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    Tuesday, April 23, 2019

    bardolatry

    noun [bahr-dol-uh-tree]
    great or excessive adoration of or reverence for William Shakespeare: I crossed the line into bardolatry halfway through my thesis on the psyche of Lady Macbeth.
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    What is the origin of bardolatry?

    Bardolatry, an excessive devotion to “the Bard” (William Shakespeare), is a combination of bard, from common Celtic bardos (Old Irish bard, Welsh bardd), and the combining form -latry, from Greek latreía “service, worship.” Bardolatry was coined by George Bernard Shaw in 1901.

    How is bardolatry used?

    So much for Bardolatry! George Bernard Shaw, "Better Than Shakespear?" Three Plays for Puritans, 1901

    ... a fellow who'd been sizing up Aaron's Bardolatry credentials had boasted that he himself had disproven all three leading theories about the identities of Shakespeare's Dark Lady and Fair Youth, and would soon be the one to unearth the true identities of Shakespeare's female and male paramours. Rachel Kadish, The Weight of Ink, 2017

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  • Word of the day
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    Monday, April 22, 2019

    Anthropocene

    noun [an-thruh-puh-seen, an-throp-uh‐] Geology.
    a proposed epoch of the present time, occurring since mid-20th century, when human activity began to effect significant environmental consequences, specifically on ecosystems and climate.
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    What is the origin of Anthropocene?

    Anthropocene is a compound of Greek ánthrōpos “human being, man (as opposed to an animal or a god)” and the English combining form -cene, which was extracted from words like Miocene, Pliocene, and Oligocene, names of geological strata and epochs. The combining form -cene ultimately comes from the Greek adjective kainós “new, recent”; it was coined by the English geologist Sir Charles Lyell (1797–1875). Anthropocene entered English in the 20th century.

    How is Anthropocene used?

    He proposed that humans had so throughly altered the fundamental processes of the planet—through agriculture, climate change, and nuclear testing, and other phenomena—that a new geological epoch had commenced: the Anthropocene, the age of humans. Robinson Meyer, "Geology's Timekeepers Are Feuding," The Atlantic, July 20, 2018

    The meetings addressed ideas including how to accessibly present complex data, and grappled with many aspects of life in the Anthropocene age—today’s geological era, marked by human domination of the environment. Kimberly Bradley, "The End Is Nigh. Can Design Save Us?" New York Times, March 20, 2019

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  • Word of the day
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    Sunday, April 21, 2019

    Easter egg

    noun [ee-ster eg]
    a hidden message, as a cryptic reference, iconic image, or inside joke, that fans are intended to discover in a television show or movie.
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    What is the origin of Easter egg?

    Easter egg, in the sense “a hidden message, reference, or inside joke that fans are intended to discover in a piece of software, television show, or movie,” is meant to invoke the traditional Easter egg hunt and dates from the mid-1980s. The original sense of Easter egg dates from the 16th century.

    How is Easter egg used?

    Peele, who also wrote the film, also packed his film with funny, bizarre, and meaningful Easter eggs and references. Yohana Desta, "5 Chilling Things You Didn't Notice About Get Out the First Time Around," Vanity Fair, March 6, 2017

    Wade is one of the many, likely millions, who take part in a new game for earnest stakes: a competition to find three Easter eggs, or embedded tricks, in a virtual game. Richard Brody, "Steven Spielberg's Oblivious, Chilling Pop-Culture Nostalgia in 'Ready Player One'," The New Yorker, April 2, 2018

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  • Word of the day
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    Saturday, April 20, 2019

    exodus

    noun [ek-suh-duhs]
    a going out; a departure or emigration, usually of a large number of people: the summer exodus to the country and shore.
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    What is the origin of exodus?

    Exodus dates from Old English times: the English abbot and scholar Aelfric Grammaticus (“Aelfric the Grammarian,” c955–c1020) writes the sentence sēo ōther bōc is Exodus gehāten “The second book (of the Bible) is called Exodus.” The Old English noun comes straight from Latin Latin exodus, a direct borrowing of Greek éxodos “a going out, a march, military expedition.” Éxodos is the Greek title, not a translation, of the opening words of the Hebrew text, wě ʾēlleh shěmōth “And these (are) the names.”

    How is exodus used?

    The California exodus has been far more significant in the more lightly populated states of the West, where people born in California now represent a huge share of the population. Nate Cohn, "The California Exodus," New York Times, August 14, 2014

    Signs point to an exodus. A study published earlier this month suggests that senior civil servants leave in droves during the first year of a new administration. Andrew McGill, "The Coming Exodus of Career Civil Servants," The Atlantic, December 28, 2016

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  • Word of the day
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    Friday, April 19, 2019

    yealing

    noun [yee-lin] Scot.
    a person of the same age as oneself.
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    What is the origin of yealing?

    Yealing “a contemporary, a coeval” is a word of uncertain etymology, used by only three Scottish poets: Allan Ramsay (1686–1758), Robert Burns (1759–1796), and Robert Couper (1750–1818). Yealing entered English in the 18th century.

    How is yealing used?

    Oh ye, my dear-remember'd ancient yealings, / Were ye but here to share my wounded feelings! Robert Burns, "The Brigs of Ayr," Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, Edinburgh Edition, 1787

    His bonny, various, yeelin' frien's / Cam a' in bourrochs there .... Robert Couper, "Macguldrochiana," Poetry Chiefly in the Scottish Language, 1804

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  • Word of the day
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    Thursday, April 18, 2019

    facultative

    adjective [fak-uhl-tey-tiv]
    left to one's option or choice; optional: The last questions in the examination were facultative.
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    What is the origin of facultative?

    The adjective facultative comes via the French adjective facultatif (masculine), facultative (feminine) “conveying or granting a right or power,” from the noun faculté “knowledge, learning, physical or moral capacity." French faculté is ultimately from Latin facultāt-, the stem of facultās “ability, power, capacity” (originally a doublet of the noun facilitās “ease, ease of performance or completion, facility”). The French adjective suffix -atif, -ative comes from the Latin suffix -ātivus; the English suffix -ative comes from both French and Latin. Facultative entered English in the 19th century.

    How is facultative used?

    I cannot but be conscious, when this toast of "Science and Literature" is given, that in what tends to become the popular view it is Sir William Grove and Science who are obligatory; it is I and Literature who are facultative. Matthew Arnold, "Banquet at the Royal Academy," The Times, May 2, 1881

    From the facultative point of view, Poe thinks of poetry as a rhythmic and musical use of language which is the province of Taste alone, and which aspires to Beauty. Richard Wilbur, "Terror Wasn't His Only Talent," New York Times, September 9, 1984

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  • Word of the day
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    Wednesday, April 17, 2019

    lese majesty

    noun [leez maj-uh-stee, lez]
    an attack on any custom, institution, belief, etc., held sacred or revered by numbers of people: Her speech against Mother's Day was criticized as lese majesty.
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    What is the origin of lese majesty?

    It is not very often that there is a transparent connection between French (and English) and Latin, but lese majesty is such a term. In modern French the term is lèse-majesté, from Middle French laise majeste “a crime against the king, treason.” The French forms derive from Latin laesa mājestās “injured majesty (of the sovereign people, state, or emperor).” Laesa is the past participle of the verb laedere “to hurt, harm” (of uncertain etymology); mājestās is a derivative of the comparative adjective major “greater, larger, bigger.” Lese majesty entered English in the 15th century.

    How is lese majesty used?

    At the risk of lese-majesty, it [Windsor Castle] reminded me of a toy castle, part Disney, part Austrian schloss. Nick Glass, "St. George's Chapel: The historic venue where Harry and Meghan are getting married," CNN, May 3, 2018

    ... his father was in jail for lese majesty—what you call speaking the truth about the Emperor. Jack London, The Iron Heel, 1907

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