Word of the Day

Saturday, June 05, 2021

agglomeration

[ uh-glom-uh-rey-shuhn ]

noun

a jumbled cluster or mass of varied parts.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of agglomeration?

The English noun agglomeration, “a jumbled cluster or mass of varied parts,” comes from Latin agglomerātus, the past participle of agglomerāre “to mass together, pile up, join forces,” a derivative of glomerāre “to roll into a ball, collect into a dense mass.” Glomerāre in turn is a derivative of the noun glomus (inflectional stem glomer-) “a ball, a skein or ball of yarn.” Glomus is related to the Latin nouns globus “round body, round cake, sphere” (English globe) and glēba (also glaeba) “lump or clod of earth” (English glebe “soil, field”). Agglomeration entered English in the second half of the 17th century.

how is agglomeration used?

In our exuberance to build more green things, we need to focus on updating what we’ve already damaged. That dead mall could be a solar field. (It already has the power hookups.) That agglomeration of gas pumps could be a park-and-ride charging station for commuters traveling farther by train.

Paul Greenberg and , "We Don't Need More Life-Crushing Steel and Concrete," New York Times, April 13, 2021

A galaxy is much more than a radiant agglomeration of stars. To modern astrophysicists, galaxies are more notable for their dark sides: their hidden material that is only “seen” by its gravitational pull upon the shiny stuff it seems to vastly outweigh.

Rebecca Boyle, "Astronomers Boggle at a Distant Galaxy Devoid of Dark Matter," Scientific American, March 28, 2018

Listen to the word of the day

agglomeration

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00
quiz icon
WHAT'S YOUR WORD IQ?
Think you're a word wizard? Try our word quiz, and prove it!
TAKE THE QUIZ
arrows pointing up and down
SYNONYM OF THE DAY
Double your word knowledge with the Synonym of the Day!
SEE TODAY'S SYNONYM

Get A Vocabulary Boost In Your Inbox

Get the Word of the Day every day!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Friday, June 04, 2021

deliquesce

[ del-i-kwes ]

verb (used without object)

to melt away.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of deliquesce?

Deliquesce, “to melt away; become liquid,” comes straight from Latin dēliquēscere “to become liquid, dissipate one’s energy,” a compound of the preposition and prefix , -, here indicating removal, and the verb liquēscere “to melt, decompose, putrefy.” Liquēscere is an inchoative verb (also called an inceptive verb), meaning that the verb indicates the beginning, the inception of an action. In Latin (and in Greek) the suffix –sc– (Latin) and –sk– (Greek) changes a verb of state, such as liquēre “to be liquid, be clear,” to an inceptive verb. Derivatives of liquēre include liquidus “clear, fluid” (English liquid) and liquor “fluidity, liquid character” (English liquor). Deliquesce entered English in the mid-18th century.

how is deliquesce used?

My thoughts started to deliquesce and slide through my brain like melting cheese.

Zoe Williams, "Fit in my 40s: 'My thoughts slide through my brain like melting cheese," The Guardian, July 21, 2018

A subsequent painting in the album … sees Jeong render the white peaks in ink that fades from the top of the composition to the bottom, making the mountain range deliquesce as if in fog.

Jason Farago, "Review: When a Landscape (and Memory) Is All You Have," New York Times, February 8, 2018

Listen to the word of the day

deliquesce

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00
Thursday, June 03, 2021

stultify

[ stuhl-tuh-fahy ]

verb (used with object)

to render absurdly or wholly futile or ineffectual, especially by degrading or frustrating means.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of stultify?

Stultify comes straight from Late Latin stultificāre, “to turn into foolishness,” a compound verb formed from the adjective stultus “stupid, dense, foolish” and the combining form –ficāre “to make, make become” (source via Old French –fier of the English verb suffix –fy), formed from facere “to do, make.” Stultus and stolidus “dull, brutish, stupid” come from the root stel-, stol– “to (make) stand, put.” One odd thing about stultify is that its original meaning in English was as a legal term “to allege or prove (oneself or another) to be of unsound mind,” that is, if one stultified oneself, one could evade responsibility for one’s actions. Stultify entered English in the second half of the 18th century.

how is stultify used?

Up to recently we have proceeded from a premise that poverty is a consequence of multiple evils: lack of education restricting job opportunities; poor housing which stultified home life and suppressed initiative; fragile family relationships which distorted personality development.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967

Such critics stultify themselves by the coarseness of view (and sometimes of expression) with which they meet the grossness they condemn.

"New Poetry of the Rosettis and Others", The Atlantic, January 1882

Listen to the word of the day

stultify

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00

Get A Vocabulary Boost In Your Inbox

Get the Word of the Day every day!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.