Word of the Day

Sunday, February 11, 2018

berceuse

[ French ber-sœz ]

noun

Music. a cradlesong; lullaby.

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What is the origin of berceuse?

Berceuse, not yet naturalized in English, still retains its French pronunciation or a semblance of it. Berceuse is an agent noun in French, meaning “girl or woman who rocks a cradle, lullaby,” the feminine of berceur “a cradle rocker.” In English, berceuse is restricted to “lullaby,” especially as a musical composition in 6/8 time, as, e.g., “Brahms’ Lullaby.” Berceuse entered English in the 19th century.

how is berceuse used?

The berceuse is so soothing, it ought to send your husband to sleep …

A. R. Goring-Thomas, Wayward Feet, 1912

I love soft songs that soothe me–something cradle-like–a Berceuse, you understand.

Fergus Hume, The Man with a Secret, 1890
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Saturday, February 10, 2018

fiddle-footed

[ fid-l-foo t-id ]

adjective

Informal. restlessly wandering.

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What is the origin of fiddle-footed?

Fiddle-footed was first recorded in 1945-50.

how is fiddle-footed used?

Instead, they just kept moving, a pair of fiddle-footed ramblers, following the wind, until that drifting brought them out here.

Robert Coover, Ghost Town, 1998

Being fiddle-footed was its own peculiar blessing and curse at the same time.

Jon Sharpe, The Trailsman #290: Mountain Mavericks, 2005
Friday, February 09, 2018

intersectionality

[ in-ter-sek-shuh-nal-i-tee ]

noun

the theory that the overlap of various social identities, as race, gender, sexuality, and class, contributes to the specific type ofsystemic oppression and discrimination experienced by an individual (often used attributively): Her paper uses a queer intersectionality approach.

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What is the origin of intersectionality?

Intersectionality was coined by legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw. It entered English in 1989.

how is intersectionality used?

Intersectionality tells us that there is no one singular experience for women because of the way gender works in conjunction with race, ethnicity, social class, and sexuality.

Anna Diamond, "Making the Invisible Visible," Slate, September 3, 2015

… flippant or vague references to “intersectionality” abound and can serve to obscure a profound critique of deeply entrenched cognitive habits that inform feminist and antiracist thinking about oppression and privilege.

Anna Carastathis, Intersectionality: Origins, Contestations, Horizons, 2016

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