Word of the Day

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

adminicle

[ ad-min-i-kuhl ]

noun

an aid; auxiliary.

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What is the origin of adminicle?

Adminicle “an aid; auxiliary” comes ultimately from Latin adminiculum “prop (for vines), a stake or pole for support”; in Roman legal usage adminiculum means “an argument supporting a claim.” Adminiculum is a compound beginning with the Latin preposition and prefix ad, ad– “to, toward, at,” and ending with the diminutive suffix –culum, which is the source of the English suffixes –cule (as in molecule and ridicule) and, via Old French, –cle (as in article and canticle). The midsection mini– of adminiculum is problematic, but it is probably related to moenia “defensive walls of a town.” Adminiculum entered English in the mid-16th century.

how is adminicle used?

In fact it is very evident that to Dr. Osgood Classical Mythology is an adminicle to the study of Milton and not a study in itself.

"Brief Mention", American Journal of Philology, Vol. 21 No. 82, 1900

His routine of labor, while so burdened with woe, would have crushed him, were it not for the memory of his love, which was an adminicle to his strength.

Anson D. Eby, Showers of Blessing, 1908

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Monday, April 05, 2021

bricolage

[ bree-kuh-lahzh, brik-uh- ]

noun

a construction made of whatever materials are at hand; something created from a variety of available things.

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What is the origin of bricolage?

The noun bricolage in French means “do it yourself,” formed from the verb bricoler “to do odd jobs, do small chores; make improvised repairs,” from Middle French bricoler “to zigzag, bounce off,” ultimately a derivative of the Old French noun bricole “a trifle.” The French suffix –age, completely naturalized in English –age, as in carriage, marriage, passage, voyage, comes from –āticum, a noun suffix from the neuter of the Latin adjective suffix –āticus. Bricolage entered English in the second half of the 20th century.

how is bricolage used?

Indeed, if we scratch beneath the surface, English is a veritable bricolage of these ‘borrowed’ words.

Tim Lomas, "The Magic of 'Untranslatable' Words," Scientific American, July 12, 2016

So, for now, with my basket in one hand and my daughter’s little palm in the other, we’ll continue to walk the world in search of people, spaces and moments that move our soul and gather them into a living piece of art, a bricolage of memories called home.

Stevie Trujillo, "The Wager of Raising a Child Abroad," New York Times, February 16, 2018

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Sunday, April 04, 2021

leporine

[ lep-uh-rahyn, -rin ]

adjective

of, relating to, or resembling a rabbit or hare.

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What is the origin of leporine?

Leporine, “pertaining to or resembling a rabbit or hare,” a technical term in zoology, comes straight from the Latin adjective leporīnus, a derivative of the noun lepus (inflectional stem lepor-) “hare.” The etymology of lepus is obscure, but it may be related to Greek dialect léporis (Sicily) and lebērís (Marseille). Leporine entered English in the mid-17th century.

how is leporine used?

Of course, the Easter Bunny isn’t our only leporine hero. There is a general fascination with hares, bunnies, and rabbits in children’s literature and other aspects of popular and folk culture around the world.

Ellen C. Caldwell, "The Easter Bunny, or, Why We Love Rabbits," JSTOR Daily, March 25, 2016

His face looked naked, his teeth big and leporine.

Karen Joy Fowler, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, 2013

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