Word of the Day

Monday, October 22, 2018

barnstorm

[ bahrn-stawrm ]

verb

to conduct a campaign or speaking tour in rural areas by making brief stops in many small towns.

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What is the origin of barnstorm?

The original sense of barnstorm, the theater sense, “to tour small towns and rural areas (often in barns),” dates from the second half of the 19th century. The political or campaigning sense “to conduct a speaking tour in rural areas by making brief stops in small towns,” and the professional sports sense “to tour an area playing exhibition games after the regular season” date from the end of the 19th century. The flying or piloting sense “to give exhibitions of stunt flying, participate in airplane races, etc., while touring country towns and rural areas” dates from the first half of the 20th century.

how is barnstorm used?

President Trump and Vice President Pence are barnstorming swing states with 68 days to go before the midterm elections.

Jonathan Easley and Alexis Simendinger, "The Hill's Morning Report -- Trump, Pence barnstorm swing states," The Hill, August 30, 2018

… Mr. Frotman barnstormed the country to encourage state officials to scrutinize the companies that are contracted by the department to manage the loan portfolio, collect debt from students and work out payment plans with delinquent borrowers.

Glenn Thrush, "After Scaling Back Student Loan Regulations, Administration Tries to Stop State Efforts," New York Times, September 6, 2018
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Sunday, October 21, 2018

humdinger

[ huhm-ding-er ]

noun

Informal. a person, thing, action, or statement of remarkable excellence or effect.

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What is the origin of humdinger?

The origin of humdinger is speculative. It was originally American slang, first appearing in print at the beginning of the 20th century and in British English about 1926.

how is humdinger used?

… Beethoven gave the Viennese a humdinger, something to make them sit up and take notice.

Michael Steinberg, The Concerto: A Listener's Guide, 1998

Streep, whose speeches are perfect, delivered a humdinger of a tribute to Emma Thompson, who was receiving the best-actress honor, for “Saving Mr. Banks.”

Michael Schulman, "Meryl Streep Pokes Back at Male Hollywood," The New Yorker, January 9, 2014
Saturday, October 20, 2018

single-hearted

[ sing-guhl-hahr-tid ]

adjective

sincere and undivided in feeling or spirit; dedicated; not reflecting mixed emotions: He was single-hearted in his patriotism.

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What is the origin of single-hearted?

Single-hearted was first recorded in 1570–80.

how is single-hearted used?

Whatever becomes of me, I shall remember always this single-hearted devotion of yours, Margaret, and I shall thank God that I know of it and love you for it.

Edward Boltwood, "The Touchstone," The Smart Set, May 1910

… one gets what one goes after with single-hearted purpose, but otherwise not.

Anya Seton, The Turquoise, 1946

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