• Word of the day
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    Tuesday, June 12, 2018

    blamestorming

    noun [bleym-stawr-ming]
    the process of assigning blame for an outcome or situation.
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    What is the origin of blamestorming?

    Blamestorming was originally a colloquialism in American English, modeled on the much earlier (1907) brainstorming. Blamestorming entered English in the 1990s.

    How is blamestorming used?

    Unfortunately, the common behavior exhibited many businesses is to have a meeting "the morning after" for a "blamestorming" session. This is where the CEO or manager sits around with their team and figures out who is to blame for the company's latest failure. , "Are You a 'Blamestormer'?" Forbes, May 1, 2012

    And as long as we're blamestorming here, how about the developers who turned the Rollman property into McMansions in the early 1990s? B. J. Foreman, "Herd Mentality," Cincinnati, September 2009

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  • Word of the day
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    Monday, June 11, 2018

    scrutator

    noun [skroo-tey-ter]
    a person who investigates.
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    What is the origin of scrutator?

    English scrutator comes straight from the Latin noun scrūtātor “searcher (after something or someone hidden),” a derivative of the verb scrūtārī“ to probe, examine closely,” originally “to sort through rags.” Scrūtārī itself is a derivative of the (neuter plural) noun scrūta “discarded items, junk.” Scrutator entered English in the late 16th century.

    How is scrutator used?

    Mistrust, assuming the ascendency, commenced its regency, and the observations of so indefatigable and eagle eyed a scrutator produced a conviction of the blackest perfidy. Judith Seargent Murray, "No. LXXVIII," The Gleaner: A Miscellaneous Production in Three Volumes, 1798

    I did not find him to be a thinker, and much less a scrutator ... Abbé Barruel, Memoirs, Illustrating the History of Jacobinism, translated by Robert Clifford, 1799

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  • Word of the day
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    Sunday, June 10, 2018

    sennight

    noun [sen-ahyt, -it]
    Archaic. a week.
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    What is the origin of sennight?

    The archaic English noun sennight means literally “seven nights,” i.e. a week. The Old English form was seofan nihta; Middle English had very many forms, including soveniht, sevenight, seven nyght, sennyght.

    How is sennight used?

    It had taken them only a sennight to travel from Sentarshadeen ... into the heart of the lost Lands to face the power of Shadow Mountain. Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory, To Light a Candle, 2004

    She that I spake of, our great captain's captain, / Left in the conduct of the bold Iago, / Whose footing here anticipates our thoughts / A sennight's speed. William Shakespeare, Othello, 1622

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  • Word of the day
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    Saturday, June 09, 2018

    congeries

    noun [kon-jeer-eez, kon-juh-reez]
    a collection of items or parts in one mass; assemblage; aggregation; heap: From the airplane the town resembled a congeries of tiny boxes.
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    What is the origin of congeries?

    English congeries comes directly from the Latin noun congeriēs “collection, pile, heap,” a derivative of the verb congerere “to collect, amass.” Congeries is a singular noun in Latin as it has always been in English. In the mid-19th century a new singular arose in English, congery, a back formation from congeries. Congeries entered English in the 17th century.

    How is congeries used?

    ... each bud has a leaf, which is its lungs, appropriated to it, and the bark of the tree is a congeries of the roots of these individual buds ... Erasmus Darwin, "The Loves of Plants," The Botanic Garden, 1791

    He further emptied the valise, lifting out a queer-looking congeries of glass cells and coils to which the wire from the helmet was attached, and delivering a fire of running comment too technical for me to follow yet apparently quite plausible and straightforward. Hazel Heald and H. P. Lovecraft, "The Horror in the Museum," Weird Tales, July 1933

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  • Word of the day
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    Friday, June 08, 2018

    bacciferous

    adjective [bak-sif-er-uhs]
    Botany. bearing or producing berries.
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    What is the origin of bacciferous?

    The English adjective bacciferous “bearing berries” comes from Latin bacca (also bāca) “fruit of a shrub or tree, nut,” a word of unknown origin. The Latin suffix -fer “carrying, bearing” is from a very widespread Proto-Indo-European root bher- “to carry,” source of Germanic (English) bear, Greek phérein “to carry, bear,” and Slavic (Polish) bierać “to carry.” Bacciferous entered English in the 17th century.

    How is bacciferous used?

    Bacciferous trees, are such as bear berries; as the juniper and yew-tree. Charlotte Matilda Hunt, The Little World of Knowledge, 1826

    The rays of the sun are essential to the proper development of all fruits, yet some, especially the bacciferous, demand a certain amount of shade in Summer and protection in Winter ... E. Daggy, "Douglas County Horticultural Society," Transactions of the Illinois State Horticultural Society, Volume II, 1869

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  • Word of the day
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    Thursday, June 07, 2018

    Disneyfy

    verb [diz-nee-fahy, -ni-]
    to create or alter in a simplified, sentimentalized, or contrived form or manner: museums that have become Disneyfied to attract more visitors.
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    What is the origin of Disneyfy?

    Disneyfy is an Americanism formed from the name of Walt Disney, the cartoonist and moviemaker (1901-66), and the familiar verb suffix -fy. Disneyfy entered English in the second half of the 20th century.

    How is Disneyfy used?

    In North America we tend to Disneyfy the past into this sugar-coated nostalgia product, all bonnets and merry sleigh rides ... Emma Donoghue, Landing, 2007

    ... Dad says you have to look at animals as they are, not Disney-fy them. Rosamund Lupton, The Quality of Silence, 2015

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  • Word of the day
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    Wednesday, June 06, 2018

    superluminal

    adjective [soo-per-loo-muh-nl]
    Astronomy. appearing to travel faster than the speed of light.
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    What is the origin of superluminal?

    One of the Latin sources for the English adjective superluminal “faster than the speed of light” is the very familiar prefix and preposition super- “above, beyond.” The second Latin source is the adjective lūminōsus “filled with light, dazzling, luminous” a derivative of the noun lūmen “light, radiance,” from an assumed leuksmen or louksmen, a derivative of the root noun lux (stem luc-) “light.” The same root, leuk- (and its variant louk-) lies behind the Latin noun lūna “moon,” from an assumed louksnā. Superluminal entered English in the 20th century.

    How is superluminal used?

    But what if the spaceship breaks the speed of light? Now, we are entering the purely theoretical realm of superluminal travel. The spaceship is outracing the light it emits, so when the spaceship takes off, it leaves its own light in the space-dust. David Russell, "Can You Really Go Back in Time by Breaking the Speed of Light?" PBS, August 17, 2015

    The Alderson Drive gave us access to the stars at superluminal speeds--but not instantaneous transportation. Jerry Pournelle and S. M. Stirling, Go Tell the Spartans, 1991

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