Word of the Day

Word of the day

Friday, December 09, 2022
⚛️ Today's Word was chosen in partnership with the Museum of Science as the Science Word Of The Week! ⚛️

algorithm

[ al-guh-rith-uhm ] [ ˈæl gəˌrɪð əm ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling

noun

an ordered set of instructions applied repeatedly to data to solve a problem or accomplish a task.

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Why the Museum of Science chose algorithm

You might think algorithms are reserved for complex computer instructions, but if you've ever followed a recipe when you cook, then you have used an algorithm. To learn more, watch this video from award-winning science communicator Maynard Okereke, better known as the Hip Hop M.D.

Learn more fun facts at the Museum of Science.

What is the origin of algorithm?

Algorithm is a variant of algorism and ultimately comes from Arabic al-Khwārizmī, which refers to the 9th-century mathematician Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī. In this name, Khwārizm refers to an area of Central Asia now divided between Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Algorism became algorithm because of the influence of Ancient Greek arithmós, “number,” as in arithmetic. Algorithm was first recorded in English in the 1690s.

EXAMPLE OF ALGORITHM USED IN A SENTENCE

The data scientist applied a simple algorithm and solved the frustrating puzzle in less than 3 seconds.

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Word of the day

Thursday, December 08, 2022

zaffer

[ zaf-er ] [ ˈzæf ər ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling

noun

an artificial mixture, resembling smalt, containing cobalt oxide and, usually, silica, used to produce a blue color in glass and in ceramic glazes.

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What is the origin of zaffer?

For the origin of zaffer, “a cobalt oxide–silica mixture used to produce a blue color,” let’s travel down a linguistic rabbit hole. Zaffer, from French safre or Italian zaffera, may come from Arabic ’aṣfar, “yellow,” which resembles but is not related to saffron and sulfur. Alternatively, zaffer may come from Latin sapphīra, “sapphire,” via Ancient Greek sáppheiros, “lapis lazuli,” from a Semitic source akin to Hebrew sappīr, “sapphire.” One intriguing proposal is that sappīr and its close Semitic relatives come from Sanskrit śanipuriya, “dear to Saturn,” equivalent to Śani, the planet Saturn, plus priyá-, “dear.” Zaffer was first recorded in English circa 1660.

EXAMPLE OF ZAFFER USED IN A SENTENCE

The glass blower used zaffer to make the vase a beautiful hue of azure.

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Word of the day

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

barococo

[ bar-uh-koh-koh ] [ ˌbær əˈkoʊ koʊ ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling

adjective

excessively ornate or fussy in artistic or architectural style.

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What is the origin of barococo?

Barococo, “excessively ornate in style,” is a portmanteau, or blend, of baroque and rococo, two words of complicated origins. Baroque is a borrowing from French and comes from older Portuguese barroco or Spanish barrueco, “irregularly shaped pearl,” and from here, numerous linguists have weighed in with their ideas. Perhaps there is a link to Spanish berruca, “wart” (from Latin verrūca). Rococo is also borrowed from French and derives from Medieval Latin rocca, “rock,” which may come from a Celtic source or, alternatively, Latin rūpēs, “cliff.” Barococo was first recorded in English in the mid-1920s. For more examples of portmanteaux, check out this article.

EXAMPLE OF BAROCOCO USED IN A SENTENCE

The guests’ eyes bulged and jaws dropped when they entered the foyer, which had been renovated in a barococo style.

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