Word of the Day

Saturday, April 24, 2021

bibliopole

[ bib-lee-uh-pohl ]

noun

a bookseller, especially a dealer in rare or used books.

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What is the origin of bibliopole?

Bibliopole is not a misspelling of bibliophile: It is a legitimate word meaning “bookseller (especially of used or rare books),” from Latin bibliopōla from Greek bibliopṓlēs, a compound of biblio-, the combining form of biblíon “book,” and naturalized in English in Bible, bibliography, bibliophile, etc. The Greek combining form –pṓlēs “seller,” occurs only in compound nouns and is a derivative of the verb pōleîn “to offer for sale, sell.” Bibliopole entered English in the early 18th century.

how is bibliopole used?

I have seen a Wilshire clothier who gives his bookseller no other instructions than the dimensions of his shelves; and have just heard of a Liverpool merchant who is fitting up a library, and has told his bibliopole to send him Shakespeare, Milton, and Pope, and if any of those fellows should publish anything new to let him have it immediately.

Henry Curwen, A History of Booksellers, 1874

Rare-book dealers and collectors had mixed feelings about the record costs. “The Snopeses are in the market,” grumbled one bibliopole, as agents for wealthy clients pushed prices to new highs.

"The New Literary Appreciation," Time, April 25, 1977

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Friday, April 23, 2021

versal

[ vur-suhl ]

adjective

universal or whole.

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What is the origin of versal?

The adjective versal, “universal; whole,” is a colloquial shortening of universal. But versal achieved respectability because of its first appearance, in Romeo and Juliet (written about 1591–96), when the Nurse tells Romeo that whenever she tells Juliet that Count Paris wants to marry Juliet, Juliet “lookes as pale as any clout [rag, dishrag] in the versall world.”

how is versal used?

I anger her sometimes, and tell her that Paris is the properer man, but Ile warrant you, when I say so, shee lookes as pale as any clout in the versall world.

William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, 1599

What else in the ‘versal world have you to do, but to go basking about in the yards and places with your tankard in your hand, from morning to night?

Maria Edgeworth, "Eton Montem," The Parent's Assistant, 1796

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versal

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Thursday, April 22, 2021

sustainability

[ suh-stey-nuh-bil-i-tee ]

noun

the quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance.

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What is the origin of sustainability?

Sustainability, now most commonly meaning “the quality of not depleting natural resources,” is a transparent compound of the adjective sustainable “able to be supported or maintained,” and the common noun suffix –ity. The oldest usage of sustainability was as a legal term “the capacity of being sustained as true, or upheld as valid by legal argument” (1835). The current environmental sense, specifically mentioning wildlife and ecosystems, arose about 1980.

how is sustainability used?

Sustainability is based on a simple and long-recognized factual premise: Everything that humans require for their survival and well-being depends, directly or indirectly, on the natural environment.

National Research Council, "Sustainability and the U.S. EPA," 2011

Recognizing that a focus on sustainability is expected by a growing number of customers, many companies have used their relative downtime to take stock of their environmental footprint and make road maps for a greener future.

Bailey Berg, "As the pandemic prompts eco-awareness, the travel industry responds," Washington Post, March 4, 2021

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