Word of the Day

Sunday, April 28, 2019

brainchild

[ breyn-chahyld ]

noun

a product of one's creative work or thought.

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What is the origin of brainchild?

The noun brainchild is so common that we forget what a startling metaphor it is: one of the earliest citations for it reads, “All my braines Children fraile and mortall be.” Brainchild entered English in the 17th century.

how is brainchild used?

Coney Island’s white-towered Freudian fairway had been the brainchild of a real-estate entrepreneur named William H. Reynolds … .

Claudia Roth Pierpont, "The Silver Spire," The New Yorker, November 18, 2002

Google Art Project, the brainchild of a small group of art-happy Google employees, brings the Street View technology of Google Earth and Google Maps inside 17 museums around the world.

Eliza Murphy, "The Google Art Project Makes Masterpieces Accessible to All," The Atlantic, February 2, 2011
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Saturday, April 27, 2019

groupthink

[ groop-thingk ]

noun

the lack of individual creativity, or of a sense of personal responsibility, that is sometimes characteristic of group interaction.

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What is the origin of groupthink?

Groupthink is a disparaging term modeled on doublethink “the mental ability to believe simultaneously two contradictory things,” appearing in 1984, by George Orwell (1903–50). Groupthink entered English in the early 1950s.

how is groupthink used?

Lately, as scientists try, and fail, to reproduce results, all of science is taking a hard look at funding biases, statistical shenanigans and groupthink.

Tamar Haspel, "Here's what the government's dietary guidelines should really say," Washington Post, March 26, 2019

You don’t need to do many focus groups to see groupthink in action.

Joseph Stromberg, "Focus groups shape what we buy. But how much do they really say about us?" Vox, January 22, 2019
Friday, April 26, 2019

pseudepigraphy

[ soo-duh-pig-ruh-fee ]

noun

the false ascription of a piece of writing to an author.

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What is the origin of pseudepigraphy?

The noun pseudepigraphy comes from Late Latin pseudepigrapha, a neuter plural adjective (from pseudepigraphus) used as a noun meaning “books or writings falsely titled or attributed to Hebrew writings supposedly composed by biblical patriarchs and prophets.” Pseudepigrapha was borrowed unchanged from the Greek compound adjective pseudepígrapha (from pseudepígraphos), composed of pseudḗs “false” and the Greek combining form –grapha, neuter plural of –graphos “drawn or written.” Pseudepigraphy entered English in the 19th century.

how is pseudepigraphy used?

If de León was the author, his exercise in pseudepigraphy was among the most successful in history.

Ezra Glinter, "A mysterious medieval text, decrypted," Boston Globe, June 26, 2016

Even this gimmick exactly parallels the ancient scriptural practice of pseudepigraphy whereby a later, undistinguished writer, would hide behind the name of a greater figure of the past, claiming venerable authority for his own innovations.

Robert M. Price, "About 'The Descent into the Abyss'," The Book of Eibon, 2006

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