Word of the Day

Word of the day

Thursday, September 30, 2021

aureate

[ awr-ee-it, -eyt ]

adjective

golden or gilded.

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What is the origin of aureate?

Aureate “golden or gilded” comes from Latin aureus “golden,” from aurum “gold.” The further etymology of aurum is uncertain, but there are two competing theories—one with a phonological similarity that lacks a semantic resemblance and the other with a semantic similarity that lacks a phonological resemblance. Aurum may be connected to aurōra “dawn,” from a Proto-Indo-European root, ausōs-, of the same meaning, from the root aus- “to shine”; the definition would have shifted from “shining thing” to “gold.” If this theory were true, aurum would be related to Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn known for her rosy-tipped fingers, as well as to east and Easter, originally a Germanic goddess of springtime. An alternative theory connects aurum to aes “brass, bronze, copper,” from the Proto-Indo-European root ayos- “metal,” which is also the source of English ore. Aureate was first recorded in English in the early 1400s.

how is aureate used?

Still now, on those hot summer days when the sun lacquers Manhattan storefronts into something aureate and amber-rich, when the air is impenetrable, blistered, and rank, and when brick tenements on Ludlow evoke whatever decade speaks to your nostalgia, my brother’s copy of Paul’s Boutique comes to mind.

Durga Chew-Bose, “Heart Museum,” Too Much and Not the Mood: Essays, 2017

Though Frost maintained that “nothing gold can stay,” some goodness remains, the play concludes. But the poet may have been right after all; whatever small measure of aureate glimmer and substance here is, ultimately, fleeting.

Maya Phillips, "Review: Stuck in Maine in ‘Nothing Gold Can Stay,’" New York Times, October 9, 2019

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Word of the day

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

cordial

[ kawr-juhl ]

adjective

courteous and gracious.

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What is the origin of cordial?

Cordial “courteous and gracious” derives via Middle English from Medieval Latin cordiālis, from Latin cor (stem cordi-) “heart” and the adjectival suffix -ālis. Cor survives today in English terms such as accord, concord, discord, and record, which were borrowed directly from Latin, and courage, which was borrowed from French. The Proto-Indo-European root that gave rise to cor is kerd- “heart,” which is also the source of English heart and Ancient Greek kardía (as found in cardiac and cardiovascular). Cordial was first recorded in English in the late 1300s.

how is cordial used?

When I met him, I realized that Dyson is probably the most approachable and modest scientist I have met. … He is pointedly opinionated but also consummately cordial …. Discussions about science were punctuated by warm reminiscences about colleagues and fond stories about his grandchildren.

Ashutosh Jogalekar, “#Dysonfest: Celebrating Freeman Dyson’s 90th birthday,” Scientific American, September 24, 2013

I had been counting on this day to ask Mrs. Ford about living in and running the White House, and I didn’t think I would be back in Washington before the inauguration. Then the telephone rang again …. I was off to the White House. Mrs. Ford wasn’t well that afternoon and our visit was brief, but cordial.

Rosalynn Carter, First Lady from Plains, 1984

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Word of the day

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

rout

[ rout ]

noun

a defeat attended with disorderly flight; dispersal of a defeated force in complete disorder.

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What is the origin of rout?

Rout “a defeat attended with disorderly flight” derives via Anglo-French from Old French route “fraction, detachment,” from Latin rupta “(having been) broken.” Rupta is the feminine past participle of the verb rumpere (stem rupt-) “to break,” which is the source of words such as abrupt, interrupt, erupt, and bankrupt. The Latin phrase rupta via “broken road” is the ultimate source of route, a type of roadway or course. Rumpere derives from the Proto-Indo-European root reup- “to break; snatch.” Rout was first recorded in English in the early 1200s.

how is rout used?

At first, the rout was slow, and as many men died trying to get away as pressed forward from behind. The Mongols fired methodically at anything they could see. The officers went down quickly and Kachiun shouted wildly as he saw the rout spread. Those who had not come near the front ranks were knocked aside and infected by fear and blood.

Conn Iggulden, Genghis: Lords of the Bow, 2008

They entered a crowded long room just as a man was saying, “It was a clear defeat for our army, but it wasn’t a rout. Retired in good order, they did.” “And still between the British and Philadelphia,” another assured the audience.

John Conradis, A Vagabond Army: A Novel of Maryland in the American Revolution, Vol. 2, 2008

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