Word of the Day

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

catastrophize

[ kuh-tas-truh-fahyz ]

verb

to view or talk about (an event or situation) as worse than it actually is, or as if it were a catastrophe: Stop catastrophizing and get on with your life! She tends to catastrophize her symptoms.

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What is the origin of catastrophize?

The verb catastrophize, used mostly in psychology and psychotherapy, is formed from the Greek noun katastrophḗ “overturning, subjugation, conclusion, denouement,” and the Greek verb-forming suffix -ízein that was adopted into Latin as -īzāre and has become thoroughly naturalized in English. Catastrophize entered English in the 20th century.

how is catastrophize used?

I was inspired to catastrophize by my father, who believed that “90 percent of the things we worry about never come to pass.” He added cheerily that it was the other 10 percent, coming out of nowhere, that usually did us in.

Pat Snyder, "De-stress with a sigh of relief," Tri-Village News, August 18, 2004

Today’s news media will “catastrophize” anything they can.

Ben Stein, "Avoid the Craziness at No One Gets Hurt," New York Times, August 26, 2007
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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

sequacious

[ si-kwey-shuhs ]

adjective

Archaic. following, imitating, or serving another person, especially unreasoningly.

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What is the origin of sequacious?

The adjective sequacious comes from Latin sequac-, stem of sequāx “following closely or eagerly, disposed to be a follower, (of materials) responsive to manipulation or control, pliant” (sequāx lacks the sense “following smoothly or logically”). Sequāx is formed from the verb sequī “to follow” and the adjective suffix -āx (inflectional stem -āc-). Sequī is a Latin formation from the very widespread Proto-Indo-European root sekw-, sokw- “to follow,” which appears in Sanskrit, Greek and the Celtic and Germanic languages. Other Latin derivatives of sekw-, sokw- include the noun socius “follower, partner, ally” (from sokwyos) with its derivative adjective sociālis, source of English social. In Germanic, sokwyos becomes sagjaz “follower, retainer, warrior,” becoming in Old English secg, a noun used only in poetry. Sequacious entered English in the 17th century.

how is sequacious used?

In a world peopled with limp critics and sequacious art historians the ruthlessness with which he used the battering ram of talent invariably earned my admiration and almost invariably my support.

Grace Glueck, "The Pope of the Art World," New York Times, May 26, 1991

Those superstitious horrors that enslave / The fond sequacious herd, to mystic faith …

James Thompson, Summer, 1727
Monday, November 12, 2018

valorous

[ val-er-uhs ]

adjective

having valor; courageous; valiant; brave.

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What is the origin of valorous?

Valorous comes from Late Latin valor “worth, honor,” a derivative of valēre “to be powerful.” The Latin noun comes from the Proto-Indo-European root wal-, which also appears in Tocharian B walo “king” (Tocharian A and B were spoken in the Tarim Basin, now part of Xinjiang Uygur, China, and died out about 1100 a.d.). The extended form wald- “strong, be strong” underlies English wield and the proper name Oswald (from os “god” and weald “power”). In Slavic wald- appears in the Polish personal name Włodzimierz, Old Russian Volodimĕr “(having) great power, famous.” Modern Russian Vladimir is based on Old Church Slavonic Vladiměrŭ. Valorous entered English in the 15th century.

how is valorous used?

He praised his soldiers for their valorous devotion …

Stephen Harrigan, The Gates of the Alamo, 2000

Because I am valorous, chivalrous, generous, and handsome as the day is long!

Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, 2004

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