What People Are
Chutzpa is one of many colorful, and very useful, English words of Yiddish origin. Also commonly spelled chutzpah (among other forms), chutzpa was borrowed into English in the late 1800s from Yiddish khutspa “impudence; gall; audacity; nerve,” from Aramaic ḥūṣpā. Chutzpa often has a negative connotation, as in “The unruly siblings had the chutzpa to correct their father on manners.” The qualities of chutzpa, however, can also be positive, as in “The employees showed a great deal of chutzpa when they demanded pay raises.”
It takes a certain amount of chutzpah to write a book called “The Problem With Everything,” but chutzpah is something essayist and cultural critic Meghan Daum has always possessed in spades.
Selling these artifacts at these prices requires more than a list of customers with too much disposable income. It takes hard work, chutzpa and catalog copy that ignites neural brush fires in the amygdala.
by the fact itself; by the very nature of the deed: to be condemned ipso facto.
First recorded in English in the mid-1500s, ipso facto is an adverb that comes directly from the Latin phrase ipsō factō “by the fact itself, by the very fact.” Ipso facto is often used when the very fact that one thing occurs is a direct consequence of another, as in “Having won all the gold medals in the sport’s Olympic events, she was ipso facto the best gymnast in the world.” Latin factō is the ablative form of factum “deed, act, fact,” and ipsō is the ablative of ipsum “very, same, itself,” among other senses. Ipso appears in other Latin expressions used in English, especially in law, including eo ipso “by that very fact” and ipso jure “by the law itself.”
… the notion that cars made in Germany would ipso facto be better crafted than others … this would have seemed curious indeed just a generation before.
I had, it seemed, defined myself as a “popular” writer, and if one is popular, then, ipso facto, one is not to be taken seriously.
a gap or missing part, as in a manuscript, series, or logical argument; hiatus.
In Latin lacūna means “ditch, pit, gap, deficiency, hole, hole where water collects.” Modern French lagune “lagoon,” Italian laguna “lagoon,” and Spanish laguna “lagoon, gap” are obvious developments from lacūna. Lacūna in turn is a derivative of lacus “basin, tub, cistern, pond, lake,” the source (through Old French) of English lake. Latin lacus is also related to Scots Gaelic and Irish loch. Lacuna entered English in the 17th century.
I hardly know what to say after that, for there is a lacuna in the story, a line of verse missing from the elegy.
Attending to the mundane and the momentous, they punch in on the dark side of the clock, bridging the quiet lacuna between rush hours.
a hodgepodge; jumble; confused medley.
Gallimaufry is an unusual but delightful word for “a hodgepodge; jumble; confused medley.” It was borrowed into English in the mid-1500s from Middle French galimafree, a kind of stew or hash, apparently concocted from a mishmash of ingredients. Galimafree may be its own etymological jumble, probably a conflation of French galer “to amuse oneself” and Picard mafrer (Picard is a language spoken in northern France) “to gorge oneself.” Like gallimaufry, other terms for a “confused medley” originally named food items composed of a mix of ingredients, including farrago, hodgepodge, and potpourri.
Luncheons at Retta’s home were ridiculous affairs … There would be a gallimaufry of ices and trifles and toasts ….
Yet this gallimaufry of satire, real history, fake history, and score-settling … never loses that relentless, fatiguing quality that is the hallmark of all books written out of an obsession.
something for which a person is responsible; duty.
Devoir “something for which a person is responsible; duty” is an archaic word commonly found in the construction to do one’s devoir, as in, “She did her devoir as queen to ensure peace in the kingdom.” While its spelling and pronunciation have varied since it was recorded in Middle English (by the 1300s), devoir is ultimately from Old French devoir, from Latin dēbēre “to owe,” source of English debt. Devoir also appeared in the Middle English phrase putten in devoir “to make an effort, assume responsibility.” This phrase produced the verb endeveren, which became endeavor.
Mightily he strove to do his devoir in the field, for the fairer service and honour of his lord.
resembling a cowl or hood.
While cucullate may sound like it refers to the call of some bird, it actually means “resembling a cowl or hood,” an adjective emerging in the late 1700s, used especially to describe the shape of petals, sepals, leaves, etc. Cucullate derives from Latin Latin cucullātus “having a hood,” based on cucullus “covering, hood, cowl.” Cowl, the hooded garment worn by monks, also ultimately comes from Latin cucullus.
The proximal portion of such “cucullate” petals may be hood-shaped and then forms a chamber enclosing the anthers.
Transplantation experiments in Norway showed that when the normal form was moved to a quieter site it grew a new blade that was cucullate in form.
Strepitous comes from Latin strepitus “noise,” from strepere “to make noise, rattle, clatter.” Strepere also yields (through the verb obstrepere “to make noise at”) the Latin adjective obstreperus “clamorous.” Obstreperus is the source of a more familiar synonym for strepitous: obstreperous. Strepitous entered English in the late 1600s.
The New Orleans-based songwriter … leans into more explicitly gospel territory here, letting his strepitous guitar take a backseat to an upright-piano melody and choral harmonies.
The fair in its last years degenerated into the usual thing we understand nowadays as a fair: … a gaudy and strepitous saturnalia of roundabouts and mountebanks.