Word of the Day

Monday, November 05, 2018

bewhiskered

[ bih-hwis-kerd, -wis- ]

adjective

ancient, as a witticism, expression, etc.; passé; hoary: a bewhiskered catchword of a bygone era.

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What is the origin of bewhiskered?

Bewhiskered is first recorded in 1755–65. It combines be-, a prefix used in the formation of verbs, with whiskered.

how is bewhiskered used?

That bewhiskered saying that “pride goeth before a fall” is true only in the case of ignorant people, says The International Lifeman.

, "Stick Up Your Chin," The Spectator: Life Insurance Supplement, January 7, 1915

Good things come in small packages. … This wrinkled and bewhiskered expression haunts our editorial vision when we pause to contemplate the career of a life, progressive citizen of the gopher state, a man small in stature but big in brain.

, "Sidelights on Men in the Trade," Domestice Engineering, October 3, 1914
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Sunday, November 04, 2018

fillip

[ fil-uhp ]

noun

anything that tends to rouse, excite, or revive; a stimulus: Praise is an excellent fillip for waning ambition.

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What is the origin of fillip?

Fillip is imitative, or onomatopoeic, in origin. Earlier forms include filip, fylippe, philip, and phillip. Fillip looks like a variant of flip, but flip is first recorded in the late 17th century, whereas fillip dates from the 16th.

how is fillip used?

It is so pleasant to receive a fillip of excitement when suffering from the dull routine of everyday life!

Anthony Trollope, Barchester Towers, 1857

His ordinary government allowance of spirits, one gill per diem, is not enough to give a sufficient fillip to his listless senses …

Herman Melville, White-Jacket; or, The World in a Man-of-War, 1850
Saturday, November 03, 2018

grumphie

[ gruhm-fee, groom-pee ]

noun

Chiefly Scot. a familiar name for a pig.

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What is the origin of grumphie?

Grumphie is an exclusively Scottish word, first used by Robert Burns (1759-96). Grumphie is formed from the verb grumph “to grunt” and is imitative of the typical sound pigs and some humans make. The suffix -ie is a spelling variant of -y, one of whose functions is to form endearing or familiar names like Billy, doggy (doggie), and sweetie. Grumphie entered English in the late 18th century.

how is grumphie used?

Grumphie smells the weather, / An’ grumphie sees the wun’; / He kens when clouds will gather, / An’ smoor the blinikin’ sun.” This extravagant tribute to the pig as a weather prophet is typical of a large number of proverbs, though, perhaps no other animal has been credited with actually seeing the wind.

W. J. Humphreys, "Some Weather Proverbs and Their Justification," The Popular Science Monthly, January 1911

If ye’re proud to be a grumphie clap yer trotters!

Alastair D. McIver, Glasgow Fairytale, 2010

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