Word of the Day

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

aroint

[ uh-roint ]

verb (imperative)

Obsolete.

begone: Aroint thee, varlet!

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What is the origin of aroint?

The obsolete imperative verb or exclamation aroint! or aroint thee! means “begone!” Aroint has no convincing or even plausible etymology. The phrase Aroint thee, witch! first appears in Shakespeare’s King Lear and Macbeth. Aroint thee, witch! next appears in the works of the Scottish author and antiquarian Sir Walter Scott in 1816.

how is aroint used?

Aroynt thee, Witch, the rumpe-fed Ronyon cryes.

William Shakespeare, Macbeth, 1623

“Well, my power has not reached its height, but I am still strong enough to deal with you. Aroint ye!” She pointed the ivory cain at Mrs. Zimmerman. Nothing happened.

John Bellairs, The House With a Clock In Its Walls, 1973

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Monday, August 24, 2020

juberous

[ joo-ber-uhs ]

adjective

uncertain and reluctant; dubious; undecided: I was feeling mighty juberous about crossing that bridge.

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What is the origin of juberous?

The adjective juberous “uncertain, hesitant, reluctant” is supposedly a regionalism of the American Midwest—Indiana, in particular. Juberous is most likely a humorous alteration of dubious. It first occurs in The Hoosier School-Master (1871) by the American author and Methodist clergyman Edward Eggleston.

how is juberous used?

Tell you the truth, I been juberous about that loan proposition ever since Thad put his name to it.

Wendell Berry, "Pray Without Ceasing," The Southern Review, Autumn 1992

I’m kind of juberous about letting you go at it; but maybe, if your sister looked after you, you could do a good job.

Raymond Knister, White Narcissus, 1929

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Sunday, August 23, 2020

inanition

[ in-uh-nish-uhn ]

noun

lack of vigor; lethargy.

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What is the origin of inanition?

Inanition, “exhaustion from lack of food, starvation; lethargy,” comes from Middle English inanicioun, inanisioun, which has a somewhat different meaning, “pathological emptiness of blood, humors, and fluids.” Inanicioun in turn comes from Late Latin inānitiō (stem inānitiōn-) “emptiness,” ultimately a derivative of the adjective inānis “empty, void, hungry.” In medical usage, Late Latin inānitiō and Middle English inanicioun are frequently combined (or contrasted) with replētiō (Latin) and Middle English replecioun, repleccioun, replesioun, “overindulgence in food or drink, satiety; fullness or a pathological fullness of blood and humors.” Inanition entered English at the end of the 14th century.

how is inanition used?

Sparky is never going to amount to anything. He hasn’t been practicing, and now, rather than face the consequences of his inanition, he is going to cheat.

Errol Morris, "The Pianist and the Lobster," New York Times, June 21, 2019

There are a pair of weeping willows in the churchyard, very often rapturously astream in the wind, but which, on a hot, calm day, hang there for a moment in a gust of sudden awful inanition, like the stillness between two beats of one’s heart.

J. R. Salamanca, Southern Light, 1986

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