Word of the Day

Word of the day

Tuesday, December 06, 2022

moiré

[ mohr ] [ moʊr ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling

adjective

in silks or fabrics, presenting a watery or wavelike appearance.

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What is the origin of moiré?

Moiré, “presenting a watery or wavelike appearance,” is a borrowing from French and means “given a finish resembling moire.” Moire is likely an adaptation of English mohair, which makes moiré a reborrowing, or a word that is borrowed back into its language of origin, similar to anime and the Word of the Day yé-yé. The term mohair comes via Italian from Arabic mukhayyar, “choice, chosen,” from the verb khayyara, “to choose.” This means that mohair is not related to hair, although folk etymology may suggest it is. For more examples of folk etymology, take a look at the Words of the Day cathartic, eggcorn, and ferrule. Moiré was first recorded in English in the 1650s.

EXAMPLE OF MOIRÉ USED IN A SENTENCE

He saw moiré patterns everywhere, even in insect screens rustling in the breeze.

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Word of the day

Monday, December 05, 2022

mehndi

[ men-dee ] [ ˈmɛn di ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling

noun

the art or practice of painting elaborate patterns on the skin with henna.

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What is the origin of mehndi?

Mehndi, “the art of painting patterns with henna,” is a borrowing from Hindi. Hindi and numerous other languages of the Indian subcontinent (including Bengali, Marathi, and Punjabi) come from Sanskrit. In this way, the earliest known source of mehndi is Sanskrit mendhī (also mendhikā), “the henna plant,” which is of uncertain origin. Today, although most languages that descended from Sanskrit are spoken in India and its adjacent countries, Romani is among a handful spoken elsewhere in Eurasia. Mehndi was first recorded in English in the late 1990s.

EXAMPLE OF MEHNDI USED IN A SENTENCE

Her sister practiced the beautiful, intricate patterns of mehndi on us.

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Word of the day

Sunday, December 04, 2022

decalcomania

[ dih-kal-kuh-mey-nee-uh ] [ dɪˌkæl kəˈmeɪ ni ə ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling

noun

the art or process of transferring pictures or designs from specially prepared paper to wood, metal, glass, etc.

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What is the origin of decalcomania?

Decalcomania, “the art of transferring pictures from paper to another medium,” is adapted from French décalcomanie, equivalent to décalquer, “to transfer a tracing of,” plus English -mania. The verb décalquer is based on Italian calcare, “to stomp, trample,” ultimately from Latin calx, “heel.” From this same source comes calque, also known as a loan translation. One common example of a calque is brainwashing (from Mandarin Chinese xǐ nǎo “to wash the brain”). For other words descended from Latin calx, check out the Words of the Day cantrip and inculcate. Decalcomania was first recorded in English in the early 1860s.

EXAMPLE OF DECALCOMANIA USED IN A SENTENCE

With the right materials, decalcomania can make images leap off the page and onto a variety of other surfaces.

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