Word of the Day

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

antigodlin

[ an-ti-god-lin ]

adjective

lopsided or at an angle; out of alignment.

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What is the origin of antigodlin?

Antigodlin is an adjective used chiefly in the American South and West. The origin of the word is unclear, but it may be a combination of the familiar prefix anti- “against, opposite” and godlin or goglin, a variant pronunciation of goggling, the present participle of goggle, in the archaic sense “to squint” and originally meaning “twisted to one side, cockeyed.” The form godlin may also be reinforced by the folk etymology “against God.” Antigodlin entered English in the early 20th century.

how is antigodlin used?

This was moved so as to make it set, as the witness expressed it, “antigodlin.” … we suppose he meant that it was set diagonally to the window after being moved so as to permit the party to pass between the side of the box and the window.

Rudolph Kleberg, "Frank Fields v. The State," The Texas Criminal Reports, Volume 61, 1911

When the ecology of the environment is out of sorts (“anti-godlin” as my mountain neighbors might say, referring to anything that is out of balance or out of plumb or that goes against God and the laws of nature), we also see symptoms …

Thomas Rain Crowe, Zoro's Field: My Life in the Appalachian Woods, 2005
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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

blamestorming

[ bleym-stawr-ming ]

noun

the process of assigning blame for an outcome or situation.

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What is the origin of blamestorming?

Blamestorming was originally a colloquialism in American English, modeled on the much earlier (1907) brainstorming. Blamestorming entered English in the 1990s.

how is blamestorming used?

Unfortunately, the common behavior exhibited many businesses is to have a meeting “the morning after” for a “blamestorming” session. This is where the CEO or manager sits around with their team and figures out who is to blame for the company’s latest failure.

, "Are You a 'Blamestormer'?" Forbes, May 1, 2012

And as long as we’re blamestorming here, how about the developers who turned the Rollman property into McMansions in the early 1990s?

B. J. Foreman, "Herd Mentality," Cincinnati, September 2009
Monday, June 11, 2018

scrutator

[ skroo-tey-ter ]

noun

a person who investigates.

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What is the origin of scrutator?

English scrutator comes straight from the Latin noun scrūtātor “searcher (after something or someone hidden),” a derivative of the verb scrūtārī“ to probe, examine closely,” originally “to sort through rags.” Scrūtārī itself is a derivative of the (neuter plural) noun scrūta “discarded items, junk.” Scrutator entered English in the late 16th century.

how is scrutator used?

Mistrust, assuming the ascendency, commenced its regency, and the observations of so indefatigable and eagle eyed a scrutator produced a conviction of the blackest perfidy.

Judith Seargent Murray, "No. LXXVIII," The Gleaner: A Miscellaneous Production in Three Volumes, 1798

I did not find him to be a thinker, and much less a scrutator

Abbé Barruel, Memoirs, Illustrating the History of Jacobinism, translated by Robert Clifford, 1799
Sunday, June 10, 2018

sennight

[ sen-ahyt, -it ]

noun

Archaic. a week.

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What is the origin of sennight?

The archaic English noun sennight means literally “seven nights,” i.e. a week. The Old English form was seofan nihta; Middle English had very many forms, including soveniht, sevenight, seven nyght, sennyght.

how is sennight used?

It had taken them only a sennight to travel from Sentarshadeen … into the heart of the lost Lands to face the power of Shadow Mountain.

Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory, To Light a Candle, 2004

She that I spake of, our great captain’s captain, / Left in the conduct of the bold Iago, / Whose footing here anticipates our thoughts / A sennight‘s speed.

William Shakespeare, Othello, 1622
Saturday, June 09, 2018

congeries

[ kon-jeer-eez, kon-juh-reez ]

noun

a collection of items or parts in one mass; assemblage; aggregation; heap: From the airplane the town resembled a congeries of tiny boxes.

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What is the origin of congeries?

English congeries comes directly from the Latin noun congeriēs “collection, pile, heap,” a derivative of the verb congerere “to collect, amass.” Congeries is a singular noun in Latin as it has always been in English. In the mid-19th century a new singular arose in English, congery, a back formation from congeries. Congeries entered English in the 17th century.

how is congeries used?

… each bud has a leaf, which is its lungs, appropriated to it, and the bark of the tree is a congeries of the roots of these individual buds …

Erasmus Darwin, "The Loves of Plants," The Botanic Garden, 1791

He further emptied the valise, lifting out a queer-looking congeries of glass cells and coils to which the wire from the helmet was attached, and delivering a fire of running comment too technical for me to follow yet apparently quite plausible and straightforward.

Hazel Heald and H. P. Lovecraft, "The Horror in the Museum," Weird Tales, July 1933
Friday, June 08, 2018

bacciferous

[ bak-sif-er-uhs ]

adjective

Botany. bearing or producing berries.

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What is the origin of bacciferous?

The English adjective bacciferous “bearing berries” comes from Latin bacca (also bāca) “fruit of a shrub or tree, nut,” a word of unknown origin. The Latin suffix -fer “carrying, bearing” is from a very widespread Proto-Indo-European root bher- “to carry,” source of Germanic (English) bear, Greek phérein “to carry, bear,” and Slavic (Polish) bierać “to carry.” Bacciferous entered English in the 17th century.

how is bacciferous used?

Bacciferous trees, are such as bear berries; as the juniper and yew-tree.

Charlotte Matilda Hunt, The Little World of Knowledge, 1826

The rays of the sun are essential to the proper development of all fruits, yet some, especially the bacciferous, demand a certain amount of shade in Summer and protection in Winter …

E. Daggy, "Douglas County Horticultural Society," Transactions of the Illinois State Horticultural Society, Volume II, 1869
Thursday, June 07, 2018

Disneyfy

[ diz-nee-fahy, -ni- ]

verb

to create or alter in a simplified, sentimentalized, or contrived form or manner: museums that have become Disneyfied to attract more visitors.

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What is the origin of Disneyfy?

Disneyfy is an Americanism formed from the name of Walt Disney, the cartoonist and moviemaker (1901-66), and the familiar verb suffix -fy. Disneyfy entered English in the second half of the 20th century.

how is Disneyfy used?

In North America we tend to Disneyfy the past into this sugar-coated nostalgia product, all bonnets and merry sleigh rides …

Emma Donoghue, Landing, 2007

… Dad says you have to look at animals as they are, not Disney-fy them.

Rosamund Lupton, The Quality of Silence, 2015

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