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Word of the day


[ chois ] [ tʃɔɪs ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


the right, power, or opportunity to choose; option.

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What is the origin of choice?

Choice “the right to choose” is a noun derived from the Old French verb choisir “to perceive, choose,” which comes from a long-lost source in one of the Germanic languages, perhaps Frankish. Unlike choice, the verb choose is native to English and was recorded in Old English as cēosan, in which -an marked an infinitive verb, just as adding the separate word to before a verb does today. Ultimately, both choice and choose are related to Ancient Greek geúesthai “to taste” and Latin gustus “tasting, flavor, sense of taste.” From the former, English has adopted ageusia “loss of the sense of taste” and dysgeusia “impairment of the sense of taste,” while the latter is the source of (through Italian) gusto “hearty or keen enjoyment” and (through French) ragout, a type of tasty meat stew. Choice was first recorded in English in the late 13th century.

how is choice used?

I was thinking all this time that she has a choice. Me or Lindy. Which is a lot better than I have. It just hit me, though, …. she probably doesn’t feel like she has a choice at all.

Julie Lawson Timmer, Untethered, 2016

Late June brought a series of housing squabbles—some serious, some so ridiculous and petty that we had no choice but to highlight.

Jack Flemming, “Real Estate newsletter: Renters wrestle a landlord in court,” Los Angeles Times, June 25, 2022
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[ uh-proh-bree-uhs ] [ əˈproʊ bri əs ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


outrageously disgraceful or shameful.

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What is the origin of opprobrious?

Opprobrious “outrageously disgraceful or shameful” is an adaptation of Late Latin opprobriōsus, literally meaning “full of reproach,” based on opprobrium “reproach” and the adjectival suffix -ōsus “full of.” Opprobrium itself is a compound of the preposition ob “toward, against” and the noun probrum “infamy, disgrace,” with the b in ob assimilated to match the p in probrum. Confusion frequently arises about the similarity between probrum and the Latin adjective probus “good” (the source of approbation and approval), but the two are not quite related; probrum may literally mean “(thing) brought forward,” such as a complaint, while probus may have originally meant “being in front,” as in better than everything that follows. Opprobrious was first recorded in English in the late 14th century.

how is opprobrious used?

Perhaps he was taunting [Ida] Craddock, shaming her by scandalous association—just as he did later in taking her to jail aboard the elevated train, loudly calling attention to her with “opprobrious epithets” about the filth and blasphemy of her writings.

Leigh Eric Schmidt, ​​Heaven's Bride, 2010

In fact, he also insulted me and used opprobrious language…, and I am here to demand a personal apology from him in public. If that is not forthcoming at this meeting tonight, I am prepared to sue the city.

Ferrol Sams, Down Town, 2008
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[ pri-rog-uh-tiv, puh-rog- ]


a right, privilege, etc., limited to a specific person or to persons of a particular category.

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What is the origin of prerogative?

Prerogative “a right limited to a specific person” derives via Middle English from Latin praerogātīvus “voting first,” a compound of the preposition prae “before” and the verb rogāre “to ask, propose.” Prae is the source of the prefix pre-, which appears in three other words in this paragraph, while rogāre gives rise to several question- and claim-related words, such as arrogant (originally meaning “presuming”), interrogate, and surrogate (originally meaning “to nominate as a substitute”). Prerogative was first recorded in English in the late 1300s.

how is prerogative used?

“The law of Treasure Trove, as we call it in this country, is in a most chaotic state …. The law, such as it is, seems to rest on Royal Prerogative; but what the base of that prerogative is, no one seems exactly to know.”

Bram Stoker, The Mystery of the Sea, 1902

It’s a president’s prerogative to replace the chair of the Federal Reserve Board, if desired, when that person’s four-year term runs out. But most presidents reappoint if the chair wants to stay on the job.

"Keep Jerome Powell as Fed chair", Star Tribune, November 9, 2021

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