Word of the Day

Friday, September 06, 2019

chirography

[ kahy-rog-ruh-fee ]

noun

handwriting; penmanship.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of chirography?

Chirography, an expensive word for “handwriting, penmanship,” comes from Greek cheirogaphía “written report, testimony in writing.” The first element, cheiro-, is a combining form of the noun cheír “hand,” which has many dialect forms (chérs, chḗr, chérr-). Cheír comes from the uncommon Proto-Indo-European root ghesor-, ghesr– “hand,” the source of Hittite kessar, Armenian jeṙ-, and Tocharian tsar, all meaning “hand.” The combining form –graphy, naturalized in English, is a derivative of the verb gráphein “to write,” from a Proto-Indo-European root ghrebh-, ghrobh– “to scratch, dig, bury,” the source of English grave (burial place), grub (to dig), and groove. Chirography entered English in the 17th century.

how is chirography used?

Miss Kate S. Chittenden’s hand is bold, fearless, and masculine, and there are decided indications that her temperament resembles her chirography in these respects.

, "Character in Writing," New York Times February 22, 1891

“Three hours of hand-shaking is not calculated to improve a man’s chirography,” he [Lincoln] said later that evening.

Louis P. Masur, Lincoln's Hundred Days, 2012
quiz icon
WHAT'S YOUR WORD IQ?
Think you're a word wizard? Try our word quiz, and prove it!
TAKE THE QUIZ
arrows pointing up and down
SYNONYM OF THE DAY
Double your word knowledge with the Synonym of the Day!
SEE TODAY'S SYNONYM

Get A Vocabulary Boost In Your Inbox

Get the Word of the Day every day!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Thursday, September 05, 2019

magnanimous

[ mag-nan-uh-muhs ]

adjective

generous in forgiving an insult or injury; free from petty resentfulness or vindictiveness: to be magnanimous toward one's enemies.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of magnanimous?

Magnanimous comes from the Latin adjective magnanimus “noble in spirit, brave, generous.” Magnanimus is a loan translation of the Greek adjectives megáthymos, megalóthymos “great hearted,” and megalópsychos “generous, high-souled.” Magnanimus was used especially in translations of the Aristotelian term megalópsychos. Magnanimous entered English in the 16th century.

how is magnanimous used?

… if he would … discharge his heart of its hoarded bitterness—forgive the world, for having turned his head; and for not keeping it turned, by main force; become a little more magnanimous; and, a little less unhappy and suspicious … I do almost believe that he might do something decent, to be remembered by.

John Neal, Randolph, 1823

As a master of symbolism, Mandela supported his strategy by being magnanimous towards his former enemies.

Paul Schoemaker, "The 3 Decisions That Made Mandela a Truly Great Leader," Inc., July 28, 2013
Wednesday, September 04, 2019

daffing

[ daf-ing ]

noun

Scot. and North England.

merriment; playful behavior; foolishness.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of daffing?

Daffing, “merriment, playfulness,” also “insanity,” is a British dialect word used in northern England and Scotland (the only two writers of note to use the word are the Scotsmen Robert Burns and Robert Louis Stevenson). Daffing is a derivative of the Scottish verb daff “to play, make sport,” from the obsolete noun daff “fool, idiot, coward,” from the Middle English adjective dafte “well-mannered, gentle, humble,” and “uncouth, boorish, dull” (possibly from the sense “humble, good-natured”). Dafte is also the source of daft “senseless, stupid, crazy,” from Old English dæfte, defte “gentle.” Daffing entered English in the 16th century.

how is daffing used?

“Hoot-toot! hoot-toot!” said Cluny. “It was all daffing; it’s all nonsense.”

Robert Louis Stevenson, Kidnapped, 1886

He must have had a mind full of variety and wide human sympathy almost Shakespearian, who could step from the musings of Windsor … to the lasses in their gay kritles, and Hob and Raaf with their rustic ” daffing,” as true to the life as the Ayrshire clowns of Burns ….

Margaret Oliphant, Royal Edinburgh, 1890

Get A Vocabulary Boost In Your Inbox

Get the Word of the Day every day!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.