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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Prodigious    Word of the Day - - Page 43 EmptyMon May 13, 2019 4:04 pm

Word of the Day: Prodigious 

adjective 

Definition

1 : resembling or befitting a prodigy : strange, unusual

2 : causing amazement or wonder

3 : extraordinary in bulk, quantity, or degree : enormous

Did You Know?

Prodigious, monstrous, tremendous, and stupendous all mean extremely impressive. Prodigious suggests marvelousness exceeding belief, usually in something that is felt as going far beyond a previous maximum of goodness, greatness, intensity, or size ("acrobats performing prodigious aerial feats"). Monstrous implies a departure from the normal in size, form, or character ("a monstrous billboard"); it can also suggest that someone or something is ugly, cruel, or vicious ("a monstrous criminal"; "a monstrous crime"). Tremendous and stupendous both imply a power, the former to terrify or awe ("the singer has tremendous talent"), the latter to stun or astound ("the young cast gave a stupendous performance"). Prodigious and the related noun prodigy derive from the Latin prodigium, meaning "omen" or "monster"; at one time, both words were used in English to refer to portents, or omens, but these senses are now considered obsolete.


Examples

"Along with John Ashbery, his elder by two months, Mr. Merwin was one of the defining American poets of his generation, a prodigious and prolific talent who wrote two dozen books of poetry as well as story collections, memoirs, plays and acclaimed translations." — Harrison Smith, The Washington Post, 15 Mar. 2019
"What you may have yet to encounter, or haven't fully noticed yet, is the growing group of current medical students who are perhaps on track to achieve even greater fame, through their prodigious and aggressive use of social media, particularly Instagram." — Vishal Kheptal, Slate, 29 Nov. 2018
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PostSubject: Word of the Day:Glitch    Word of the Day - - Page 43 EmptyWed May 15, 2019 5:35 pm

Word of the Day:Glitch 

noun


Definition

1 a : a usually minor malfunction; also : an unexpected defect, fault, flaw, or imperfection
  
b : a minor problem that causes a temporary setback : snag

2 : a false or spurious electronic signal

Did You Know?

There's a glitch in the etymology of glitch—the origins of the word are not known for sure, though it may derive from the Yiddish glitsh, meaning "slippery place." Glitch started showing up in print in English in the mid-20th century in reference to a brief unexpected surge of electrical current. The term was new enough in 1962 that the astronaut John Glenn, writing in the book Into Orbit, felt the need to explain the term to his readers: "Literally, a glitch is a spike or change in voltage in an electrical circuit which takes place when the circuit suddenly has a new load put on it." Today, you don't have to be an astronaut to be familiar with the word glitch, which can be used of any minor malfunction or snag.


Examples

The festival had an excellent lineup of performers, and the few glitches with the sound system did not seriously detract from the overall quality of the entertainment.
"A computer glitch delayed the start of the Saturday press run; by the time it was fixed, the judgment call was made to postpone distribution until Sunday, rather than send carriers out after dark on Saturday." — Jeff Pieters, The Post-Bulletin (Rochester, Minnesota), 9 Mar.
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Remittancey    Word of the Day - - Page 43 EmptyMon May 20, 2019 4:24 am

Word of the Day: Remittancey 

noun 


Definition

1 a : a sum of money remitted

b : an instrument by which money is remitted

2 : transmittal of money (as to a distant place)

Did You Know?

Since the 14th century, the verb remit has afforded a variety of meanings, including "to lay aside (a mood or disposition)," "to release from the guilt or penalty of," "to submit or refer for consideration," and "to postpone or defer." It is derived from Latin mittere (meaning "to let go" or "to send"), which is also the root of the English verbs admit, commit, emit, omit, permit, submit, and transmit. Use of remittance in financial contexts referring to the release of money as payment isn't transacted until the 17th century.


Examples

"PayPal has everything it needs to send money to friends or family or to pay bills, even across borders. Its acquisition of Xoom in 2015 gave it a strong position in digital remittance." — Adam Levy, The Motley Fool, 14 Dec. 2018
"Kit … knew that his old home was a very poor place…, and often indited square-folded letters to his mother, enclosing a shilling or eighteenpence or such other small remittance, which Mr Abel's liberality enabled him to make." — Charles Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop, 1841
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Borne    Word of the Day - - Page 43 EmptyWed May 22, 2019 3:18 pm

Word of the Day: Borne  

adjective 



Definition

: transported or transmitted by — used in combination

Did You Know?

Borne is, just like born, the past participle of the verb bear, which can mean (among other things) "to contain" or "to give birth to." At first, borne and born were variant spellings of the same adjective. Used as in water-borne (or water-born), it means "carried by." In the phrase "borne enemies" (or "born enemies"), it means "from birth." To add to the confusion, the spelling borne sees occasional use in the passive voice in the "to give birth to" sense, as in "two sons were borne by his wife." In combining forms, born is reserved for the adjective related to birth (as in newly-born and Massachusetts-born) and borne retains the sense of "carried" ("airborne passengers").


Examples

"By 2050, half the world's population could be at risk of mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever or the Zika virus, new research suggests." — Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, 7 Mar. 2019
"Tacoma had a population of 36,006 by 1890, a boom of 3,179.2 percent in just 10 years. But not to be outdone, Seattle had formed its own rail service, the Seattle & Walla Walla Railroad, to feed off the profitable railroad-borne commerce." — Steve Dunkelberger, SouthSoundTalk.com (Pierce County, Washington), 28 Aug. 2018
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Logy    Word of the Day - - Page 43 EmptyWed May 29, 2019 4:43 pm

Word of the Day: Logy 


adjective 



Definition

: sluggish, groggy

Did You Know?

Based on surface resemblance, you might guess that logy (also sometimes spelled loggy) is related to groggy, but that's not the case. Groggy ultimately comes from "Old Grog," the nickname of an English admiral who was notorious for his cloak made of a fabric called grogram—and for adding water to his crew's rum. The sailors called the rum mixture grog after the admiral. Because of the effect of grog, groggy came to mean "weak and unsteady on the feet or in action." No one is really sure about the origin of logy, but experts speculate that it comes from the Dutch word log, meaning "heavy."


Examples

I was feeling logy after eating such a big meal, so I decided to take a brief nap.
"The movie is a diverting live-wire lark—one that, for my money, gets closer to the spirit of what Robin Hood is about than the logy 1991 Kevin Costner version or the dismal 2010 Russell Crowe version." — Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 20 Nov. 2018
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Putsch    Word of the Day - - Page 43 EmptyWed Jun 05, 2019 5:25 pm

Word of the Day: Putsch 

noun 


Definition

: a secretly plotted and suddenly executed attempt to overthrow a government

Did You Know?

In its native Swiss German, putsch originally meant "knock" or "thrust," but these days both German and English speakers use it to refer to the kind of government overthrow also known as a coup d'état or coup. Putsch debuted in English shortly before the tumultuous Kapp Putsch of 1920, in which Wolfgang Kapp and his right-wing supporters attempted to overthrow the German Weimar government. Putsch attempts were common in Weimar Germany, so the word appeared often in the stories of the English journalists who described the insurrections. Adolf Hitler also attempted a putsch (known as the Beer Hall Putsch), but he ultimately gained control of the German government via other means.


Examples

The graduate-level seminar focuses on the events surrounding the August 1991 putsch against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
"[Christian Petzold's] thriller Transit twists modern concerns about national identity, immigration, and fascism into a personal, artsy mystery. Petzold starts with Georg …, an emotionally wounded German living in France, during a spookily contemporary, unspecified putsch, who seeks refuge in the Americas." — Armond White, National Review, 13 Mar. 2019
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Thole    Word of the Day - - Page 43 EmptyWed Jun 12, 2019 4:35 pm

Word of the Day: Thole  

verb 


Definition chiefly dialectal : endure

Did You Know?

Thole has a long history in the English language. It existed in Middle English in its current form, and in Old English in the form tholian, but in these modern times, it tholes only in a few of England's northern dialects. It has, however, a linguistic cousin far more familiar to most English speakers: the word tolerate traces back to Latin tolerare, meaning "to endure, put up with," and tolerare and tholian share a kinship with the Greek verb tlenai, meaning "to bear." Unrelated to our featured word thole, there is another (also very old) thole, which can be used as a synonym of peg or pin, or can refer to either of a pair of pins set in the gunwale of a boat to hold an oar in place.

Examples

"There was now temptation to resist, as well as pain to thole." — Robert Louis Stevenson, Kidnapped, 1886
"They view bad weather—whether it be a temperature of minus 14 or the northerly wind that comes howling down the loch—as a pleasurable challenge rather than something to be tholed." — Peter Ross, The Scotsman, 1 Oct. 2012
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Polyglot    Word of the Day - - Page 43 EmptyWed Jun 19, 2019 3:22 pm

Word of the Day: Polyglot  

adjective 


Definition

1 a : speaking or writing several languages : multilingual

b : composed of numerous linguistic groups 

2 : containing matter in several languages 

3 : composed of elements from different languages

4 : widely diverse (as in ethnic or cultural origins)

Did You Know?

You've probably run across the prefix poly- before—it comes from Greek and means "many" or "multi-." But what about -glot? That part of the word comes from the Greek term glotta, meaning "language" or "tongue." (Glotta is also the source of glottis, the word for the space between the vocal cords.) Polyglot itself entered English in the 17th century, both as an adjective and as a noun meaning "one who can write or speak several languages." You could call the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V a polyglot. He claimed that he addressed his horse only in German, he conversed with women in Italian and with men in French, but reserved Spanish for his talks with God.

Examples

With vacationers arriving from all over Europe and other parts of the world, merchants in the resort city must adjust to serving a polyglot clientele.
"Learning the basics of any language is a quick task. Programmes like Duolingo or Rosetta Stone can guide you through a few greetings and simple phrases at lightning speed. For a more personal experience, polyglot Timothy Doner recommends reading and watching material that you already have an interest in. 'If you like cooking, buy a cookbook in a foreign language; if you like soccer, try watching a foreign game,' he says." — Peter Rubinstein and Bryan Lufkin, BBC.com, 19 Feb. 2019
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Hamartia    Word of the Day - - Page 43 EmptyWed Jun 26, 2019 2:13 pm

Word of the Day: Hamartia  

noun 



Definition

: a flaw in character that brings about the downfall of the hero of a tragedy : tragic flaw

Did You Know?

Hamartia arose from the Greek verb hamartanein, meaning "to miss the mark" or "to err." Aristotle introduced the term in the Poetics to describe the error of judgment which ultimately brings about the tragic hero's downfall. As you can imagine, the word is most often found in literary criticism. However, media writers occasionally employ the word when discussing the unexplainable misfortune or missteps of celebrities regarded as immortal gods and goddesses before being felled by their own shortcomings. For example, a writer for The New Republic in an April 2018 review of Chappaquiddick (a movie about U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy) comments that "Kennedy's ruthlessness and ambition, which are treated as the family's hamartia in Chappaquiddick, are swept under the rug of his compassion."


Examples

Greed was the hamartia that ultimately brought down the protagonist.
"Characters in Greek tragedies usually had a hamartia, or fatal flaw. Hubris, pride, presumption and arrogance were some of the chief character traits that brought down peasants and emperors alike." — Christine Barnes, The Tallahassee (Florida) Democrat, 6 May 2010
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Portend    Word of the Day - - Page 43 EmptyWed Jul 03, 2019 2:12 pm

Word of the Day: Portend  

verb 


Definition

1 : to give an omen or anticipatory sign of

2 : indicate, signify

Did You Know?
Portend has been used in English in the context of signs of things to come since the 15th century. The word derives from the Latin verb portendere, which means "to predict or foretell." That verb, in turn, developed as a combination of the prefix por- (meaning "forward") and the verb tendere (meaning "to stretch"). So you can think of portend as having a literal meaning of "stretching forward to predict." Additional descendants of tendere include extend, tendon, and tension, among others.


Examples

The old saying about a halo around the moon portending rain has some truth to it: the halo is caused by cirrus clouds drifting 20,000 feet or more above the Earth, and high cirrus clouds often precede stormy weather.
"To most people, a shore gas station carrying sushi was but a footnote. But Chris could see that that addition portended a changing demographic." — Rona Kobell, quoted in The Baltimore Sun, 8 Nov. 2018
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Portend    Word of the Day - - Page 43 EmptyWed Jul 10, 2019 1:31 pm

Word of the Day: Portend  

verb 


Definition

1 : to give an omen or anticipatory sign of

2 : indicate, signify

Did You Know?
Portend has been used in English in the context of signs of things to come since the 15th century. The word derives from the Latin verb portendere, which means "to predict or foretell." That verb, in turn, developed as a combination of the prefix por- (meaning "forward") and the verb tendere (meaning "to stretch"). So you can think of portend as having a literal meaning of "stretching forward to predict." Additional descendants of tendere include extend, tendon, and tension, among others.


Examples

The old saying about a halo around the moon portending rain has some truth to it: the halo is caused by cirrus clouds drifting 20,000 feet or more above the Earth, and high cirrus clouds often precede stormy weather.
"To most people, a shore gas station carrying sushi was but a footnote. But Chris could see that that addition portended a changing demographic." — Rona Kobell, quoted in The Baltimore Sun, 8 Nov. 2018
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Malinger   Word of the Day - - Page 43 EmptyThu Aug 08, 2019 2:22 am

Word of the Day: Malinger

verb 


Definition

: to pretend or exaggerate incapacity or illness (as to avoid duty or work)

Did You Know?

Do you know someone who always seems to develop an ailment when there's work to be done? Someone who merits an Academy Award for his or her superb simulation of symptoms? Then you know a malingerer. The verb malinger comes from the French word malingre, meaning "sickly," and one who malingers feigns illness. In its earliest uses in the early 19th century, malinger usually referred to a soldier or sailor pretending to be sick or insane to shirk duty. Later, psychologists began using malingering as a clinical term to describe the feigning of illness in avoidance of a duty or for personal gain. Today, malinger is used in just about any context in which someone fakes sickness or injury to get out of an undesirable task.


Examples

Sarah's prospects for promotion aren't helped by her well-known tendency to malinger.
"[Writer Jaroslav] Hašek's meandering, unfinished comedy tells the story of a dog thief turned soldier, who blusters, pranks and malingers his way through the early days of the war." — Daniel Mason, The Guardian (London), 14 Nov. 2018
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Chivy   Word of the Day - - Page 43 EmptyThu Aug 22, 2019 3:55 pm

Word of the Day: Chivy

verb 

Definition
1 : to tease or annoy with persistent petty attacks

2 : to move or obtain by small maneuvers

Did You Know?
Chivy, which is also spelled chivvy, became established in our language in the 19th century and, at first, meant "to harass or chase." Early usage examples are of people chivying a chicken around to catch it and of a person chivying around food that is frying. The verb comes from a British noun chivy meaning "chase" or "hunt." That chivy is believed to be derived from Chevy Chase—a term for "chase" or "confusion" that is taken from the name of a ballad describing the 1388 battle of Otterburn between the Scottish and English. (A chase in this context is an unenclosed tract of land that is used as a game preserve.)

Examples
"To encounter Hemingway as an adult was to be faced with a man whose appetite for supposedly masculine pursuits was so assiduously cultivated as to border on parody…. He would routinely chivy his friends into the ring in order to engage in tests of strength." — Matthew Adams, The Washington Post, 17 May 2017
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Ethereal   Word of the Day - - Page 43 EmptyThu Aug 29, 2019 2:31 pm

Word of the Day: Ethereal

adjective 

Definition
1 a : of or relating to the regions beyond the earth

b : celestial, heavenly

c : unworldly, spiritual

2 a : lacking material substance : immaterial, intangible

b : marked by unusual delicacy or refinement

c : suggesting the heavens or heaven

3 : relating to, containing, or resembling a chemical ether

Did You Know?
If you're burning to know the history of ethereal, you're in the right spirit to fully understand that word's etymology. The ancient Greeks believed that the Earth was composed of earth, air, fire, and water, but that the heavens and its denizens were made of a purer, less tangible substance known as either ether or quintessence. Ether was often described as an invisible light or fire, and its name derives from the Greek aithein, a verb meaning "to ignite" or "to blaze." When ethereal, the adjectival kin of ether, debuted in English in the 1500s, it referred to regions beyond the Earth or anything that seemed to originate from there.

Examples
"Like Howe's Omniverse, van Herpen's finale piece used aluminum and stainless steel on the skeleton, covering it with a thin layer of feathers that ruffled, turning as if graced with gust of wind. The penultimate look channeled the same ethereal vibe, featuring laser-cut strips of fabric that give the appearance of pulsating angel wings." — Barry Samaha, Surface, 2 July 2019

"Colored Everything has an air of maturity about it. … What you'll hear is seemingly endless layers of airy, ethereal sound that makes you wonder what kinds of instruments are being used to create such sounds." — Jon Bodell, The Concord (New Hampshire) Insider, 18 June 2019
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Adscititious   Word of the Day - - Page 43 EmptyThu Sep 05, 2019 9:12 am

Word of the Day: Adscititious

adjective 

Definition

: derived or acquired from something extrinsic

Did You Know?

Adscititious comes from a very "knowledgeable" family—it ultimately derives from scīscere, the Latin verb meaning "to get to know, ascertain, vote for, approve." The related scīre means "to know" and is fundamental to science, conscience, prescience ("foreknowledge"), nescience ("lack of knowledge"), as well as adscititious. Admittedly, adscititious is more akin to adscīscere, which means "to admit" or "to adopt." This explains why adscititious describes something adopted from an outside source.

Examples

"We should choose our books as we would our companions, for their sterling and intrinsic merit, not for their adscititious or accidental advantages." — Charles Caleb Colton, Lacon, 1832
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Deleterious   Word of the Day - - Page 43 EmptyThu Sep 12, 2019 2:05 am

Word of the Day: Deleterious

adjective 

Definition

: harmful often in a subtle or unexpected way

Did You Know?

Pernicious, baneful, noxious, and detrimental are the wicked synonyms of deleterious. All five words refer to something exceedingly harmful. Of the group, deleterious is most often used for something that is unexpectedly harmful. Pernicious implies irreparable harm done by something that degrades or undermines in an evil or insidious way ("the pernicious effects of corruption"), while baneful suggests injury through poisoning or destruction ("the baneful consequences of war"). Noxious can apply to anything that is both offensive and injurious to the health of body or mind ("noxious chemical fumes"), and detrimental implies an obvious harmfulness to something specified ("the detrimental effects of excessive drinking").

 
Examples

"With an injury, the body automatically responds with an inflammatory process to neutralize the toxic microorganisms, repair the affected tissues and eliminate debris from the wound. That is beneficial, but chronic inflammation is deleterious, causing a continuous supply of free-radicals, overwhelming our antioxidant immunities." — Phyllis Van Buren, The St. Cloud (Minnesota) Times, 24 Apr. 2019

"But Superior Court Judge Peter Bariso ruled in 2016 that the landfill could stay open because its closure 'would have drastic and deleterious effects on the surrounding communities and their taxpayers.'" — Scott Fallon, The Record (Bergen County, New Jersey), 24 May 2019
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Pell-mell   Word of the Day - - Page 43 EmptyWed Sep 18, 2019 3:08 pm

Word of the Day: Pell-mell

adverb 

Definition

1 : in mingled confusion or disorder

2 : in confused haste

Did You Know?

The word pell-mell was probably formed through a process called reduplication. The process—which involves the repetition of a word or part of a word, often including a slight change in its pronunciation—also generated such terms as bowwow, helter-skelter, flip-flop, and chitchat. Yet another product of reduplication is shilly-shally, which started out as a single-word compression of the question "Shall I?" For pell-mell, the process is believed to have occurred long ago: our word traces to a Middle French word of the same meaning, pelemele, which was likely a product of reduplication from Old French mesle, a form of mesler, meaning "to mix."

 
Examples

When the final bell of the day rang, the children bolted from their desks and streamed pell-mell out the door into the schoolyard.

"The grammar school dropout was forever on the move. There were times he bolted into the darkroom of his employer's photographic studio to hide from an approaching truant officer. More often, the errand boy ran pell-mell to the offices of New York City newspapers and magazines, lugging a pouch stuffed with the newsy photographs of the day…." — Bill Case, The Pilot (Southern Pines, North Carolina), 14 July 2019
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Bivouac   Word of the Day - - Page 43 EmptyWed Sep 25, 2019 11:51 am

Word of the Day: Bivouac

verb 

Definition

1 : to make a usually temporary encampment under little or no shelter : camp

2 : to take shelter often temporarily

3 : to provide temporary quarters for

Did You Know?

In the 1841 edition of An American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster observed bivouac to be a French borrowing having military origins. He defined the noun bivouac as "the guard or watch of a whole army, as in cases of great danger of surprise or attack" and the verb as "to watch or be on guard, as a whole army." The French word is derived from the Low German word biwacht, a combination of bi ("by") and wacht ("guard"). In some German dialects, the word was used specifically for a patrol of citizens who assisted the town watch at night. Today, bivouac has less to do with guarding and patrolling and more about having shelter.


Examples

The search party bivouacked under a nearby ledge until the storm passed.

"Isakson said Native American artifacts were found on the site, along with plenty of evidence to suggest Union soldiers had bivouacked there after the Civil War." — Lawrence Specker, The Huntsville (Alabama) Times, 17 Mar. 2019
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Lèse-majestéplay   Word of the Day - - Page 43 EmptyThu Oct 03, 2019 11:33 am

Word of the Day: Lèse-majestéplay

noun 

Definition

1 a : a crime (such as treason) committed against a sovereign power

b : an offense violating the dignity of a ruler as the representative of a sovereign power

2 : a detraction from or affront to dignity or importance

Did You Know?

Lèse-majesté (or lese majesty, as it is also styled in English publications) comes into English by way of Middle French, from the Latin laesa majestas, which literally means "injured majesty." The English term can conceivably cover any offense against a sovereign power or its ruler, from treason to a simple breach of etiquette. Lèse-majesté has also acquired a more lighthearted or ironic meaning, referring to an insult or impudence to a particularly pompous or self-important person or organization. As such, it may be applied to a relatively inoffensive act that has been exaggeratedly treated as if it were a great affront.

 
Examples

"David's grandfather, President Eisenhower, had left David all his clothes in his will, and David felt obliged to wear them…. Naturally, it would be something along the lines of lèse-majesté for him to remove the presidential jacket and vest and sit in his shirtsleeves, so he gamely continued to sweat in the sweltering heat, out of respect for Ike." — Michael Korda, Another Life, 2000

"Thai law makes it illegal to defame, insult or threaten 'the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent.' … Though other countries still have similar laws—both Spain and the Netherlands have lèse-majesté laws on the books—Thailand's enforcement of its laws may make them the strictest in the world." — Adam Taylor, The Washington Post, 8 Feb. 2019
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Pursyplay   Word of the Day - - Page 43 EmptyWed Oct 09, 2019 1:46 pm

Word of the Day: Pursyplay

adjective 

Definition
1 : having a puckered appearance

2 : proud because of one's wealth especially in the absence of other distinctions : purse-proud

Did You Know?

There are two adjectives spelled pursy, each with its own etymology. The one describing a puckered appearance goes back to the mid-16th century and has its source in the noun purse ("a receptacle for carrying money and other small objects"); a drawstring purse's puckered appearance is the inspiration. The other pursy (pronounced PUH-see or PER-see) dates from the 15th century and can mean "short-winded especially because of corpulence" or simply "fat." This pursy comes from the Old French word pousser, meaning "to exert pressure" or "to breathe heavily"—the same word, etymologists believe, behind the word push.


Examples

"There was a picture of a pale gent with a narrow face and a woman with dark eyes and a pursy mouth." — Stephen King, Misery, 1987

"Some guys get all pursy around the mouth when you suggest this, but figure skating is infinitely harder than ice hockey. Every four years at the Winter Olympics, figure skating fans have to listen to a lot of nonsense about how their sport lacks legitimacy." — Sally Jenkins, The Washington Post, 13 Feb. 2014
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Scapegoat   Word of the Day - - Page 43 EmptyWed Oct 16, 2019 7:37 am

Word of the Day: Scapegoat

Definition

1 : a male goat upon whose head are symbolically placed the sins of the people after which he is sent into the wilderness in the biblical ceremony for Yom Kippur

2 a : one that bears the blame for others

b : one that is the object of irrational hostility

Did You Know?

On Yom Kippur, the ancient Hebrews would sacrifice one goat for the Lord and lead another one into the wilderness bearing the sins of the people. The ceremony is described in Leviticus, where it is said that one lot shall be cast for the Lord and one for "Azazel." Modern scholars usually interpret Azazel as being the name of a demon living in the desert, but ancient biblical translators thought Azazel referred to the goat itself, apparently confusing it with the Hebrew phrase ez ozel, meaning "goat that departs." The mistranslation was carried through Greek and Latin into a 16th-century English translation, where the word for the goat was rendered as scapegoote; that is, "goat that escapes." The extended senses of scapegoat we use today evolved from this biblical use.

 
Examples

The financial advisor was a convenient scapegoat for some of the ill-fated business ventures that the company had undertaken over the years.

"The French framed [Mata Hari] for espionage, making her the scapegoat for their losses on the Western Front, but it's also clear that some of her inquisitors really believed she was guilty…." — Mick LaSalle, The San Francisco Chronicle, 19 Aug. 2019
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Belfry   Word of the Day - - Page 43 EmptyWed Oct 23, 2019 12:01 pm

Word of the Day: Belfry

noun 

Definition

1 : a bell tower; especially : one surmounting or attached to another structure

2 : a room or framework for enclosing a bell

3 : the seat of the intellect : head

Did You Know?

Surprisingly, belfry does not come from bell, and early belfries did not contain bells at all. Belfry comes from the Middle English berfrey, a term for a wooden tower used in medieval sieges. The structure could be rolled up to a fortification wall so that warriors hidden inside could storm the battlements. Over time, the term was applied to other types of shelters and towers, many of which had bells in them. This association of berfrey with bell towers, seems to have influenced the dissimilation of the first r in berfrey to an l, and people began representing this pronunciation in writing with variants such as bellfray, belfrey, and belfry (the last of which has become the standard spelling). On a metaphorical note, someone who has "bats in the belfry" is insane or eccentric. This phrase is responsible for the use of bats for "insane" (as in "Are you completely bats?") and the occasional use of belfry for "head" ("He's not quite right in the belfry").


Examples

"The mission stands a little back of the town, and is a large building, or rather collection of buildings, in the centre of which is a high tower, with a belfry of five bells…." — Richard Henry Dana, Jr., Two Years Before the Mast, 1840

"In 1963, a stone steeple over the belfry was removed after settling of the foundation compromised its integrity." — Stephen Mills, The Times Argus (Barre-Montpelier, Vermont), 12 July 2019
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Genial   Word of the Day - - Page 43 EmptyWed Oct 30, 2019 4:45 pm

Word of the Day: Genial

adjective 

Definition

1 : favorable to growth or comfort : mild

2 : marked by or freely expressing sympathy or friendliness

3 : displaying or marked by genius

Did You Know?

Genial derives from the Latin adjective genialis, meaning "connected with marriage." When genial was first adopted into English in the mid-16th century, it meant "of or relating to marriage," a sense that is now obsolete. Genialis was formed in Latin by combining the -alis suffix (meaning "of, relating to, or characterized by") with genius, meaning "a person's disposition or inclination." As you may have guessed, Latin genius is the ancestor of the English word genius, meaning "extraordinary intellectual power"—so it's logical enough that genial eventually developed a sense (possibly influenced by the German word genial) of "marked by very high intelligence."

 
Examples

"What country seems more sensible? The even discourse, the reflexive politeness, the brilliant yet genial wit, that easy embrace of hellish cold: Canada is a rock. Canada is the neighbor who helps clean out your garage.… Canada is always so?…?solid." — S. L. Price, Sports Illustrated, 12 Mar. 2019

"… Sony Pictures confirmed that its upcoming Fred Rogers film will be called 'A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.' The announcement came by way of Twitter…, with the studio again sharing a picture of its star Tom Hanks seated on a trailer stoop in character as the genial children's programming pioneer—cardigan and all." — Nardine Saad, The Los Angeles Times, 28 December 2018
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Espouse   Word of the Day - - Page 43 EmptyThu Nov 07, 2019 2:38 pm

Word of the Day: Espouse

verb 

Definition

1 : marry

2 : to take up and support as a cause : become attached to

Did You Know?

As you might guess, the words espouse and spouse are related, both deriving from the Latin verb spondēre, meaning "to promise" or "to betroth." In fact, the two were once completely interchangeable, with each serving as a noun meaning "a newly married person" or "a husband or wife" and also as a verb meaning "to marry." Their semantic separation began in the 18th century, when the noun espouse fell out of use. Nowadays, espouse is most often seen or heard as a verb used in the figuratively extended sense "to commit to and support as a cause." Spouse continued to be used in both noun and verb forms until the 20th century, when its verb use declined and it came to be used mainly as a noun meaning "husband or wife."


Examples

"Tradition associates [the period of the Lyrid meteor showers] with the Chinese teacher and philosopher Confucius, one of the first to espouse the principle: 'Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.'" — The Telegraph (UK), 10 Oct. 2019

"The beloved musical [Fiddler on the Roof] was revived entirely in Yiddish…. Directed by Oscar and Tony Award-winner Joel Grey, the timeless show captures the strength of Jewish people and their traditions, while espousing universal themes of love, belonging and community." — Madeleine Fernando, Billboard.com, 3 May 2019
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Chilblain   Word of the Day - - Page 43 EmptyWed Nov 13, 2019 8:09 am

Word of the Day: Chilblain

noun 

Definition: an inflammatory swelling or sore caused by exposure (as of the feet or hands) to cold

Did You Know?

Given that chilblains are caused by exposure to cold conditions, it may not surprise you to know that the first element of this word comes from the noun chill. The second element, blain, may be less familiar, though the word blain ("an inflammatory swelling or sore") is still used by English speakers. Both elements of chilblain have Anglo-Saxon roots. Chill comes from Old English ciele ("frost" or "chill"), which is akin to ceald, an Old English ancestor of the modern cold. Blain comes from Old English blegen (of the same meaning as blain). These two words were first brought together (as the compound chyll blayne) in the 1500s.

 
Examples

"If you thought chilblains only belonged in 19th century novels, think again. They crop up in response to extreme cold…. You're more likely to get chilblains in extreme weather through sitting in an under-heated house or working in a chilly office than walking through sub-zero temperatures outside." — JR Thorpe, Bustle, 7 Feb. 2019

"Mrs. Goddard's school was in high repute…; she had an ample house and garden, gave the children plenty of wholesome food, let them run about a great deal in the summer, and in winter dressed their chilblains with her own hands." — Jane Austen, Emma, 1815
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