Word of the Day

Word of the day

Sunday, December 30, 2018

champers

[ sham-perz ]

noun

British Slang. champagne.

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What is the origin of champers?

Champers is a British slang term for champagne, as the suffix -ers suggests. The suffix originated in the Rugby School (in east Warwickshire) and spread to Oxford University towards the end of the 19th century; champers, therefore, is not old at all, dating from the mid-20th century.

how is champers used?

He was about to take a whisky, when he was distracted by the larger glasses. “Ah, champers, dear boy,” he said, “champers for me.”

Olivia Manning, The Great Fortune, 1960

At its beginning, Champagne scarcely resembled the dry, fine-fizzed champers we know today.

Jane and Michael Stern, "A Kick from Champagne," New York Times, December 25, 2008
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Word of the day

Saturday, December 29, 2018

gussy

[ guhs-ee ]

verb

Informal. to enhance the attractiveness of in a gimmicky, showy manner (usually followed by up): a room gussied up with mirrors and lights.

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What is the origin of gussy?

The verb gussy is usually followed by up. Gussy up “to dress elaborately, dress up, smarten up” is an American and Canadian slang term, and like many slang terms, its etymology is obscure. Gussy up may derive from gussie, an Australian and American slang term for a weak, effeminate man (first appearing in Australia and the US in 1901 or 1902). The verb phrase gussy up appears in 1906 in Canada and in 1912 in the US.

how is gussy used?

When a not-so-careful writer tries to gussy up his prose with an upmarket word that he mistakenly thinks is a synonym of a common one, like simplistic for simple or fulsome for full, his readers are likely to conclude the worst: that he has paid little attention what he has read, is affecting an air of sophistication on the cheap, and is polluting a common resource.

Steven Pinker, The Sense of Style, 2014

… he was busy helping his dad gussy up the old tractors for the parade.

Gayle Brandeis, Delta GIrls, 2010

Word of the day

Friday, December 28, 2018

smackeroo

[ smak-uh-roo ]

noun

a noisy kiss.

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What is the origin of smackeroo?

Smackeroo is originally (and still usually) an American slang term with three meanings: “something very good or excellent; cash, folding money; a sharp slap or hard blow (accidental or deliberate).” The etymology of smackeroo isn’t very clear: it may come from smacker “a dollar; a loud kiss,” or from the verb smack “to strike sharply; kiss loudly.” The suffix -eroo is an Americanism of uncertain origin, used for forming jocular, gaudy variants of neutral or colorless nouns, e.g., switcheroo for switch. Smackeroo entered English in the mid-20th century.

how is smackeroo used?

Do you grab the first person to cross your path and plant a big wet smackeroo, or leave the party before midnight to avoid the whole issue?

Roxanne Roberts, "A Peck of Advice on the New Year's Eve Kiss," Washington Post, December 30, 1998

I can’t possibly discuss all that action, so let me focus on a few key kisses. First, Mary and Matthew’s very cinematic smackeroo

June Thomas, “Matthew and Mary, Anna and Bates: Downton’s great couples,” Slate, February 12, 2012

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