Word of the Day

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

brusquerie

[ broos-kuh-ree ]

noun

abruptness and bluntness in manner; brusqueness.

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What is the origin of brusquerie?

Brusquerie, which still feels like a French word, is a derivative of the adjective brusque. The French adjective comes from Italian brusco “rough, tart,” a special use of the noun brusco “butcher’s broom” (the name of a shrub). Brusco may come from Latin bruscum “a knot or growth on a maple tree”; or brusco may be a conflation of Latin ruscus, ruscum “butcher’s broom” and Vulgar Latin brūcus “heather.” Brusquerie entered English in the mid-18th century.

how is brusquerie used?

… I could see that she was doing her best to irritate me with the brusquerie of her answers.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Gambler (1866), translated by C. J. Hogarth, 1917

I hope you have not been so foolish as to take offence at any little brusquerie of mine …

Edgar Allan Poe, "The Gold-Bug," Philadelphia Dollar Magazine, 1843
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Monday, December 03, 2018

beanfeast

[ been-feest ]

noun

Chiefly British Slang. (formerly) an annual dinner or party given by an employer for employees.

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What is the origin of beanfeast?

Beanfeast is a perfectly ordinary compound of the humble bean and feast. A beanfeast was originally an annual dinner given by employers for their employees, but the word acquired the sense “festive occasion” by the end of the 19th century. Beanfeast entered English in the early 19th century.

how is beanfeast used?

In August the annual outing, or, as it was called, the bean-feast, at the works took place.

G. A. Henty, Sturdy and Strong, 1888

Why do we come? … Simply from the primordial love of a bean-feast!

W. W. Blair-Fish, "Because We Are Conventional," The Rotarian, June 1930
Sunday, December 02, 2018

candelabrum

[ kan-dl-ah-bruhm, -ab-ruhm ]

noun

an ornamental branched holder for more than one candle.

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What is the origin of candelabrum?

Candelabrum comes straight from Latin candēlābrum, formed from the noun candēla “a candle, taper” (from the verb candēre “to shine, gleam”) and -brum, a variant of -bulum, a suffix for forming neuter nouns for tools or places. English candle (Old English candel, condel) had already been in Old English long enough to become part of its poetic vocabulary, e.g., Glād ofer grundas / Godes condel beorht “God’s bright candle glided over the grounds” in the magnificent poem “The Battle of Brunanburh” recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (c. 955). Candelabrum entered English in the 19th century.

how is candelabrum used?

The menorah is an eight-branched candelabrum that is symbolic of the celebration of Hanukkah.

José Antonio Burciaga, "An Anglo, Jewish, Mexican Christmas," Weedee Peepo, 1988

… I bade Pedro to close the heavy shutters of the room … to light the tongues of a tall candelabrum which stood by the head of my bed–and to throw open far and wide the fringed curtains of black velvet which enveloped the bed itself.

Edgar Allan Poe, "The Oval Portrait," Graham's Magazine, April 1842

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