Word of the Day

Monday, January 25, 2021

ad hockery

[ ad -hok-uh-ree ]

noun

reliance on temporary solutions rather than on consistent, long-term plans.

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What is the origin of ad hockery?

Ad hockery (also spelled ad hocery), “reliance on temporary solutions rather than on consistent, long-term plans,” is a compound of the Latin phrase ad hoc “for this (purpose, occasion)” and the noun suffix –ery; the phrase has an air of frustration or contempt. Ad hockery entered English at the end of the 19th century.

how is ad hockery used?

The house was a ramshackle collection of alterations and renovations, ad hockery gone wild.

Dave Duncan, The Cutting Edge, 1992

This is surely one of the perils of histories of this sort — the scavenger-writer can pick through Plato and Aristotle, Montaigne and Hume, Willy Wonka and the script for “Moonstruck” in search of insights on doubt and happiness, boredom and anger, ankle boots versus sandals, but risks losing any narrative thread to ad hockery.

Alison McCulloch, "Get Happy," New York Times, May 6, 2007

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Sunday, January 24, 2021

flocculent

[ flok-yuh-luhnt ]

adjective

like a clump or tuft of wool.

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What is the origin of flocculent?

Flocculent “like a clump or tuft of wool, fleecy” comes from the Latin noun floccus “tuft of wool” (of uncertain etymology) and the adjective suffix –lentus, naturalized in English as –lent. Flocculent is used in the physical sciences, such as physical chemistry, zoology, botany, and meteorology. Flocculent entered English about 1800.

how is flocculent used?

A vast, flocculent cloud darkened and devitalized the city, mimicking the family mood like weather does in memories.

Andrew Ridker, The Altruists, 2019

In flocculent spirals, fluffy patches of stars and dust show up here and there throughout their disks. Sometimes the tufts of stars are arranged in a generally spiraling form, as with NGC 3521, but illuminated star-filled regions can also appear as short or discontinuous spiral arms.

"Hubble Shears a 'Woolly' Galaxy," NASA.gov, September 25, 2015

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flocculent

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Saturday, January 23, 2021

belly-wash

[ bel-ee-wosh, -wawsh ]

noun

any barely drinkable liquid or beverage, as inferior soda, beer, coffee, or soup.

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What is the origin of belly-wash?

Belly-wash is an obvious slang term with several meanings: a barely drinkable liquid (such as soup) or beverage (alcoholic or nonalcoholic); it also means nonsense, rather like hogwash. Belly-wash, an Americanism, entered English in the second half of the 19th century.

how is belly-wash used?

Mr. Nevins, the head of Great Waters of France, which is running the campaign to make America fizz with Perrier, made the company’s objective even clearer … to capture part of the $10 billion a year Americans spend on what used to be called bellywash.

James F. Clarity, "Perrier, the Snob's Drink, Soon to Come in Six-Packs," New York Times, April 27, 1977

He drinks Bordeaux claret and hock. Bellywash, I call it, bellywash.

Edgar Jepson, Sibyl Falcon, 1895

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belly-wash

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