Word of the Day

Word of the day

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

bonbonnière

[ bon-buh-neer, -nyair; French bawn-baw-nyer ]

noun

a box or dish for candies.

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What is the origin of bonbonnière?

A bonbonnière is a person or store that sells candies, or a box or tray for serving candies. Bonbonnière, a French noun, has been in English for more than 200 years, but it is still completely unnaturalized. Bonbonnière is a derivative of the noun bon-bon, literally “good-good,” French baby talk for “candy” (especially chocolate candy). Bonbonnière entered English in the first half of the 19th century.

how is bonbonnière used?

He drew from his pocket a marvellous bonbonnière, formed out of a single emerald, and closed by a golden lid, which unscrewed and gave passage to a small ball of a greenish colour, and about the size of a pea.

Alexander Dumas, The Count of Monte-Cristo, translated from French in 1846

At Sotheby’s the Rivers collection includes a gold and enamel cigarette case with pink rosettes, a carved nephrite gold and enamel bonbonnière, whose lid has Cupid riding an eagle on a cloud, and several elephants in bowenite, obsidian and aventurine.

Wendy Moonan, "An Easter Feast Of Rare Fabergé," New York Times, April 13, 2001

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Word of the day

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

eidetic

[ ahy-det-ik ]

adjective

of, relating to, or constituting visual imagery vividly experienced and readily reproducible with great accuracy and in great detail.

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What is the origin of eidetic?

Eidetic “pertaining to visual images vividly experienced and readily reproducible” is a technical term used in psychology. It comes via German eidetisch from the equally technical Greek adjective eidētikós, whose senses include “constituting an image; (of a number) capable of being represented by a mathematical figure; formal (cause).” Eidētikós is a derivative of eídēsis, one of the several Greek nouns meaning “knowledge.” Eidetic entered English in the first half of the 20th century.

how is eidetic used?

His eidetic memory went to work, conjuring an image of a large-scale map he had once studied. Closing his eyes he laid off the exact distance, latitude and longitude, individual islands.

Poul Anderson, "The Sensitive Man," Fantastic Universe, January 1954

Dr. Matsuzawa said the ability reminded him of the phenomenon called eidetic imagery, in which a person memorizes details of a complex scene at a glance.

Henry Fountain, "Chimps Exhibit Superior Memory, Outshining Humans," New York Times, December 4, 2007

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Word of the day

Monday, December 28, 2020

amity

[ am-i-tee ]

noun

friendship; peaceful harmony.

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What is the origin of amity?

Amity “friendship; peaceful harmony; peaceful harmony between states” comes via Middle English amite, amitie, amiste from Old French amistié, amisté, amistet “friendship, affection,” from the unrecorded Vulgar Latin noun amīcitāt-, the inflectional stem of amīcitās, equivalent to Latin amīcitia “friendship.” (The same Vulgar Latin noun becomes amistad in Spanish, which may be familiar to Americans from the Steven Spielberg movie Amistad, 1997.) Amīcitia is a derivative of the noun amīcus “friend, lover,” which in its turn is a derivative of the verb amāre “to love, be in love, fall in love with,” which has no further etymology. Amity entered English in the first half of the 15th century.

how is amity used?

Felix held out his hand as a token of amity, which the other took.

Richard Jefferies, After London, 1885

She did not care for. Mrs. Markey … but John and Joe Markey were congenial and went in together on the commuting train every morning, so the two women kept up an elaborate pretence of warm amity.

F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Baby Party," Hearst's International Cosmopolitan, February 1925

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