Word of the Day

Word of the day

Saturday, August 13, 2022

sinistrorse

[ sin-uh-strawrs, si-nis-trawrs ] [ ˈsɪn əˌstrɔrs, sɪˈnɪs trɔrs ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling

adjective

(from a point of view at the center of the spiral) rising spirally in a counterclockwise manner, as a stem.

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What is the origin of sinistrorse?

Sinistrorse “rising spirally in a counterclockwise manner” comes from Latin sinistrōrsus “turned leftwards,” which is a contraction of sinister “left” and versus “turned.” Perhaps because of avoidance of taboo words, although Latin sinister survives today as Italian sinistro, most Romance languages replaced their “left” words with borrowings from other languages. Portuguese esquerdo and Spanish izquierdo are either borrowed from Basque ezker “left” or derived from a pre-Indo-European language of the Iberian peninsula. Meanwhile, French gauche comes from a Germanic-origin verb meaning “to turn, veer.” Sinistrorse was first recorded in English in the late 1850s.

how is sinistrorse used?

They walked halfway around the column, and Julie peered up until the fog shrouded it far above. It seemed to extend forever! She turned back to the base and sighted a broad stairway winding its way up the pedestal in sinistrorse fashion, right to left.

Wendy Isdell, The Chemy Called Al, 1996

His knees buckled and ached when he negotiated the turret’s sinistrorse stone staircase. A sneeze caught him by surprise, and as he put his hand to his thin twig-like nose, another came upon him. His pointed boot slipped off the step causing him to skid down the last few stairs…

Victoria Leeman, Gem: The Season of Prophecy, 2013
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Word of the day

Friday, August 12, 2022

iatrogenic

[ ahy-a-truh-jen-ik, ee-a- ] [ aɪˌæ trəˈdʒɛn ɪk, iˌæ- ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling

adjective

caused by the diagnosis, manner, or treatment of a physician.

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What is the origin of iatrogenic?

Iatrogenic “caused by the treatment of a physician” is a compound based on the Ancient Greek-origin combining forms iatro- “doctor, healer, medicine” and -genic “producing or causing.” Iatro- comes from Ancient Greek iātrós “healer,” from iâsthai “to heal,” which is also the source of geriatric, pediatrician, psychiatry, and the name Jason. The element -genic comes from Ancient Greek -genēs “born, produced,” which is also the source of cosmogenic, hallucinogenic, and the name Eugene. Iatrogenic was first recorded in English in the early 1920s.

how is iatrogenic used?

Sometime[s] these iatrogenic injuries are accidental. But sometimes, because of the limits of medical technology, they can be inevitable. Now, a medical researcher in Seattle thinks he has a way to eliminate some of the inevitable ones.

Joe Palca, “Why Painting Tumors Could Make Brain Surgeons Better,” NPR, September 12, 2013
[W]e also work 12-hour shifts and, ultimately, we are grateful, knowing that even the most experienced RN can make medical mistakes. Our mistakes can have catastrophic consequences: Iatrogenic (health professional-induced) mistakes are the third leading cause of death in America by some measures.

Tawny Buettner, “Nurse: Despite coronavirus pandemic, hospital patients need their loved ones at their side,” USA Today, July 17, 2020
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Word of the day

Thursday, August 11, 2022

yé-yé

[ ye-ye ] [ ˈyɛˈyɛ ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling

adjective

of, relating to, or characteristic of the rock-'n'-roll music, fashions, entertainment, etc., of the 1960s, especially in France.

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What is the origin of yé-yé?

Yé-yé “of the French rock-’n’-roll culture of the 1960s” is a borrowing from French that, in turn, is adapted from English yeah-yeah. Yeah is a variant of either yea or yes; yea (pronounced as “yey”) comes from Old English gēa “so,” while yes is a compound of gēa and Old English “be it.” A similar shift in meaning happened in some Romance languages, with Latin sīc “so” becoming Portuguese sim and Spanish “yes.” The process of a borrowed word getting borrowed back into its language of origin is called reborrowing, and another well-known example is how English animation was adapted in Japanese as anime, which was itself borrowed back into English as anime. Yé-yé was first recorded in English in the early 1960s.

how is yé-yé used?

While other French singers from Hardy’s Yé-yé generation were a flash in the pan, she has endured because she was different, Jean-Pierre Pasqualini says.

Eleanor Beardsley, “Françoise Hardy Remains France's National Treasure,” NPR, September 12, 2018

“I was really inspired by ’60s girl groups,” [Charli XCX] says. “Especially yé-yé pop from France, like Brigitte Bardot and Sylvie Vartan.”

Daniel Dumas, “Charli XCX Might Be the Next Big Thing in Pop,” Wall Street Journal, December 4, 2014
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