workings of grace, we somehow understand beyond articulation…." — Edward T. Wheeler, Commonweal, 6 Oct. 2017
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Shambles    Mon Oct 29, 2018 8:58 am

Word of the Day: Shambles  

noun 




Definition

1 : slaughterhouse

2 a : a place of mass slaughter or bloodshed

b : a scene or a state of great destruction : wreckage

c : a scene or a state of great disorder or confusion

d : great confusion : mess

Did You Know?

How does a word meaning "footstool" turn into a word meaning "mess"? Start with the Latin scamillum, meaning "little bench." Modify the spelling and you get the Old English sceamol, meaning "footstool" or "a table used for counting money or exhibiting goods." Alter again to the Middle English shameles, and the meaning can easily become more specific: "a table for the exhibition of meat for sale." Pluralize and you have the base of the 15th-century term shambles, meaning "meat market." A century takes shambles from "meat market" to "slaughterhouse," then to figurative use referring to a place of terrible slaughter or bloodshed (say, a battlefield). The scene of a slaughter can get messy, so it's logical for the word to pick up the modern sense "mess" or "state of great confusion." Transition accomplished.


Examples

"The scene is reminiscent of the opening of the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark, when Indiana Jones flees a cave half a step ahead of a giant boulder. Instead of running from a rock, Croft spends the game running through a city that crumbles around her as the world is reduced to shambles." — Bob Fekete, Newsweek, 21 Sept. 2018 
"Career success does not exist in a vacuum. If the home life is a mess and the children and bills and house are in shambles, then it's very hard, if not impossible, to succeed at work." — Gail Saltz, quoted in Psychology Today, 1 May 2018
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Indoctrinate    Mon Oct 29, 2018 7:03 pm

Word of the Day: Indoctrinate 

verb 




Definition

1 : to instruct especially in fundamentals or rudiments : teach

2 : to imbue with a usually partisan or sectarian opinion, point of view, or principle

Did You Know?

Indoctrinate simply means "brainwash" to many people. But its meaning isn't always so negative. When this verb first appeared in English in the 17th century, it simply meant "to teach"—a meaning that followed logically from its Latin root. The "doc" in the middle of indoctrinate derives from the Latin verb docere, which also means "to teach." Other offspring of docere include docent (referring to a college professor or a museum guide), docile, doctor, doctrine, and document. It was not until the 19th century that indoctrinate began to see regular use in the sense of causing someone to absorb and take on certain opinions or principles.


Examples

"Clearly, [in the television series 'The Handmaid's Tale'] the Sons of Jacob have been scarily successful in indoctrinating Americans—or, more specifically, young former Americans—to accept a new set of social mores." — Elena Nicolaou, Refinery29.com, 24 May 2018
"There were two academies in the frigate. One comprised the apprentice boys, who, upon certain days of the week, were indoctrinated in the mysteries of the primer by an invalid corporal of marines, a slender, wizzen-cheeked man, who had received a liberal infant-school education." — Herman Melville, White Jacket, 1850
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Caterwaul   Tue Oct 30, 2018 8:51 pm

Word of the Day: Caterwaul 

Verb


Definition

1 : to make a harsh cry

2 : to protest or complain noisily

Did You Know?

An angry (or amorous) cat can make a lot of noise. As long ago as the mid-1300s, English speakers were using caterwaul for the act of voicing feline passions. The cater part is, of course, connected to the cat, but scholars disagree about whether it traces to Middle Dutch cāter, meaning "tomcat," or if it is really just cat with an "-er" added. The waul is probably imitative in origin; it represents the feline howl itself. English's first caterwaul was a verb focused on feline vocalizations, but by the 1600s it was also being used for similar non-cat noises and for noisy people or things.


Examples

The woods were quiet until the sound of a chainsaw caterwauling in the distance broke the calm.
"Between begging calls, the young birds made more practice launches, flapping their wings and jumping. Paired adults were re-forming their relationships; returning birds went in for bouts of head flicking and kissing. Neighbors were in dispute, caterwauling above the din." — Tim Dee, The New York Review of Books, 11 Sept. 2018
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Lycanthropy    Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:36 pm

Word of the Day: Lycanthropy  

noun 




Definition

1 : a delusion that one has become a wolf

2 : the assumption of the form and characteristics of a wolf held to be possible by witchcraft or magic

Did You Know?

If you happen to be afflicted with lycanthropy, the full moon is apt to cause you an inordinate amount of distress. Lycanthropy can refer to either the delusional idea that one is a wolf or to the werewolf transformations that have been the stuff of superstitions for centuries. In some cultures, similar myths involve human transformation into other equally feared animals: hyenas and leopards in Africa, for example, and tigers in Asia. The word lycanthropy itself, however, comes from the Greek words lykos, meaning "wolf," and anthrōpos, meaning "human being." Werewolf myths are usually associated with the phases of the moon; the animal nature of the werewolf (or lycanthrope) is typically thought to take over when the moon is full.


Examples

The 1941 film The Wolf Man starred Lon Chaney, Jr., as a man cursed with lycanthropy.
"Born in 1859, Alfred Edward Housman came from a talented family…. His sister Clemence's novella, The Were-Wolf, is one of the most powerful stories ever written about lycanthropy." — Michael Dirda, The Washington Post, 13 July 2017
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Gridiron    Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:09 am

Word of the Day: Gridiron 

noun 

Definition

1 : a grate for broiling food

2 : something consisting of or covered with a network

3 : a football field

Did You Know?

Modern gridirons are covered in football players when they're in use, but the original gridirons were more likely to be covered with meat or fish; they were metal gratings used for broiling food over an open fire. In Middle English, such a grating was called a gredil, a root that gave modern English both gridiron and griddle. How did gridiron become associated with football? That happened in the late 1800s, when a white grid pattern was added to football fields to help enforce new rules about how many yards a team had to gain to keep possession of the ball. From high up in the stands, the lines made the playing fields look like cooking gridirons.

Examples

"Despite his prowess on the gridiron, he received little attention from Division-I football programs." — Tom Layberger, Forbes, 14 Sept. 2018

"[Thomas] Jefferson wanted wide streets, lots of land reserved for public space, and a rectangular pattern of streets. L'Enfant insisted on radial avenues that intersect a gridiron of streets at odd angles. Many city planners believe that if Jefferson's plan had been adopted, there would be fewer traffic problems in Washington, D.C., today." — Ann Feetham, Cobblestone, 1 Sept. 2012
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Connive   Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:59 pm

Word of the Day: Connive 

Verb

Definition

1 : to pretend ignorance of or fail to take action against something one ought to oppose

2 a : to be indulgent or in secret sympathy : wink

b : to cooperate secretly or have a secret understanding

3 : conspire, intrigue

Did You Know?
Connive may not seem like a troublesome term, but it was to Wilson Follett, a usage critic who lamented that the word "was undone during the Second World War, when restless spirits felt the need of a new synonym for plotting, bribing, spying, conspiring, engineering a coup, preparing a secret attack." Follett thought connive should only mean "to wink at" or "to pretend ignorance." Those senses are closer to the Latin ancestor of the word: connive comes from the Latin connivere, which means "to close the eyes" and which is descended from -nivere, a form akin to the Latin verb nictare, meaning "to wink." But many English speakers disagreed, and the "conspire" sense is now the word's most widely used meaning.


Examples

"Arnold worked out a plan not only to turn over the fort and its men to the British but at the same time to connive at the British capture of George Washington." — Gordon S. Wood, The Weekly Standard, 1 June 2018
"Officers who connive and cheat to pad their paychecks aren't just stealing money. They're also eroding the crucial bond between the public and those sworn to protect and serve them." — The Boston Globe, 16 July 2018
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Umbrage    Tue Nov 06, 2018 7:43 pm

Word of the Day: Umbrage  

noun 



Definition

1 : a feeling of pique or resentment at some often fancied slight or insult

2 : shady branches : foliage

3 : shade, shadow

4 a : an indistinct indication : vague suggestion : hint

b : a reason for doubt : suspicion

Did You Know?

"Deare amber lockes gave umbrage to her face." This line from a poem by William Drummond, published in 1616, uses umbrage in its original sense of "shade or shadow," a meaning shared by its Latin source, umbra. (Umbella, the diminutive form of umbra, means "a sunshade or parasol" in Latin and is an ancestor of our word umbrella.) Beginning in the early 17th century, umbrage was also used to mean "a shadowy suggestion or semblance of something," as when William Shakespeare, in Hamlet, wrote, "His semblable is his mirror, and who else would trace him, his umbrage, nothing more." In the same century, umbrage took on the pejorative senses "a shadow of suspicion cast on someone" and "displeasure, offense"; the latter is commonly used today in the phrases "give umbrage" or "take umbrage."


Examples

"Often, after an active morning, she would spend a sunny afternoon in lying stirless on the turf, at the foot of some tree of friendly umbrage." — Charlotte Brontë, Shirley, 1849
"If you can find one of these big roosts, the birds are quite entertaining to watch. When they settle in for the evening, they're noisy and quarrelsome and seem to take umbrage at many things." — Jim Wright, The Daily Record (Morristown, New Jersey), 26 July 2018
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Derring-do    Wed Nov 07, 2018 5:37 pm

Word of the Day: Derring-do  

noun 




Definition

: daring action : daring

Did You Know?

Derring-do is a quirky holdover from Middle English that came to occupy its present place in the language by a series of mistakes and misunderstandings. In Middle English, dorring don meant simply "daring to do." For example, Geoffrey Chaucer used dorring don around 1374 when he described a knight "daring to do" brave deeds. The phrase was misprinted as derring do in a 16th-century edition of a 15th-century work by poet John Lydgate, and Edmund Spenser took it up from there, assuming it was meant as a substantive, or noun phrase. (A glossary to Spenser's work defined it as "manhood and chevalrie.") Sir Walter Scott and others in the 19th century got the phrase from Spenser and brought it into modern use.


Examples

"They're two of the most celebrated climbers in the world, struggling to find the right words to describe an astonishing act of human derring-do: On June 3, 2017, Honnold ascended the Freerider route of El Capitan, a nearly 3,000-foot rock face in Yosemite National Park, noted for its glassy-smooth granite and holds that extend only to the fingertips. And he did it all without a rope." — Scott Tobias, The New York Magazine, 26 Sept. 2018
"But Ben Macintyre, a journalist who specialises in books about spies and derring-do, has crafted his story as a real-life thriller, as tense as John le Carré's novels, or even Ian Fleming's.… 'The Spy and the Traitor' is a gripping reconstruction, even for those with only a cursory interest in the secret world." — The Economist, 22 Sept. 2018
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Palmary   Thu Nov 08, 2018 8:19 pm

Word of the Day: Palmary 

adjective 




Definition

: outstanding, best

Did You Know?

It was the ancient Romans who first used palmarius to describe someone or something extraordinary. Palmarius literally translates as "deserving the palm." But what does that mean exactly? Was it inspired by palms of hands coming together in applause? That would be a good guess, but the direct inspiration for palmarius was the palm leaf given to a victor in a sports competition. That other palm—the one on the hand—is loosely related. The Romans thought the palm tree's leaves resembled an outstretched palm of the hand; they thus used their word palma for both meanings, just as we do with palm in English. Now, when we award a noun with the modifier palmary, it signifies that thing as the choicest among possible examples.


Examples

A daughter of missionaries, Pearl S. Buck wrote many works about Chinese life and culture, with her palmary novel, The Good Earth, winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1932.
"The palmary case of telling someone what to do is to issue, for instance, the simple imperative 'Go away'—an utterance which may or may not have the effect of making its addressee go away, but at any rate tells him to." — G. J. Warnock, Contemporary Moral Philosophy, 1967
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Valorous    Sun Nov 11, 2018 8:15 pm

Word of the Day: Valorous  

adjective 




Definition

1 : possessing or acting with bravery or boldness : courageous

2 : marked by, exhibiting, or carried out with courage or determination : heroic

Did You Know?

If you are boldly seeking synonyms for brave, consider valorous as well as courageous, intrepid, dauntless, and bold—all of which mean "having or showing no fear when faced with danger or difficulty." Brave is the most straightforward of these, implying lack of fear in alarming or difficult circumstances. Courageous carries a sense of stout-hearted resolution in the face of danger, while intrepid suggests downright daring in confronting peril. Dauntless suggests determination and resolution despite danger. Bold typically indicates a forward or defiant tendency to thrust oneself into dangerous situations. Valorous, which comes from Middle English valour, meaning "worth, worthiness, or bravery," suggests illustrious bravery and sometimes has an archaic or romantic ring.



Examples

For carrying three wounded members of his squadron out of harm's way, the lieutenant was presented with an award that recognized his valorous actions in the heat of battle.
"Why are we so sure that reading books to kids is a valorous act, far superior to cuing up the nefarious iPad? Yes, story time can be tender, and the iPad a mechanized babysitter. But my kids … can seem as mindlessly hooked on the narrative technology of the picture book as on the exploits of the PAW Patrol." — Julia Turner, The New York Times, 18 May 2018
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Admonish    Mon Nov 12, 2018 8:49 pm

Word of the Day: Admonish 

verb 


Definition

1 a : to indicate duties or obligations to 

b : to express warning or disapproval to especially in a gentle, earnest, or solicitous manner

2 : to give friendly earnest advice or encouragement to

3 : to say (something) as advice or a warning

Did You Know?

We won't admonish you if you don't know the origins of today's word—its current meanings have strayed slightly from its history. Admonish was borrowed in the 14th century (via Anglo-French amonester) from Vulgar Latin admonestāre, which itself is probably a derivative of admonestus, the past participle of the Latin verb admonēre, meaning "to warn."  Admonēre, in turn, was formed by the combination of the prefix ad- and monēre, "to warn." Other descendants of monēre in English include monitor, monitory ("giving a warning"), premonition, and an archaic synonym of admonish, monish. Incidentally, admonish has a number of other synonyms as well, including reprove, rebuke, reprimand, reproach, and chide.

Examples

The teacher admonished the students to not speak over one another.
"Ringo Starr rocked, he rolled, he sang, he spoke, he admonished us all to embrace peace and love, not as a tired cliché, but as a tool for the times." — John W. Barry, The Poughkeepsie (New York) Journal, 21 Sept. 2018
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Tomfoolery    Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:14 pm

Word of the Day: Tomfoolery 

noun 




Definition

: playful or foolish behavior

Did You Know?

In the Middle Ages, Thome Fole was a name assigned to those perceived to be of little intelligence. This eventually evolved into the spelling tomfool, which, when capitalized, also referred to a professional clown or a buffoon in a play or pageant. The name Tom seems to have been chosen for its common-man quality, much like Joe Blow for an ordinary person or Johnny Reb for a soldier in the Confederate army, but tomfoolery need not apply strictly to actions by men. In Lucy Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables (1908), for example, Marilla Cuthbert complains of Anne: "She's gadding off somewhere with Diana, writing stories or practicing dialogues or some such tomfoolery, and never thinking once about the time or her duties."


Examples

The antics in the play itself apparently inspired tomfoolery behind the scenes as well, as cast members reported a host of practical jokes including a few on opening night.
"Presented as an oral history in a series of conversations between the couple, the book features anecdotes, hijinks, photos, and a veritable grab bag of tomfoolery." — Brandy McDonnell, NewsOK.com, 1 Oct. 2018
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Exculpate    Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:17 am

Word of the Day: Exculpate  

verb 




Definition

: to clear from alleged fault or guilt

Did You Know?

You need not take the blame if you're unfamiliar with the origins of exculpate, and we would be glad to enlighten you, if that's the case. The word, which was adopted in the 17th century from Medieval Latin exculpatus, traces back to the Latin noun culpa, meaning "blame." Some other descendants of culpa in English include culpable ("meriting condemnation or blame") and inculpate ("incriminate"), as well as the considerably rarer culpatory ("accusing") and disculpate (a synonym of exculpate). You may also be familiar with the borrowed Latin phrase mea culpa, which translates directly as "through my fault" and is used in English to mean "a formal acknowledgment of personal fault or error."



Examples

A false lead from an ancestry site is no different than eliminating suspects through regular detective work; except people are more easily exculpated." — Julie O'Connor, The Star-Ledger (Newark, New Jersey), 13 May 2018
"But the longer and more often you misremember something, the truer it becomes. Misremembering a bad thing as less bad might liberate a survivor, but it also might exculpate a perpetrator." — Margaret Lyons, The New York Times, 26 May 2018
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