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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Gambit   Word of the Day - - Page 44 EmptyWed Nov 20, 2019 2:38 pm

Word of the Day: Gambit

noun 

Definition

1 : a chess opening in which a player risks one or more pawns or a minor piece to gain an advantage in position

2 a (1) : a remark intended to start a conversation or make a telling point  (2) : topic

b : a calculated move : stratagem

Did You Know?

In 1656, a chess handbook was published that was said to have almost a hundred illustrated gambetts. That early spelling of gambit is close to the Italian word gambetto, from which it is derived. Gambetto, which is from gamba, meaning "leg," was used for an act of tripping—especially one that gave an advantage, as in wrestling. The original chess gambit is an opening in which a bishop's pawn is sacrificed to gain some advantage, but the name is now applied to many other chess openings. After being pinned down to chess for years, gambit finally broke free of the hold and showed itself to be a legitimate contender in the English language by weighing in with other meanings.
 
Examples

"The tournament, first held in 1934, was Roberts's gambit for attracting attention, members, and money. He persuaded Jones to come out of retirement to compete in it—an instant lure to fans and players alike—but at first Jones wouldn't agree to calling it the Masters, finding the word too grandiose." — Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, 24 June 2019

"Obviously, most suspense novels rely on keeping the reader in the dark about something. But a big, glaring omission in what is presented as first-person interior monologue—as if the person is redacting their own thoughts—is one of the least impressive gambits." — The Kirkus Reviews, 15 June 2019
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Bruit   Word of the Day - - Page 44 EmptyWed Nov 27, 2019 4:04 pm

Word of the Day: Bruit

verb 

Definition: report, rumor — usually used with about

Did You Know?

Back in the days of Middle English, the Anglo-French noun bruit, meaning "clamor" or "noise," rattled into English. Soon English speakers were also using it to mean "report" or "rumor" (it was applied especially to favorable reports). They also began using bruit the way the verb noise was used (and still occasionally is) with the meaning "to spread by rumor or report" (as in "The scandal was quickly noised about"). The English noun bruit is now considered archaic, apart from a medical sense that is pronounced like the French word and refers to one of the abnormal sounds heard on auscultation.

 
Examples

"Analysts have bruited about the notion that Comcast and Disney might team up and divide Fox's assets to prevent a drawn-out bidding war—a turn of events that Mr. Iger has dismissed." — Edmund Lee, The New York Times, 20 June 2018

"In the new bio-pic 'Judy,' Renée Zellweger stars as Judy Garland…. The narrowly focussed yet emotionally expansive film has been bruited about as a likely springboard for a statuette for its lead actress ever since the movie's première, last month, at the Telluride Film Festival." — Richard Brody, The New Yorker, Sept. 25, 2019
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Retinue   Word of the Day - - Page 44 EmptyWed Dec 04, 2019 2:24 pm

Word of the Day: Retinue

noun

Definition: a group of retainers or attendants

Did You Know?

Retinue derives via Middle English from the Anglo-French verb retenir, meaning "to retain." Another word deriving from retenir is retainer, which means, among other things, "one who serves a person of high position or rank." In the 14th century, that high person of rank was usually a noble or a royal of some kind, and retinue referred to that person's collection of servants and companions. Nowadays, the word is often used with a bit of exaggeration to refer to the assistants, guards, publicists, and other people who accompany an actor or other high-profile individual in public. You might also hear such a collection called a suite or entourage, two other words derived from French.

 
Examples

"The Handkerchief Prince was trailed by a retinue of 40 or so Japanese media members, complete with satellite trucks." — Anthony Rieber, Newsday, 29 Mar. 2014

"Russian mezzo-soprano Alisa Kolosova, as the duchess who fully expects to marry Rodolfo, enjoyed the Entrance of Entrances, high on the statue of a horse, dressed in royal velvet, and surrounded by a retinue of similarly dressed minions." — Nancy Malitz, The Chicago Sun-Times, 13 Oct. 2019
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Fawn   Word of the Day - - Page 44 EmptyWed Dec 11, 2019 8:32 am

Word of the Day: Fawn

verb 

Definition

1 : to court favor by a cringing or flattering manner

2 : to show affection — used especially of a dog

Did You Know?

Some people will be glad to learn the origins of fawn—and there's a hint about the word's etymology in that declaration. Middle English speakers adapted an Old English word meaning "to rejoice" to create the verb faunen, which shifted in spelling over time to become fawn. That Old English word, in turn, derives from fagan, meaning "glad." Fagan is also an ancestor of the English adjective fain, whose earliest (now obsolete) meaning is "happy" or "pleased." This fawn is not, however, related to the noun fawn, referring to a young deer. For that we can thank the Latin noun fetus, meaning "offspring."


 
Examples

"Like tech C.E.O.s today, Edison attracted an enormous following, both because his inventions fundamentally altered the texture of daily life and because he nurtured a media scrum that fawned over every inch of his laboratory and fixated on every minute of his day." — Casey Cep, The New Yorker, 28 Oct. 2019

"I had planned to dislike Remo, the acting professor whose Chekhov class I took last spring. I had planned to feel this way because all the theater people I knew who took his classes fawned over him in a way that drove me nuts." — Eliya O. Smith, The Harvard Crimson, 10 Oct. 2019
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Haggard   Word of the Day - - Page 44 EmptyThu Dec 19, 2019 7:57 am

Word of the Day: Haggard

adjective 

Definition

1 of a hawk : not tamed

2 a : wild in appearance

b : having a worn or emaciated appearance : gaunt

Did You Know?

Haggard comes from falconry, the sport of hunting with a trained bird of prey. The birds used in falconry were not bred in captivity until very recently. Traditionally, falconers trained wild birds that were either taken from the nest when quite young or trapped as adults. A bird trapped as an adult is termed a haggard, from the Middle French hagard. Such a bird is notoriously wild and difficult to train, and it wasn't long before the falconry sense of haggard was being applied in an extended way to a "wild" and intractable person. Next, the word came to express the way the human face looks when a person is exhausted, anxious, or terrified. Today, the most common meaning of haggard is "gaunt" or "worn."

 
Examples

"When I met her at her subsidized apartment in the fall of 2018, she still had the haggard air of someone learning how to use the subway, navigate welfare programs, and raise two children by herself in an alien country." — Doug Bock Clark, GQ, 26 Mar. 2019

"East Avenue, the town's main drag, is fronted by stately if slightly haggard red-brick buildings, including the historic Cottrill Opera House (currently raising funds for its restoration) as well as several art galleries and antiques shops…." — Anna Altman, The Washingtonian, 15 Jan. 2019
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Surfeit   Word of the Day - - Page 44 EmptyWed Jan 08, 2020 5:29 pm

Word of the Day: Surfeit

noun 

Definition

1 : an overabundant supply : excess

2 : an intemperate or immoderate indulgence in something (such as food or drink)

3 : disgust caused by excess

Did You Know?

There is an abundance—you could almost say a surfeit—of English words that derive from the Latin facere, meaning "to do." The connection to facere is fairly obvious for words spelled with "fic," "fac," or "fec," such as sacrifice, benefaction, and infect. For words like stupefy (a modification of Latin stupefacere) and hacienda (originally, in Old Spanish and Latin, facienda) the facere factor is not so apparent. As for surfeit, the "c" was dropped along the path that led from Latin through Anglo-French, where facere became faire and sur- was added to make the verb surfaire, meaning "to overdo." It is the Anglo-French noun surfet ("excess"), however, that Middle English borrowed, eventually settling on the spelling surfeit.

Examples

"The fracking boom in the United States has led to a surfeit of natural gas worldwide." — Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, 3 Dec. 2019      

"So we're keeping an eye on the next big opening, Limalimo, a 14-room lodge slated to debut in the Simien Mountains National Park in January or February. The design looks set to establish new standards: slick, sustainable (built of rammed earth and thatch), and with surfeits of natural light." — Maria Shollenbarger, The Condé Nast Traveler, 31 Aug. 2015
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Artifice   Word of the Day - - Page 44 EmptyWed Jan 15, 2020 5:33 pm

Word of the Day: Artifice

noun 

Definition

1 a : clever or artful skill : ingenuity 

b : an ingenious device or expedient

2 a : an artful stratagem : trick 

b : false or insincere behavior

Did You Know?

Do great actors display artifice or art? Sometimes a bit of both. Artifice stresses creative skill or intelligence, but it also implies a sense of falseness and trickery. Art generally rises above such falseness, suggesting instead an unanalyzable creative force. Actors may rely on some of each, but the personae they display in their roles are usually artificial creations. Therein lies a lexical connection between art and artifice. Artifice derives from artificium, Latin for "artifice." That root also gave English artificial. Artificium, in turn, developed from ars, the Latin root underlying the word art (and related terms such as artist and artisan).

 
Examples

"A generation that's grown up with Snapchat-filtered selfies and pop feminism seems to have an innate understanding that artifice doesn't negate authenticity, or that a penchant for towering wigs and acrylic nails doesn't prevent someone from being a songwriting genius." — Lindsay Zoladz, The New York Times, 21 Nov. 2019

"It could all be rather enervating, but the sheer polish and panache of the cast's fluttering antics brings a smile to the lips—and Wilson introduced a soupçon of reality to offset the artifice. Having pretended to have a boyfriend, wealthy heiress Polly Browne … affects to be a humble secretary after she's instantly smitten with errant rich-kid Tony, who's slumming it as an errand boy." — Dominic Cavendish, The Daily Telegraph (London), 3 Dec. 2019
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Outlandish   Word of the Day - - Page 44 EmptyThu Jan 23, 2020 6:24 am

Word of the Day: Outlandish

adjective 

Definition

1 : of or relating to another country : foreign

2 a : strikingly out of the ordinary : bizarre

b : exceeding proper or reasonable limits or standards

3 : remote from civilization

Did You Know?

In olden times, English speakers used the phrase "outlandish man" to refer to a foreigner—or, one who came from an outland, which originally meant "a foreign land." From here, outlandish broadened in usage from a word meaning "from another land" to one describing something unfamiliar or strange. Dress was a common early target for the adjective; English novelist Henry Fielding, in Tom Jones (1749), writes of a woman who was "drest in one of your outlandish Garments." Nowadays, the word can be applied to anything that strikes us as out of the ordinary, from bizarre conspiracy theories to exaggerated boasting.


Examples

"In a letter sent to his mother … [T.S. Eliot] wrote, 'I really think that I have far more influence on English letters than any other American has ever had, unless it be Henry James.' It's an outlandish claim, even if one allows for the kind of hyperbole to be found in a letter meant to impress one's parents." — Kevin Dettmar, The New Yorker, 27 Oct. 2019

"Seana Benz and Jimmy Johansmeyer create a hilarious series of outlandish costumes for the Carnegie sequence, which Woodall showcases in rapid succession." — Gene Terruso, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 15 Dec. 2019
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Gist   Word of the Day - - Page 44 EmptyThu Jan 30, 2020 4:44 am

Word of the Day: Gist

noun 

1 : the ground of a legal action

2 : the main point or part : essence

Did You Know?

The word gist often appears in such contexts as "the gist of the conversation was that…" to let us know that what follows will be a statement or summary that in some way encapsulates the main point or overarching theme. The gist of a conversation, argument, story, or what-have-you is what we rely on when the actual words and details are only imperfectly recalled, inessential, or too voluminous to recount in their entirety. Gist was borrowed from the Anglo-French legal phrase laccion gist ("the action lies or is based [on]") in the 17th century, and it was originally used in law as a term referring to the foundation or grounds for a legal action without which the action would not be legally sustainable.


Examples 

I didn't catch every word, but I heard enough to get the gist of the conversation.

"Ironically, the debate largely occurred on Twitter, one of the most effective disruptors of work productivity ever invented. And the gist was this: To succeed professionally, many Silicon Valley types said, one must be prepared to work not just long, but indeed punishing hours—workers must be prepared to give up 'nights and weekends.'"— Ethan Epstein, The Washington Times, 29 Dec. 2019
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Euphoria   Word of the Day - - Page 44 EmptyWed Feb 05, 2020 6:13 pm

Word of the Day: Euphoria

noun 

Definition

: a feeling of well-being or elation

Did You Know?

Health and happiness are often linked, sometimes even in etymologies. Nowadays euphoria generally refers to happiness, but it derives from euphoros, a Greek word that means "healthy." Given that root, it's not surprising that in its original English uses euphoria was a medical term. Its entry in an early 18th-century dictionary explains it as "the well-bearing of the Operation of a Medicine; that is, when the Sick Person finds himself eas'd or reliev'd by it." Modern physicians still use the term, but they aren't likely to prescribe something that will cause it. In contemporary medicine and psychology, euphoria can describe abnormal or inappropriate feelings such as those caused by an illicit drug or an illness.


 
Examples

"In February 2014, Xenia gave birth to their daughter, Ella. Ben still recalls the euphoria of watching the nurse place their newborn on Xenia's chest. He still can't quite believe the song that played on the operating room radio, the refrain resounding in that moment: God only knows what I'd be without you." — Caitlin Gibson, The Washington Post Magazine, 9 Dec. 2019

"The floor became a dance-off—in one corner, dozens of girls put all their bags and backpacks in one giant pile, so nobody had to worry where their stuff was, and then danced around the pile in a circle that was really moving to behold, an example of how a Harry Styles concert creates crucial moments of utopian unity and shared euphoria." — Rob Sheffield, Rolling Stone, 14 Dec. 2019
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PostSubject: Word of the Day: Ancillary   Word of the Day - - Page 44 EmptyWed Feb 12, 2020 2:37 pm

Word of the Day: Ancillary

adjective 

Definition

1 : of lower or secondary class or rank : subordinate, subsidiary

2 : providing additional help or support : auxiliary, supplementary

Did You Know?

Ancillary derives from the English word ancilla, a rare word that means "an aid to achieving or mastering something difficult." That word derives from Latin, in which it means "female servant." While English ancilla is unlikely to be encountered except in very specialized contexts (such as philosophy or quantum computing), ancillary picks up on the notion of providing aid or support in a way that supplements something else. In particular, the word often describes something that is in a position of secondary importance, such as the "ancillary products in a company's line."

 
Examples

One ancillary benefit of Beatrice's job at the movie theater is the ability to catch an early glimpse of new releases.

"Ohio's medical marijuana industry has spawned dozens of growers, dispensaries and processors, and while those businesses receive the most attention, an entire industry of ancillary companies has also sprung up." — Patrick Cooley, The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, 2 Jan. 2020
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