Word of the Day

Monday, July 13, 2020

bellicose

[ bel-i-kohs ]

adjective

inclined or eager to fight; aggressively hostile; belligerent; pugnacious.

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What is the origin of bellicose?

Bellicose comes directly from Latin bellicōsus “warlike, fond of war,” ultimately from the noun bellum “war, warfare” and the adjective suffix –ōsus “full of, abounding in,” the source, via Anglo French and Old French, of the English suffixes –ose and –ous. The usual classical form bellum comes from preclassical duellum (the further origin of the noun is unknown), which remained in classical Latin as a poetic and archaic variant of bellum. Duellum in Vulgar and Medieval Latin developed the sense “an arranged combat between two people, according to a code of procedure,” English duel, from a mistaken etymological connection with duo “two.” Bellicose entered English in the second half of the 15th century.

how is bellicose used?

I was always inappropriately dressed, and inappropriately calibrated in tone: In one instance, I was too deferential; in another, too bellicose

Ta-Nehisi Coates, "My President Was Black," The Atlantic, January/February 2017 

Although North Korea has often sounded incorrigibly bellicose, it has proved​ to be a shrewd ​strategist capable of judging when to throttle up the tensions and when to pull back on them.

, "For North Korea, Blowing Hot and Cold Is Part of the Strategy," New York Times, June 24, 2020

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Sunday, July 12, 2020

rhathymia

[ ruh-thahy-mee-uh ]

noun

carefree behavior; light-heartedness.

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What is the origin of rhathymia?

Rhathymia “carefree behavior, lightheartedness” comes straight from Greek rhāthȳmía (also rhāithȳmía, rhāḯthȳmía) “easiness of temper, taking things easy.” Rhāthȳmía is a derivative of the adjective rhā́ithȳmos “easygoing, good-tempered,” but also “frivolous; indifferent, slack.” The first part of rhāthȳmía is the adverb rhã, rhéa, rheīa “easily, lightly” (its further etymology is unknown). The second element of rhāthȳmía is a derivative of the noun thȳmós “soul, spirit, mind, life, breath.” The combining form of thȳmós, –thȳmía, is used in English in the formation of compound nouns denoting mental disorders, such as dysthymia, alexithymia, and cyclothymia. Rhathymia entered English in the first half of the 20th century.

how is rhathymia used?

Rhathymia is the preferred mode of presentation of the self.

Donald Barthelme, "Paraguay," The New Yorker, September 6, 1969

From this sprang slackness, rhathymia, long delays in reaching decisions or paying out salaries, and downright callousness in ignoring positive distress.

E. G. Turner, "Ptolemaic Egypt," The Cambridge Ancient History, Vol. 7, Part 1, 2nd ed., 1984

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Saturday, July 11, 2020

ductile

[ duhk-tl, -til ]

adjective

capable of being molded or shaped; plastic.

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What is the origin of ductile?

The adjective ductile, “capable of being molded or shaped; plastic,” comes from Middle English ductil, “beaten out or shaped with a hammer,” from Old French ductile or Latin ductilis, “capable of being led along a course; malleable, ductile.” Ductilis is a derivative of duct-, the past participle stem of the verb dūcere “to draw along with, conduct, lead,” one of the verb’s dozens of meanings being the relatively rare “to model or mold material; draw out (metal) into wire.” In modern technical usage, ductile is restricted to “capable of being drawn out into wire or threads,” a quality of the noble metals such as silver and gold; malleable in technical usage covers the sense “capable of being hammered or rolled out into thin sheets,” another quality of the noble metals. Ductile entered English in the 14th century.

how is ductile used?

Ductile and sensuous, paint hugs the flat photographic forms of Leiter’s nudes in a tailor-made mantle.

Mona Gainer-Salim, "Saul Leiter's Painted Nudes," The New Yorker, May 19, 2015

she cheerfully proposed reading; complied with the first request that was made her to play upon the piano-forte and the harp; and even, to sing; though, not so promptly; for her voice and sensibility were less ductile than her manners.

Frances Burney, The Wanderer; or, Female Difficulties, 1814

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