Word of the Day

Sunday, July 08, 2018

bravura

[ bruh-vyoor-uh, -voor-uh ]

noun

a display of daring; brilliant performance.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of bravura?

The noun bravura is still unnaturalized in English. The word is obviously Italian, ultimately derived from the adjective bravo, which French borrowed from Italian as brave (English brave comes from French). Further etymology of bravo is unclear: some claim it to be from an assumed Vulgar Latin brabus (Latin barbarus) “barbarian” (Roman authors remarked on the impetuous bravery of Celtic and Germanic warriors). The Italian suffix -ura (-ure in French) comes from the Latin noun suffix -ūra. Bravura entered English in the 18th century.

how is bravura used?

“Nothing wins more loyalty for a leader than an air of bravura,” the Duke said. “I, therefore, cultivate an air of bravura.”

Frank Herbert, Dune, 1965

The acting, though by no means homogeneous, has its share of bravura.

John Simon, "False 'Messiah,' Fake 'Diamonds'," New York, January 7, 1985
quiz icon
WHAT'S YOUR WORD IQ?
Think you're a word wizard? Try our word quiz, and prove it!
TAKE THE QUIZ
arrows pointing up and down
SYNONYM OF THE DAY
Double your word knowledge with the Synonym of the Day!
SEE TODAY'S SYNONYM

Get A Vocabulary Boost In Your Inbox

Get the Word of the Day every day!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Saturday, July 07, 2018

plantigrade

[ plan-ti-greyd ]

adjective

walking on the whole sole of the foot, as humans, and bears.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of plantigrade?

The adjective plantigrade comes from the Latin noun planta “sole (of the foot)” and the verb gradī “to take steps, step, walk.” The Proto-Indo-European root ghredh- “to step, stride” is not very common, and all current English words are borrowings from Latin, e.g., gradual, grade, and verbs ending in -gress, e.g., ingress, regress, transgress. Planta, however, is another story: it shows the infix n, but its Proto-Indo-European root is the very common plat-, plet-, plot- “flat, broad.” Plat- is the source of the Lithuanian adjective platùs “wide, broad,” the all but identical Greek adjective platýs “flat, wide” (as in platypus “flatfoot”), the English adjective and noun flat, the noun flet (also flett) “dwelling, hall,” familiar to readers of Beowulf and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (probably the same crowd), and flan (the Spanish custard). Plantigrade entered English in the 19th century.

how is plantigrade used?

When later the old man slipped back into the night, the bear lifted itself and nosed briefly about its prison and the open gate, then walked out favoring one leg, its plantigrade shuffle derelict and comic in the darkness.

Robert Herring, McCampbell's War, 1986

Cats and many other carnivores walk upright on their toes, a stance known as digitigrade, as opposed to the plantigrade stance found in humans and bears.

Kevin Hansen, Bobcat: Master of Survival, 2007
Friday, July 06, 2018

campcraft

[ kamp-kraft, -krahft ]

noun

the art of outdoor camping.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of campcraft?

Campcraft is a straightforward compound noun. Camp ultimately derives from Latin campus “field, plain,” especially the Campus Martius “the field of Mars” (so called from the altar dedicated to Mars), which was originally pastureland between the Tiber River and the northwest boundary of Rome. The Campus Martius was used for recreation and exercise, various civilian meetings, and army musters and military exercises. Craft is a common Germanic word: cræft in Old English, Kraft in German, kraft in Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish. All of the Germanic languages except English have maintained the original meaning “strength, power”; only English has developed the sense “skill, skilled occupation.” Campcraft entered English in the 20th century.

how is campcraft used?

Daniel Boone, Kit Carson and the other old fellows we admire so much could never have lived a week in the wilderness had they not known all the ins and outs of campcraft–that is, the art of taking care of themselves in the wilderness and of making themselves as comfortable as conditions would permit under canvas or in the open.

Dillon Wallace, "How to Be a Good Camper," Boys' Life, July 1914

Inman squatted in the brush and watched the folks go about their campcraft.

Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain, 1997

Get A Vocabulary Boost In Your Inbox

Get the Word of the Day every day!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.