Word of the Day

Sunday, July 26, 2020

anfractuous

[ an-frak-choo-uhs ]

adjective

characterized by windings and turnings; sinuous; circuitous: an anfractuous path.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of anfractuous?

Anfractuous ultimately comes from the Late Latin adjective ānfrāctuōsus, a term in rhetoric meaning “roundabout, prolix,” and first used by St. Augustine of Hippo in one of his sermons. Ānfrāctuōsus is a derivative of the noun ānfrāctus (also āmfrāctus) “a bend, curve, circular motion, digression, recurrence,” formed by the prefix am-, an-, a rare variant of ambi– “both, around, about,” and a derivative of the verb frangere “to break, shatter, smash.” Anfractuous entered English in the early 15th century.

how is anfractuous used?

Then, as the road resumed its anfractuous course, clinging to the extreme margin of this tumbled and chaotic coast, the fun began.

Jonathan Raban, "The Getaway Car," New York Times, June 10, 2011

Chavis endured a bumpy, anfractuous trip …. He started with a turbulent flight from Syracuse, where the Pawtucket Red Sox were stationed, to Detroit. Then another flight from Detroit to Tampa.

Christopher L. Gasper, "'That was awesome, dude!' — Michael Chavis enjoys his Red Sox debut," Boston Globe, April 21, 2019

Listen to the word of the day

anfractuous

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.
Saturday, July 25, 2020

coffers

[ kaw-ferz, kof-erz ]

plural noun

funds, especially of a government or corporation.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of coffers?

English coffers, “treasury, funds,” is the plural of coffer, “box, chest (for valuables).” The Middle English cofre (and coffre, coffer) had the same senses in the singular and plural. Middle English cofre comes from Old French cofre, from Latin cophinus “basket, hamper,” from Greek kóphinos “big basket; unit of measure.” Cophinus, going the easy way, yields coffin in English via Old French coffin “basket; coffer; sarcophagus.” (Latin ph from Greek words frequently becomes f in the Romance languages.) Cophinus, going the hard way, becomes cophn(o); the n then dissimilates to r, cofn(o) becoming cofre, just as Latin Londinium “London” becomes Londn(ium), the second n dissimilating to Londr- (Londres in Modern French). Coffers entered English in the 13th century.

how is coffers used?

For decades, American presidential campaigns have churned out enormous quantities of swag—$5 buttons, $15 mugs, $75 guacamole bowls—to promote candidates, fill campaign coffers and gather sophisticated data about supporters.

Mihir Zaveri and , "Where Does All the Swag Go After Campaigns Fail? Everywhere," New York Times, February 25, 2020
[The team] required shareholders to buy six season tickets, hoping to fill the bleachers and the coffers in a single go.

Austin Smith, "The Lords of Lambeau," Harper's Magazine, January 2017

Listen to the word of the day

coffers

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00
Friday, July 24, 2020

taciturn

[ tas-i-turn ]

adjective

inclined to silence; reserved in speech; reluctant to join in conversation.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of taciturn?

Taciturn ultimately derives from Latin taciturnus “keeping silent, saying nothing, silent by habit or disposition,” a derivative of tacitus, past participle of tacēre “to say nothing, be silent.” Tacēre and its derivatives come from an uncommon Proto-Indo-European root tak-, takē- “to be silent.” Tak- regularly becomes thah- in Germanic, yielding Gothic thahan “to keep silent, hold one’s peace,” and Old Icelandic thagna “become silent.” Tak- in Celtic yields Welsh tagu and Breton taga “strangling, choking” (one way of obtaining silence). Taciturn entered English in the 18th century.

how is taciturn used?

But there at the depot was her husband, the taciturn man who kept his emotions to himself …
Isabel Wilkerson, The Warmth of Other Suns, 2010

Ernő Rubik has often been painted as a taciturn loner, a grudging genius who built a beautiful object he hoped would create an introspective space where individuals could consider the elegance of geometry, and who instead became an icon for one of the great marketing crazes of all time.

Stefany Anne Goldberg, "Puzzled: The Rubik's Cube at 30." The Smart Set, April 13, 2010

Listen to the word of the day

taciturn

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.