Word of the Day

Word of the day

Saturday, October 17, 2020

ambivert

[ am-bi-vurt ]

noun

Psychology.

one whose personality type is intermediate between extrovert and introvert.

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What is the origin of ambivert?

Ambivert, literally “turned both ways,” is a term used in psychology, meaning “one whose personality type is between introvert and extrovert.” Ambivert is based on Latin elements: the prefix ambi– “both, on both sides, around” (as in English ambient “surrounding, encompassing” and ambiguous “open to several interpretations”), and the suffix –vert, extracted from the verb vertere “to turn” (as in English convert “to turn completely,” and divert “to turn aside, deflect”). Ambivert, first recorded in 1927, is modeled on the somewhat earlier words introvert (1916) and extrovert (1918).

how is ambivert used?

Drew was more of an ambivert. He wasn’t as outgoing as his younger sister, but he wasn’t as reserved as his parents either.

Susan Cain, Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts, 2016

A well-developed ambivert, he [Abraham Lincoln] could hold complexity and contradiction to stand firmly behind words America desperately needed ….

Michael Alcee, "Why America Needs Introverted Extroverts Now," Psychology Today, June 27, 2020

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Word of the day

Friday, October 16, 2020

diction

[ dik-shuhn ]

noun

style of speaking or writing as dependent upon choice of words.

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What is the origin of diction?

Diction ultimately comes from Latin dictiō (inflectional stem dictiōn-) “speaking, act of speaking, (oracular) utterance, word, expression,” a derivative of the verb dīcere “to say, speak, talk.” Dictiō, though a word in general Latin vocabulary, is naturally connected very closely with rhetoric and law, two very important professions among the Romans. Dīcere, earlier deicere, comes from the very common Proto-Indo-European root deik- (also deig-), dik- (dig-) “to show, point out,” and appears in Greek deíknysthai “to show, point out,” Gothic ga-teihan “to show, make clear,” and German zeigen “to show.” The 13th-century English philologist, grammarian, and university professor John of Garland coined the word dictiōnārius as the title for one of his Latin textbooks in which he grouped lexical items thematically. Garland explained that his dictiōnārius was not based on the sense of dictiō as a single word, but dictiō in the sense of connected discourse. In the 14th century the Benedictine monk, translator, and encyclopedist Pierre Bersuire used the term dictiōnārium as the title for an alphabetical encyclopedia of the Vulgate (St. Jerome’s version of the Latin Bible, completed at the end of the 4th century). By the 15th century, dictiōnārium acquired the generalized sense “alphabetized wordbook.” Diction entered English in the 15th century.

how is diction used?

She did more than powder noses; she advised on diction and apparel and helped commanders in chief put their best selves forward for television.

Katharine Q. Seelye, "Lillian Brown, Makeup Artist to Nine Presidents, Dies at 106," New York Times, September 29, 2020

His diction mirrors the emotional gravity in each scene, which, combined with raw honesty, is what makes his writing so relatable.

Khrysgiana Pineda, "Review: Bill Clegg's 'The End of the Day' a story of friendship, love and memory," USA Today, September 30, 2020

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Word of the day

Thursday, October 15, 2020

totis viribus

[ toh-tis -wee-ri-boos; English toh-tis -vir-uh-buhs ]

adverb

Latin.

with all one's might.

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What is the origin of totis viribus?

The English adverbial phrase totis viribus, “with all (one’s) might,” comes straight from the Latin phrase tōtīs vīribus, the ablative plural of the adjective tōtus “all, entire, the whole of” and the noun vīs (plural inflectional stem vīr-) “strength, physical strength, force.” More fully, the phrase tōtīs vīribus is an ablative of manner, just in case it’s on tomorrow’s quiz. Totis viribus is uncommon in English; it is used, as one would expect, mostly by lawyers. Vīs has an exact equivalent in Greek ĩs (also wĩs in some dialects), “force, might,” a Homeric word that appears in the instrumental case form ĩphi in the poetic formulas ĩphi máchesthai “to fight with strength,” and ĩphi anássein “to rule with might.” Totis viribus entered English in the 16th century.

how is totis viribus used?

As a fictitious autobiographer—in the power, or at least in the fidelity, of first conceiving a character, and then throwing himself into it totis viribus, and by ten thousand strokes of humour, sense, an observation … Mr. Galt surpasses every writer certainly of this day, and perhaps of any time.

"Review of New Books: Bogle Corbet; or, the Emigrants", The London and Paris Observer, June 12, 1831

If a man say totis viribus, he will resist. The literal meaning is not that he will resist by blood or by force of arms. It is a common expression among lawyers at the bar, “I will resist such an attempt totis viribus.”

Argued by Moses Levy, "The Trial of Frederick Eberle and Others for Conspiracy to Prevent the Use of the English Language, 1816," American State Trials, Vol. 12, 1919

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