Word of the Day

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

celestial

[ suh-les-chuhl ]

adjective

pertaining to the sky or visible heaven, or to the universe beyond the earth’s atmosphere.

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What is the origin of celestial?

Celestial has always had several meanings, beginning with Latin caelestis, “being in, happening in, or coming from the sky or heavens,” ranging from the physical, astronomical, and navigational to the supernatural and divine, including the pagan Roman reference to emperors posthumously deified. Caelestis is an adjective derived from the noun caelum “heaven, sky,” whose etymology is unclear. The adjective celestial entered English in the late 14th century, the noun in the second half of the 16th.

how is celestial used?

Located deep in the disk of the Milky Way, the dense, dead celestial body had been slinging high-energy radiation into the cosmos for a week or so, as a rare class of objects called soft gamma-ray repeaters are known to do.

Nadia Drake, "'Magnetic Star' Radio Waves Could Solve the Mystery of Fast Radio Bursts," Scientific American, May 5, 2020

Of all the celestial bodies, the moon is closest to the matters of this lower world.

Jokha Alharthi, Celestial Bodies, translated by Marilyn Booth, 2018

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Monday, May 25, 2020

salute

[ suh-loot ]

verb (used with object)

to express respect or praise for; honor; commend.

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What is the origin of salute?

Of the verb and the noun salute, the verb is earlier, appearing in the late 14th century, the noun appearing between 1400 and 1450. The Middle English verb was saluten “to greet courteously or respectfully,” from the Latin verb salūtāre “to greet, hail, salute.” (In older English usage I salute you means “I send you respectful greetings.”) Salūtāre is a derivative of the noun salūs (inflectional stem salūt-) “health, safety, personal safety.” Salūs in its turn is derived from the adjective salvus “safe, safe and sound” (Salvus sum in colloquial Latin means “I’m all right”).

how is salute used?

Arlington, Va.’s Boy Scout Troop 164 helped to salute the fallen from that famous Army unit, whose history spans from World War I to the war in Iraq.

Michael E. Ruane and Antonio Olivo, "On Memorial Day, honoring the fallen and those who contributed," Washington Post, May 27, 2019

DiMaggio attended the post-game ceremony not only to remember Gehrig, his former teammate, but to salute the game’s new Iron Horse.

Claire Smith, "The Game Gets Together To Salute Favorite Son," New York Times, September 7, 1995

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Sunday, May 24, 2020

whelked

[ hwelkt, welkt ]

adjective

ridged like the shell of a snail: a whelked horn.

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What is the origin of whelked?

Whelked, “having ridges like the shell of a snail,” is an adjective derived from the noun whelk “a large, spiral-shelled, marine gastropod.” Whelk comes from Middle English welk, welke, wilk, wilke, from Old English weoloc, weluc, wiolc, wulloc. The modern spelling whelk, with initial wh-, first appears about 1425 in a cookbook.

how is whelked used?

As I stood here below, methought his eyes Were two full moons; he had a thousand noses, Horns whelked and waved like the enridged sea.

William Shakespeare, King Lear, 1608

Alice puckered her old whelked face into a thousand deeper wrinkles ….

George Soane, The Frolics of Puck, 1834

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