Word of the Day

Word of the day

Tuesday, February 07, 2023

in medias res

[ in mey-dee-ahs reys ] [ ɪn ˈmeɪ diˌɑs ˈreɪs ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling

adverb

in the middle of things.

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What is the origin of in medias res?

In medias res, “in the middle of things,” is a borrowing of Latin in mediās rēs, literally meaning “into middle things.” Latin in is a distant relative of English in and can mean either “into” or “in, on,” depending on context. Mediās is a form of medius, “middle,” which is also the source of medieval, medium, and the Word of the Day mezzaluna. Rēs is the same in its singular and plural forms; compare the Latin-origin words caries, rabies, series, and species. In medias res was first recorded in English in the 1780s.

EXAMPLE OF IN MEDIAS RES USED IN A SENTENCE

The action film began in medias res, with an exciting car chase.

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Monday, February 06, 2023

superannuated

[ soo-per-an-yoo-ey-tid ] [ ˌsu pərˈæn yuˌeɪ tɪd ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling

adjective

antiquated or obsolete.

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What is the origin of superannuated?

Superannuated, “antiquated or obsolete,” comes from Medieval Latin superannātus, “over a year old.” Superannātus is based on Latin super, “above, beyond, over,” and annus, “year.” Super is a distant relative of English over, German über, and Ancient Greek hypér; compare the Words of the Day hypermnesia and supercilious. Annus is the source of anniversary and annual, and its stem enn- can be found in millennium and the Word of the Day perennial. Superannuated was first recorded in English circa 1530.

EXAMPLE OF SUPERANNUATED USED IN A SENTENCE

The townspeople came together and voted to remove the superannuated and unpopular clause from the town’s charter.

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Word of the day

Sunday, February 05, 2023

alluvion

[ uh-loo-vee-uhn ] [ əˈlu vi ən ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling

noun

a gradual increase of land on a shore or a river bank by the action of water, whether from natural or artificial causes.

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What is the origin of alluvion?

Alluvion, “an increase of land on a shore by the action of water,” comes from Latin alluviō, “an overflowing,” in which the -luv- element comes from lavāre, “to wash.” The basic stems of lavāre (lau- and lav-) are visible in latrine (earlier lavātrīna), laundry, lavatory, and lavish—but not lava. Meanwhile, through its broader range of stems, lavāre is also the source of the Word of the Day antediluvian, and deluge and lotion. Alluvion was first recorded in English in the 1530s.

EXAMPLE OF ALLUVION USED IN A SENTENCE

The anglers had to step lively to avoid sinking into the soft area of alluvion along the river’s edge.

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