Word of the Day

Saturday, May 16, 2020

chariness

[ chair-ee-nis ]

noun

scrupulous integrity.

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What is the origin of chariness?

Chary, the adjective from which chariness derives, comes from the Middle English adjective chari, charry, cearig “actively concerned, diligent; sad, sorrowful; cherished (of a person).” Chari comes from the Old English adjective cearig, ceari “careful, grieving, pensive, wary, anxious, dire.” The Old English adjective is a derivative of the noun cearu, caru “sorrow, grief” (Modern English care). Chariness entered English in the 16th century.

how is chariness used?

Nay, I will consent to act any villainy against him, that may not sully the chariness of our honesty.

William Shakespeare, The Merry Wives of Windsor, 1623

The reason for the chariness of the broker is that most of his transactions are carried through on credit and he runs many dangers if he cannot have absolute confidence in the integrity, both financial and otherwise, of his client …

Edith Wharton, "Why the English Broker Does Not Want to Sell Direct," System: The Magazine of Business, April 1919

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Friday, May 15, 2020

melee

[ mey-ley, mey-ley, mel-ey ]

noun

confusion; turmoil; jumble.

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What is the origin of melee?

Melee, also spelled mêlée, has been in English since the mid-17th century; yet its spellings and several pronunciations show that it is still not naturalized. Melee comes from Old French melee, meslee, medlee “mixture, argument, confused hand-to-hand fighting,” from Old French mesler, medler, mesdler, from Vulgar Latin misculāre, Latin miscere “to mix.” Medler is also the source of English medley; mesler is the source of the second half of pell-mell (from Middle French pelemele, Old French pesle mesle).

how is melee used?

The fifteen dogs were off leash, creating a melee of barking, squeaking squeaky toys, and the voices of puppy raisers shouting “Leave it!,” “Bring it!,” and “Good puppy!”

Lizzie Widdicombe, "Puppies Behind Bars, with Glenn Close," The New Yorker, November 20, 2017

A recent tussle between Maduro loyalists and the U.S.-backed opposition for control of Venezuela’s National Assembly descended into a melee of competing claims that left neither side with clear authority over the assembly.

Kejal Vyas, "Behind Maduro's Latest Power Play: Reviving Venezuela's Collapsed Oil Industry," Wall Street Journal, January 12, 2020

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Thursday, May 14, 2020

insufflate

[ in-suhf-leyt, in-suh-fleyt ]

verb (used with object)

to blow or breathe (something) in.

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What is the origin of insufflate?

There is not an obvious connection between insufflate and soufflé, but it exists. Insufflate comes from Late Latin insufflātus, the past participle of the verb insufflāre “to blow into or upon,” first recorded in Christian Latin authors. Insufflāre is a compound of the common preposition and suffix in, in- “in, into, on, upon” and sufflāre “to blow up from below, blow up,” itself a compound of sub, sub- “below, from below” and the simple verb flāre “to blow, breathe.” Soufflé in French means “puffed up”; it is the past participle of the verb souffler, the regular French development of Latin sufflāre. Insufflate entered English in the 17th century.

how is insufflate used?

They handed a trumpet to the old man, who put it to the lips of the two creatures still suspended in their vegetable lethargy, their sweet animal sleep, and he began to insufflate soul into their bodies.

Umberto Eco, Foucault's Pendulum, translated by William Weaver, 1989

If the EU were to give Britain a good deal, it would inspire other countries to leave and might insufflate new life into populist parties that are already gaining more and more support throughout Europe.

Barbara Tasch, "There must be a threat, a risk, a price," Business Insider, October 7, 2016

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