Word of the Day

Saturday, May 05, 2018

cinquefoil

[ singk-foil ]

noun

any of several plants belonging to the genus Potentilla, of the rose family, having yellow, red, or white five-petaled flowers, as P. reptans (creeping cinquefoil) of the Old World, or P. argentea (silvery cinquefoil) of North America.

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What is the origin of cinquefoil?

The English noun cinquefoil comes from Middle French cincfoille “five leaves.” Cincfoille corresponds to Latin quīnque folia, a translation of Greek pentáphyllon, literally “five leaves,” and the name of the creeping cinquefoil (Potentilla reptans) or the silvery cinquefoil (P. argentea). Cinquefoil entered English in the 15th century.

how is cinquefoil used?

Cinquefoil, with small yellow blossom, and ranunculus, with glossy yellow cup, edged the sunny roads …

Janet Lewis, The Trial of Sören Qvist, 1947

This was my curious labor all summer,–to make this portion of the earth’s surface, which had yielded only cinquefoil, blackberries, johnswort, and the like, before, sweet wild fruits and pleasant flowers, produce instead this pulse.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854
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Friday, May 04, 2018

sith

[ sith ]

adverb, conjunction, preposition

since.

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What is the origin of sith?

In English sith is an archaic or dialect word whose functions as an adverb, preposition, and conjunction have been taken over by since. The Old English siththa is a variant of siththan (originally sīth thām “after that, subsequent to”), an adverbial and prepositional phrase formed from the comparative adverb sīth “subsequently, later” (akin to German seit “since”) and thām, the dative of the demonstrative pronoun, the phrase meaning “subsequent to that, after that.”

how is sith used?

… for ever sith the lord Clisson turned French, he never loved him.

Jean Froissart (1333?– c.1400), The Chronicles of Froissart, translated by John Bourchier, 1523–25

“Of course you see now, Sir Thomas, how ill a match Master John Feversham should have been for Blanche.” “Wherefore?” was the short answer. “Sith he is no longer the heir.”

Emily Sarah Holt, Clare Avery, 1876
Thursday, May 03, 2018

forgetive

[ fawr-ji-tiv, fohr- ]

adjective

Archaic. inventive; creative.

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What is the origin of forgetive?

At first glance forgetive looks like a derivative of forget, to be pronounced with a hard g, accented on the second syllable, and meaning something like “forgetful.” It is, however, a coinage by Shakespeare, and appears in Henry IV, Part 2 (1596-99). Forgetive, obscure in its etymology and meaning, is usually interpreted as a derivation of the verb forge “to beat into shape, form by hammering” and meaning “creative, inventive.”

how is forgetive used?

O quick and forgetive power!

Dante Alighieri (written c. 1308–21), The Vision: or, Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise, of Dante Alighieri, translated by Henry Francis Cary, 1814

A good sherris-sack hath a two-fold operation in it. It … makes it apprehensive quick, forgetive, full of nimble fiery and delectable shapes …

William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 2, 1623

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