Word of the Day

Word of the day

Thursday, March 05, 2020

cacoethes

[ kak-oh-ee-theez ]

noun

an irresistible urge; mania.

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What is the origin of cacoethes?

The rare noun cacoethes, “irresistible urge, mania,” comes from the Latin neuter noun cacoēthes “malignant tumor at an early stage, incurable disease (of character),” from Greek kakóēthes “malice, wickedness,” neuter singular noun use of the adjective kakóēthes, “ill-disposed, malicious, malignant,” a compound of kakós “bad, wretched” and the noun êthos “custom, habit, character, usage.” Cacoethes in the sense “irresistible urge, mania” comes from the Roman satirist Juvenal’s phrase insānābile scrībendī cacoēthes “incurable urge to write.” Cacoethes entered English in the 16th century.

how is cacoethes used?

We must talk, think, and live up to the spirit of the times, and write up to it too, if that cacoethes be upon us, or we are nought.

Anthony Trollope, Barchester Towers, 1857

“Malachi has caught cacoethes scribendi, the scribbling craze, and is writing more sermons,” Turlow reported.

Sam Pickering, Indian Summer, 2005

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Word of the day

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

sic

[ seek; English sik ]

adverb

Latin.

so; thus: usually written parenthetically to denote that a word, phrase, passage, etc., that may appear strange or incorrect has been written intentionally or has been quoted verbatim: He signed his name as e. e. cummings (sic).

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What is the origin of sic?

People may be familiar with the motto of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Sic semper tyrannis “Thus ever to tyrants.” Usually, English sic appears alone, usually written in italics within square brackets, [sic], showing that the preceding misused or misspelled word is correctly cited, as, for instance, “marshal [sic] law” for “martial law.” Sic comes straight from the Latin adverb sīc “thus, so,” which is the source of Italian , Spanish and Catalan , and French si, all meaning “yes.” A related Latin word, the conjunction “if,” is the source of Italian se, Spanish and Catalan si, and French si, all meaning “if.” Sic entered English in the second half of the 19th century.

how is sic used?

Would love to take a new look at you’re (sic) new book. … Is Clint Reno still you’re (sic) agent?

Ted Heller, Pocket Kings, 2012

In her remarks, she flattered her audience as “smart people who also happens [sic] to be rich and powerful.”

Avi Steinberg, "Can a Robot Join the Faith?" The New Yorker, November 13, 2017

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Tuesday, March 03, 2020

delegate

[ noun del-i-git, -geyt ]

noun

a person designated to act for or represent another or others; deputy; representative, as in a political convention.

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What is the origin of delegate?

English delegate ultimately comes from Latin dēlēgātus “appointee,” a noun use of the past participle of the verb dēlēgāre “to appoint, assign,” a compound of the prefix dē- “away (from here)” and the simple verb lēgāre “to send as an envoy, depute,” a derivative of the noun lex (stem lēg-) “law” (source of legal and, via Old French, loyal). Formerly in U.S legal and constitutional usage, a delegate was the title of a representative of a state in the First Continental Congress (1774), and later the title of the representative of a Territory in the U.S. House of Representatives. Delegate entered English in the 14th century.

how is delegate used?

By the end of Super Tuesday, more than a third of all convention delegates will have been pledged nationally.

George Skelton, "California won't be a kingmaker on Super Tuesday. But it's the gatekeeper to the final stretch," Los Angeles Times, February 13, 2020

By the mid-1960s, Nixon was still regarded as a joke by the national press and the national party structure, but he found himself with more and more friends at the party’s local level, friends who would eventually be delegates to the 1968 Republican Convention.

Gregg Easterbrook, "The Perpetual Campaign," The Atlantic, January 1983

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