Word of the Day

Word of the day

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

avgolemono

[ ahv-goh-lem-uh-noh ]

noun

a soup or sauce made with beaten eggs, lemon juice, and usually chicken broth.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of avgolemono?

Avgolemono “a soup made with beaten eggs, lemon juice, and chicken broth” is a loanword from Modern Greek augolémono, literally meaning “egg lemon.” Through a series of regular yet dramatic sound changes, Modern Greek augó derives from classical Greek ōión “egg,” which is the source of the combining form oo- (as in oocyte “immature egg cell”) and is distantly related to English egg and Latin ovum (as in ovary and, via Spanish, in huevos rancheros). Modern Greek lemóni, bucking the common trend of Greek words exported to the Italian peninsula, is a borrowing from Italian limone and ultimately derives from Persian līmū; from here, the word may have traveled through India and originated in Southeast Asia, perhaps in the Austronesian language family. Avgolemono was first recorded in English in the early 1960s.

how is avgolemono used?

Avgolemono is the most famous Greek sauce, named for its indispensable ingredients, avgo (egg) and lemoni (lemon). Light in color and of the prized lemony flavor, it is prepared with or without a roux base. But egg, lemon juice, and hot stock or broth from the dish for which it is being prepared are necessities .… Some Greek villagers, when adding the avgolemono to soup or dish, make a kissing sound, a magical trick to keep the egg from curdling.

Vilma Chantiles, Food of Greece: Cooking, Folkways, and Travel in the Mainland and Islands of Greece, 1975

“How do you like the avgolemono?” Mrs. Redbone asks Wakefield. “They say it was first served at the table of Aristophanes after he wrote a play about the meeting of a chicken and a lemon.” “That’s lovely,” interjects Persephone. “I thought it was first served at the Greek diner on Twenty-third Street where I first had it.” Avgolemono is a lovely soup, light, pale as the crest of a wave, filled with sun, the rice like grains of sand on the beach at Kios. I must be getting soft, thinks Wakefield: I’m making soup metaphors. I’ve got to toughen up.

Andrei Codrescu, Wakefield, 2004

Listen to the podcast

avgolemono

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00
quiz icon
WHAT'S YOUR WORD IQ?
Think you're a word wizard? Try our word quiz, and prove it!
TAKE THE QUIZ
arrows pointing up and down
SYNONYM OF THE DAY
Double your word knowledge with the Synonym of the Day!
SEE TODAY'S SYNONYM
Word of the Day Calendar

Word of the day

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

ostracize

[ os-truh-sahyz ]

verb (used with object)

to exclude, by general consent, from society, friendship, conversation, privileges, etc.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of ostracize?

Ostracize “to exclude from society” derives from Ancient Greek ostrakízein “to banish,” from óstrakon “potsherd, tile, ballot” and the verbal suffix -izein “-ize.” The original sense of ostrakízein involved banishing a person by voting that was conducted by using potsherds as ballots, hence the verb’s derivation. Though ostracize resembles ostrich, the flightless bird, in spelling and pronunciation, the two words are unrelated; instead, ostracize descends from a Proto-Indo-European root meaning “bone” that is also found in osteoporosis, a common bone disease; oyster, because of the hardness of the shell; and, from Latin, the adjective osseous “bony.” Ostracize was first recorded in English in the 1640s.

how is ostracize used?

Frida was confined to her bed for nine months—an eternity for an active six-year-old. Her father tended to her with care, and when she was finally given the go-ahead to return to school, Guillermo prescribed sports. Frida excelled in soccer, swimming, roller-skating, and boxing. She grew stronger, but her right leg remained puny and withered. She was ostracized at school for her “peg leg.” To help compensate for her loneliness, her father, who believed her to be the most like him of all his daughters … gave her books from his library and taught her how to take and develop photographs.

Karen Karbo, “The inconvenient spectacle of Frida Kahlo,” National Geographic, January 4, 2019

The ballot is the scepter of power in the hand of every citizen. Woman can never have an equal chance with man in the struggle of life until she too wields this power. So long as women have no voice in the Government under which they live they will be an ostracised [sic] class, and invidious distinctions will be made against them in the world of work. Thrown on their own resources they have all the hardships that men have to encounter in earning their daily bread, with the added disabilities which grow out of disfranchisement.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, “Self-Government the Best Means of Self-Development,” 1884, as quoted in The History of Woman Suffrage, Vol. 4, 1902

Listen to the podcast

ostracize

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00
Word of the Day Calendar

Word of the day

Monday, November 15, 2021

pampero

[ pahm-pair-oh, pam- ]

noun

a cold and dry southwesterly wind that sweeps down over the pampas of Argentina from the Andes.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of pampero?

Pampero “a cold and dry southwesterly wind in Argentina” is a direct borrowing from Latin American Spanish, in which the term literally means “of the pampas.” Pampas are the vast grassy plains typical of southern South America that are especially common in Argentina, and pampa is a loanword from Quechua, in which it means “flat, unbounded plain.” Quechua is native to the Andes Mountains and is spoken to this day by millions of people in Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru, and although this dialect continuum is most often associated with the Incan Empire, the Inca were one of many Quechuan-speaking groups. Pampero was first recorded in English in the 1810s.

how is pampero used?

The pampero, dreaded on shore as well as at sea, blows with tremendous force across this region. There is not a cloud in the sky. The night may be perfectly calm. Mosquitoes in vast numbers are busy with their sharp stings. Suddenly a rustling in the woods may be heard afar off. The noise increases into a dull roar. Clouds appear above the horizon. Still all is calm. The mosquitoes vanish. The dogs are howling in anticipation of danger. As if by magic, dark masses of clouds cover the heavens like a curtain. They are rent asunder, thunder roars, lightning flashes, and the wind, like an army of wild beasts, rushes on.

W. H. G. Kingston, The Western World, 1874

When the heat is at the greatest, a pampero suddenly comes, with its accompaniment of rain, thunder and lightning, and cools the air. Pampero winds from the W. and W.S.W. with nothing to impede their progress across the extended Pampas, blow with great violence, raising clouds of dust, and obliging every one to close windows and doors. Being off the land, they are not dangerous to shipping; though vessels at the mouth of the river have been blown in sea hundreds of miles, by a Pampero.

George Thomas Love, A Five Years’ Residence in Buenos Ayres During the Years 1820 to 1825, 1825

Listen to the podcast

pampero

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00
Word of the Day Calendar

Get A Vocabulary Boost In Your Inbox

Get the Word of the Day in your inbox every day!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Word of the Day Calendar