Word of the Day

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

campestral

[ kam-pes-truhl ]

adjective

of or relating to fields or open country.

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What is the origin of campestral?

Campestral, “relating to fields or open country,” comes from Latin campestris “relating to fields or plains; flat, level,” a derivative of campus “field” and the adjective suffix –estris. Campus has no reliable etymology in Latin, but some of its senses are very important. The most important campus in Roman life was the Campus Martius “the Field of Mars” (named after an altar dedicated to the god Mars). The Campus Martius was originally pastureland outside the walls of Rome and therefore suitable for military exercises, army musters, and assemblies of legions before processing in triumphs through the city. Campestral entered English in the early 18th century.

how is campestral used?

I was able to thoroughly enjoy the region’s rolling, campestral beauty in a three-town tour.

Lucas Peterson, "In Southeast England, White Cliffs, Fish and Chips, and Deals," New York Times, July 26, 2017

Beyond its wine and campestral vistas, Orcia is home to many historical attractions, including the medieval village of Rocca ‘Orcia.

Marisa D'Vari, "Orcia: The 'Undiscovered' Sangiovese DOC Region," Forbes, August 5, 2019

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Tuesday, March 30, 2021

brabble

[ brab-uhl ]

verb (used without object)

to argue stubbornly about trifles; wrangle.

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What is the origin of brabble?

Brabble is an uncommon verb and noun meaning “to quarrel over trifles; a noisy quarrel.” Its etymology is obscure, but most authorities think brabble comes from the Middle Dutch verb brabbelen “to quarrel, stammer, babble” (there is no connection between babble and brabble). One relatively early citation of brabble in the sense “to quarrel over trifles” dates from the first half of the 16th century: It reads “And then they brable with us about the translation,” a quotation from John Field, originally an Anglican clergyman, later a radical Puritan clergyman. Brabbling over a translation may seem nowadays like a petty academic quarrel, but Field was talking about John Calvin’s sermons, which were explosive at that time and could result in one’s painful death as a heretic. Brabble entered English in the first half of the 16th century.

how is brabble used?

they seldom meet upon the Exchange, or in the streets, but they brabble and quarrel: so that, if that society be not dissolved the sooner, or cast in a new mould, worse effects may follow than the whole business is worth.

John Chamberlain, Esq., to Sir Dudley Carleton, July 26, 1623, in The Court and Times of James the First, Vol. 2, 1848

we were, God knows, prepared to argue for it. And argue. And argue. But even in the monkish idelenss of Cambridge where there was more time to brabble in than ever I knew before or since … we saw ourselves as swords of change.

Mary Lee Settle, I, Roger Williams, 2001

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Monday, March 29, 2021

effulgent

[ ih-fuhl-juhnt, ih-fool- ]

adjective

shining forth brilliantly; radiant.

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What is the origin of effulgent?

The adjective effulgent, “shining forth brilliantly, radiant,” comes from Latin effulgēns (inflectional stem effulgent-), the present participle of effulgēre “to shine forth, blaze, flash,” a compound of the prefix ef-, a variant of ex– “out, out of, forth” (also used as an intensive), and the simple verb fulgēre “to shine brightly.” The Latin root fulg– is an extension (with –g) of the complicated Proto-Indo-European root bhelbhlē-, bhḷ– “to shine, blaze, burn.” Latin fulg– also appears in fulmen (from an unrecorded fulgmen) “lightning, thunderbolt,” source of English fulminate “to explode loudly, detonate.” Also related is the Latin verb flagrāre “to be ablaze, burn,” the source of English flagrant, now meaning “shockingly noticeable or glaring,” but formerly “blazing, burning.” From flagrāre Latin also derives flamma “flame” (from an unrecorded flagma). Effulgent entered English in the first half of the 18th century.

how is effulgent used?

She stood, while she thus spoke, under an effulgent chandelier, whose jets, wrought in the semblance of candles, dispersed from ornate metallic sconces a truly splendid glow. 

Edgar Fawcett, The Adventures of a Widow, 1884

Gilliam broke ranks with the movement—or extended it—in the mid-sixties, when he began draping vast unstretched paint-stained and -spattered canvases from walls and ceilings, creating undulant environments that drenched the eye in effulgent color.

Peter Schjeldahl, "How to Read Sam Gilliam's Formalism," The New Yorker, November 16, 2020

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