Word of the Day

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

capacious

[ kuh-pey-shuhs ]

adjective

capable of holding much; spacious or roomy.

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What is the origin of capacious?

The English adjective capacious comes straight from Latin capāc-, the stem of the adjective capax “able to take, take in, contain,” a derivative of the verb capere “to take, catch, seize.” The Latin suffix –ax (stem –āc-) is not very common; it forms adjectives denoting ability or behavior from verbs and some nouns, such as mendax (stem mendāc-) “untruthful, lying” (English mendacious), formed from the noun mendum “blemish, fault, error.” The English element –ious is a variant of the adjective suffix –ous, which comes via Middle English and Old French from the Latin adjective suffix –ōsus. Capacious entered English in the first half of the 16th century.

how is capacious used?

With its high ceiling and muted lighting, the capacious lobby of the Hotel Okura’s main building seemed like a huge, stylish cave.

Haruki Murakami, 1Q84, translated by Jay Rubin and Philip Gabriel, 2011

this is a vision of a 21st-century city remade with public health in mind, achieving the neat trick of being both more populated and more capacious.

Derek Thompson, "Great Ready for the Great Urban Comeback," The Atlantic, October 2020

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Monday, October 05, 2020

ecoanxiety

[ ek-oh-ang-zahy-i-tee, ee-koh‐ ]

noun

Psychiatry.

anxiety caused by a dread of environmental perils, especially climate change, and a feeling of helplessness over the potential consequences for those living now and even more so for those of later generations.

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What is the origin of ecoanxiety?

Ecoanxiety, “anxiety caused by a dread of environmental perils, especially climate change,” is a compound of the now common combining form eco– “pertaining to ecology or the environment” and anxiety. The combining form eco– comes via Latin oeco-, eco– from Greek oîkos “house” and oikía “house, dwelling.” An early occurrence in Greek of the combining form oik-, oiko– is in the noun oikonomía “management of a household or family, thrift” (source of English economy, which appears in English in the mid-15th century). Another early compound of oik-, oiko– occurs in () oikouménē () “(the) inhabited (earth),” English ecumenic(al). The noun ecology is composed of Greek elements, but oikología does not occur in Greek: English ecology comes from German Oecologie (1866; the word is now spelled Ökologie) “the branch of biology dealing with the relations and interactions between organisms and their environment,” its meaning in English.

how is ecoanxiety used?

Long before eco-anxiety became a national ailment this year, a strong environmental ethic seemed to come naturally to people in Anne Arundel.

Lisa Leff, "Ecology Carries Clout in Anne Arundel," Washington Post, August 5, 1990

I know those feelings. Eco-anxiety. Doing something is about the only thing that helps, in my experience.

Varda Burstyn, Water Inc., 2005

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Sunday, October 04, 2020

asunder

[ uh-suhn-der ]

adverb, adjective

into separate parts; in or into pieces: Lightning split the old oak tree asunder.

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What is the origin of asunder?

Asunder, “into separate parts or pieces; widely separated,” comes from Middle English asonder, asondre, osonder (with still more variant spellings), from Old English on sundrum, on sundran, on sundron “separately, separated from one another, apart,” a prepositional phrase meaning literally “in separate (positions),” from the adverb sundor, which has cognate forms in all the Germanic languages, e.g., German sonder “without” (preposition) and Gothic sundro (adverb) “alone, aside, apart.” Sundor and its Germanic relatives come from a Proto-Indo-European root sen-, senə- “separate, apart,” which appears in Latin as sine (preposition) “without,” as in the Medieval Latin phrase (beneficium) sine cūrā “(benefice) without care (of parishioners),” source of English sinecure. Asunder dates from the Old English period.

how is asunder used?

You don’t enter the school by being strangely keen on chess. … You need to be a mutant, and your gift must be funkily unique to you. Helplessly shooting blood-red beams of flame out of your eyes that rip through the lawn and split a tree asunder: that’s the kind of talent that gets you enrolled …

Anthony Lane, "Apocalypse Now: Bryan Singer's New 'X-Men' Movie," The New Yorker, May 27, 2016

two souls, two thoughts, two un-reconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.

W.E.B. Du Bois, "Of Our Spiritual Strivings," The Souls of Black Folk, 1903

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