• Word of the day
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    Saturday, March 02, 2019

    animus

    noun [an-uh-muhs]
    strong dislike or enmity; hostile attitude; animosity.
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    What is the origin of animus?

    In Latin the noun animus has many meanings: “the mind (as opposed to the body), the mind (or soul) that with the body constitutes a person, the mind as the seat of consciousness, the immortal part of a person (the soul)….” Animus comes from the same Proto-Indo-European source (anә- “to breathe”) as Greek ánemos “the wind.” The modern sense “strong dislike, enmity” is a development within English, appearing only at the end of the 18th century.

    How is animus used?

    This time, it’s not a border wall or a health care proposal driving the animus, but an online ad for a men’s razor, because, of course. Emily Dreyfuss, "Gillette's Ad Proves the Definition of a Good Man Has Changed," Wired, January 16, 2019

    Second, people should not let their animus toward him—and his animus toward the truth—trick them into trafficking in conspiracy theories. David Leonhardt, "How to Cut Child Poverty," New York Times, October 27, 2017

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  • Word of the day
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    Friday, March 01, 2019

    tergiversate

    verb [tur-ji-ver-seyt]
    to change repeatedly one's attitude or opinions with respect to a cause, subject, etc.; equivocate.
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    What is the origin of tergiversate?

    Tergiversate comes from the Latin verb tergiversārī “to keep turning one’s back on a task, show reluctance.” The Latin noun tergum means “back (of a human or animal),” and the verb versārī “to keep moving about” is a derivative of vertere “to turn.” Tergiversate entered English in the 17th century.

    How is tergiversate used?

    The nominees will equivocate and tergiversate. They will never engage. Stephen L. Carter, "What We Think About Supreme Court Hearings Is Wrong," Bloomberg, July 17, 2018

    I can sense a growing concentricity in my manner of thinking, a desire to circle back on my own thoughts, to tergiversate, to animadvert, to extemporise. Will Self, "Inclusion," Grey Area, 1994

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  • Word of the day
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    Thursday, February 28, 2019

    petrichor

    noun [pe-tri-kawr, ‐trahy-]
    a distinctive scent, usually described as earthy, pleasant, or sweet, produced by rainfall on very dry ground.
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    What is the origin of petrichor?

    Petrichor is an uncommon word used in mineral chemistry or geochemistry to describe the pleasant scent of rain falling on very dry ground. Petrichor is a compound of the Greek nouns pétrā “rock, stone” (as in petroleum “rock oil”) and īchṓr, the juice or liquid—not blood!—that flows in the veins of the Olympian gods. About 60 percent of ancient Greek words have no satisfactory etymology; īchṓr is one of them. Petrichor was coined by two Australian chemists, Isabel “Joy” Bear and Richard Grenfell Thomas, in 1964.

    How is petrichor used?

    I surfaced from the tunnel in a shack, where the air was close and smelled of petrichor. Samantha Shannon, The Mime Order, 2015

    So whether rainfall reminds you of summer soccer games, puddle-splashing with siblings or a terrifying storm, thank (or blame) the planets [sic], microbes and minerals that give petrichor such a distinctive odor. Marissa Fessenden, "High-Speed Video Shows When The Smell of Rain Begins," Smithsonian.com, January 20, 2015

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  • Word of the day
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    Wednesday, February 27, 2019

    divertissement

    noun [dih-vur-tis-muhnt]
    a diversion or entertainment.
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    What is the origin of divertissement?

    The English noun divertissement comes directly from the French divertissement “amusement, entertainment, diversion.” Divertisse- is the long stem of the verb divertir “to amuse, entertain”; it comes from Latin dīvertere or dēvertere “to turn away, divert, make a detour, digress”; the French suffix -ment, from the similar Latin noun suffix -mentum, denotes action or resulting state. Divertissement entered English in the 18th century.

    How is divertissement used?

    Featuring an uncomplicated plot and easily relatable personalities, this is a divertissement compared with the thematic heft of “Like Father, Like Son.” Maggie Lee, "Cannes Film Review: 'After the Storm'," Variety, May 20, 2016

    My place in your life is a divertissement, and when it ceases to be that it will be no good to you. May Sarton, The Single Hound, 1938

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  • Word of the day
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    Tuesday, February 26, 2019

    cozen

    verb [kuhz-uhn]
    to cheat, deceive, or trick.
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    What is the origin of cozen?

    The verb cozen has a doubtful ancestry. One plausible etymology has cozen associated with the noun cousin (i.e., the relative), modeled on the French usage of the verb cousiner “to call ‘cousin,’” i.e., to claim fraudulent kindred to gain some profit or advantage. A second etymology derives cozen from Italian cozzonare “to engage in horse trading, cheat,” from cozzone, from Latin coctiōn-, the inflectional stem of coctiō “a dealer, broker.” Cozen entered English in the 16th century.

    How is cozen used?

    He had come to cozen me into letting him use me in return for a mockery of an honor. David Graham Phillips, The Plum Tree, 1905

    Let us cozen it with a golden shrewdness. Iris Murdoch, An Accidental Man, 1971

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  • Word of the day
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    Monday, February 25, 2019

    evenfall

    noun [ee-vuhn-fawl]
    twilight; dusk; the beginning of evening.
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    What is the origin of evenfall?

    Evenfall, "the beginning of evening, dusk," from its very look is a poetic word. It is reasonable to assume, but impossible to prove, that evenfall was modeled on the earlier nightfall (1700). Evenfall entered English in the 19th century.

    How is evenfall used?

    And now 'tis evenfall in the brave and beautiful Borderland, and long shadows fall across the smooth lawns and fragrant garden ... George MacDonald Fraser, The Reavers, 2007

    James Turner had his own conception of what happiness was ... Mine is to smoke a pipe at evenfall and watch a badger, a rattlesnake, and an owl go into their common prairie home one by one. O. Henry, "What You Want," Strictly Business, 1910

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  • Word of the day
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    Sunday, February 24, 2019

    halidom

    noun [hal-i-duhm]
    a holy place, as a church or sanctuary.
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    What is the origin of halidom?

    Halidom is a rare word meaning “holy place, sanctuary.” Its Old English form, hāligdōm, is a compound formed of the adjective hālig “holy” and the abstract noun suffix -dōm (English -dom). Hāligdōm originally meant “holiness, sanctity” in Old English, but this sense was obsolete by the 17th century. The concrete senses of hāligdōm, "chapel, sanctuary” and “relic,” are as old as the abstract sense. Halidom entered English before 1000.

    How is halidom used?

    Most nations would reckon it a village, but it had its halidom, assembly hall, market, and busy little industries. Poul and Karen Anderson, "Faith," After the King: Stories in Honor of J. R. R. Tolkien, 1992

    There are few more interesting spots in Great Britain than "Dewisland," or the "halidom" of St. David. W. A. B. Coolidge, "St. David's," The Cathedral Churches of England and Wales, 1884

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