Word of the Day

Word of the day

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

pother

[ poth-er ]

noun

a heated discussion, debate, or argument; fuss; to-do.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of pother?

All the authorities agree that pother “commotion, uproar; heated argument” has no reliable etymology; indeed, even the words that pother may be related to, like bother, have no trustworthy etymology. (The fact that an early citation of pother is spelled bother just makes things worse.) Pother originally rhymed with other and brother; it acquired its current pronunciation by the beginning of the 19th century.

how is pother used?

Yet what a pother is there of pismires over a grain of sand. But that grain of sand is their whole world.

George William Bagby, A Week in Hepsidam; Being the First and Only True Account of the Mountains, Men, Manners and Morals Thereof, 1879

“I don’t know what’s so very extraordinary about it, or why there should be such a pother,” he began; and he knew that he was insolently ignoring abundant reasons for pother, if there had been any pother. “Yes, I’m engaged.”

William Dean Howells, April Hopes, 1888

Listen to the word of the day

pother

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00
quiz icon
WHAT'S YOUR WORD IQ?
Think you're a word wizard? Try our word quiz, and prove it!
TAKE THE QUIZ
arrows pointing up and down
SYNONYM OF THE DAY
Double your word knowledge with the Synonym of the Day!
SEE TODAY'S SYNONYM

Get A Vocabulary Boost In Your Inbox

Get the Word of the Day every day!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Word of the day

Monday, November 23, 2020

ingenious

[ in-jeen-yuhs ]

adjective

cleverly inventive or resourceful.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of ingenious?

Ingenious comes from late Middle English ingenious “intelligent, resourceful, quick-witted,” from Old French ingenïos, engeignos, from Latin ingeniōsus “clever, talented, gifted.” Ingeniōsus is a derivative of the noun ingenium “natural disposition, temperament, mood; natural ability, cleverness,” and the adjectival suffix –ōsus, the source via Old French and Anglo-French of the English suffix –ous. Ingenious entered English in the second half of the 15th century.

how is ingenious used?

She was an ingenious inventor who planted a seed that would blossom into some of today’s most ubiquitous technology, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, cordless phones and cell phones.

Alice George, "Thank This World War II-Era Film Star for Your Wi-Fi," Smithsonian, April 4, 2019

Yet as ingenious as this inventor was, their toy did not spark a societal revolution.

Cody Cassidy, "Who Invented the Wheel? And How Did They Do It?" Wired, May 6, 2020

Listen to the word of the day

ingenious

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00

Word of the day

Sunday, November 22, 2020

regale

[ ri-geyl ]

verb (used with object)

to entertain lavishly or agreeably; delight.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of regale?

Regale “to entertain lavishly; delight” comes from the French verb régaler “to feast, entertain,” from the Old French noun regale, rigal(l)e, a derivative of gale “festivity, feast, lavish meal.” The prefix re– or ri– is borrowed from the verb (se) rigoler “to amuse (oneself)”; (se) rigoler in its turn is a derivative of galer “to make merry.” The French present participle of galer is galant, which in Middle English becomes galaunt, galant “merry, gay, gaily dressed,” English gallant. Regale entered English in the second half of the 17th century.

how is regale used?

It used to be that road-weary travelers would regale their nightly hosts with tales of rivers forded, vistas taken in, injuries sustained, and possibly even enemies vanquished.

Joe Pinsker, "What Airlines Don't Get About Delays," The Atlantic, April 23, 2015

One dinnertime, he regaled me with the story of how Lord Byron’s challenge to Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley to write a ghostly tale led to the creation of Frankenstein.

Morgan Jerkins, That Will Be My Undoing, 2018 

Listen to the word of the day

regale

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00

Word of the day

Saturday, November 21, 2020

crankle

[ krang-kuhl ]

verb (used with or without object)

to bend; turn; crinkle.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of crankle?

The uncommon verb crankle “to bend, turn; crinkle” is a frequentative verb derived from crank “to rotate a shaft with a handle or crank.” A frequentative verb is one that expresses frequent or repeated action. In English such verbs end in –er (as flutter from float, slither from slide) and –le (as dazzle from daze, bobble from bob). English frequentatives are a closed set, that is, English no longer produces frequentatives with the suffixes –er and –le. Instead, modern English expresses the frequentative by the plain present tense, e.g., “I walk to school (habitually, usually),” as opposed to the present progressive “I am walking to school (right now).” Crankle entered English at the end of the 16th century.

how is crankle used?

Two miles down, the river crankles round an alder grove.

Henry Taylor, Philip van Artevelde, 1834

She pleaded with Dagda not to take her child, but her pleading was no more than the sound that a river makes when it crankles between stones.

Alexander McCall Smith, Dream Angus, 2006

Listen to the word of the day

crankle

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00

Word of the day

Friday, November 20, 2020

obstreperous

[ uhb-strep-er-uhs ]

adjective

noisy, clamorous, or boisterous.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of obstreperous?

Obstreperous “noisy, clamorous” comes straight from the Latin adjective obstreperus, a derivative of the verb obstrepere “to make (a loud) noise against.” Obstrepere is a compound of the preposition and prefix ob, ob– “toward, against” and the simple verb strepere “to make a loud noise (of any kind), shout confusedly, clamor.” The facetious, almost comic adjective obstropolous, in existence since the first half of the 18th century, is a variant of obstreperous. Unfortunately there is no further etymology for strepere. Obstreperous entered English at the beginning of the 17th century.

how is obstreperous used?

I could not have been the only one in that obstreperous crowd, made up overwhelmingly of Michiganders, to know the presumably important fact that, well…those car plants didn’t exist.

Mark Danner, "The Con He Rode In On," New York Review of Books, November 19, 2020

For one critic, the final movement [of Beethoven’s Ninth] was sometimes “exceedingly imposing and effective” but its “Szforzandos, Crescendos, Accelerandos, and many other Os” would “call up from their peaceful graves… Handel and Mozart, to witness and deplore the obstreperous roarings of modern frenzy in their art”.

Emily Bootle, "The many Beethoven myths," New Statesman, July 22, 2020

Listen to the word of the day

obstreperous

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00

Word of the day

Thursday, November 19, 2020

imagineer

[ ih-maj-uh-neer ]

noun

a person who is skilled in implementing creative ideas into practical form.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of imagineer?

There must be many millions of people who watched the TV show The Mickey Mouse Club, which began airing in 1955, and these same fans of The Mickey Mouse Club may also associate the word imagineer with the designers of Walt Disney’s theme parks (the original Disneyland opened in Anaheim, California, in 1955). Imagineer, a blend of imagine and engineer, however, predates Disneyland by a good dozen years, first appearing in print on 1 June 1942, just before the Battle of Midway, in the very darkest days of World War II, in an upbeat advertisement, “Postwar America … will be a great day for Imagineers.”

how is imagineer used?

those who have followed this major imagineer since early baroque efforts like “Veniss Underground” and “Shriek: An Afterword,” or who know his lavish craft guide, “Wonderbook” … won’t find Aurora and its denizens to be such a departure.

Laird Hunt, "Jeff VanderMeer's Young Adult Novel Is a Madcap Magical Mash-Up," New York Times, July 7, 2020

Bernie and Connie Karl are imagineers who make good things happen in Fairbanks and throughout the state of Alaska.

, "Imagine That: Bernie and Connie Karl Recognized for deeds and their passion for Fairbanks," Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, December 13, 2019

Listen to the word of the day

imagineer

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00

Word of the day

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

willyard

[ wil-yerd ]

adjective

Scot. and North England.

obstinate; willful.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of willyard?

Willyard (also spelled willyart) “obstinate, willful” is yet another Scots word designed to confound the English. Even the first syllable, will-, is misleading: it is not the English auxiliary verb will, used, for example, to form the future tense; nor is it the English noun will “the mental faculty, desire, purpose”; it is from the Old Norse adjective villr (stem vill-) “wild, false, bewildered, erring, perplexed, uncertain.” The second syllable, –yard or –yart, is anybody’s guess. Robert Burns uses the word once, “But, O! for Hogarth’s magic pow’r, / To shew Sir Bardie’s willyart glowr” (1786), which guarantees the word’s survival; Sir Walter Scott also used the word in his Heart of Mid-Lothian (1818). Willyard entered English toward the end of the 16th century.

how is willyard used?

“Uh! uh! uh!” ejaculated Dumbiedikes, as he checked the hobbling pace of the pony by our friend Butler. “Uh! uh! it’s a hard-set willyard beast this o’ mine.”

Sir Walter Scott, The Heart of Midlothian, 1818

His disposition resembled that of the famous animal who carried Dumbiedikes so long and so well, but of whom Jeanie Deans remarked that he was willyard.

"Four Fair Nieces," Townsend's Monthly Selection of Parisian Costumes, March 1878

Listen to the word of the day

willyard

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00

Get A Vocabulary Boost In Your Inbox

Get the Word of the Day every day!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.