Word of the Day

Friday, September 28, 2018

applesauce

[ ap-uhl-saws ]

noun

Slang. nonsense; bunk.

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What is the origin of applesauce?

Applesauce is a straightforward compound noun. The original sense is first recorded in the 17th century. The American slang term first appears in Ring Lardner (1885–1933) and then in the novel Appointment in Samarra (1934) by John O’Hara (1905–70).

how is applesauce used?

Nonsense! Fiddlesticks! Baloney! Phoo! Poo! Poppycock! Bah! Twaddle! Don’t be silly! My eye! In your hat! That’s pure applesauce!

Dean Koontz, Life Expectancy, 2004

The opinion offers several new candidates for a master list of Scalia’s best turns-of-phrase, which should be published as a book as far as we are concerned. One example: the majority’s reasoning? “Pure applesauce,” he wrote.

Elise Viebeck, "Scalia on King ruling: 'Pure applesauce'," Washington Post, June 25, 2015
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Thursday, September 27, 2018

gnathonic

[ na-thon-ik ]

adjective

sycophantic; fawning.

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What is the origin of gnathonic?

The English adjective gnathonic comes from Latin gnathōnicus, an adjective derivative of Gnathō (inflectional stem Gnathōn-), the name of a sycophant and parasite in Eunuchus, a comedy by the Latin playwright Terence (Publius Terentius Afer, c190–c159 b.c.). Terence also coined the derivative plural noun Gnathōnicī “disciples of Gnatho” as a comic general term for sycophants and parasites. Gnathonic entered English in the 17th century.

how is gnathonic used?

That Jack’s is somewhat of a gnathonic and parasitic soul, or stomach, all Bideford apple-women know …

Charles Kingsley, Westward Ho!, 1855

… Pandarus is not unlike familiar gnathonic persons who attach themselves to their betters, as he does both in his defense of Paris ad in his eagerness to satisfy the appetities [sic] of his prince.

D. W. Robertson Jr., "The Probable Date and Purpose of Chaucer's Troilus," Medievalia et Humanistica, No. 13, 1985
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

blellum

[ blel-uhm ]

noun

Scot. Obsolete. an idle, indiscreet talker.

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What is the origin of blellum?

Not only does blellum not have an etymology, it has very few citations. One of which is in the poem Tam o’Shanter (1790) by Robert Burns (1759–96); so it’s a keeper.

how is blellum used?

A blethering, blustering, drunken blellum

Robert Burns, "Tam o' Shanter," The Edinburgh Herald, March 18, 1791

How was ye to foresee that Mr. Manners was a blellum?

Winston Churchill, Richard Carvel, 1899

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