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Word of the day


[ kuhn-viv-ee-uhl ] [ kənˈvɪv i əl ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


friendly; agreeable.

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More about convivial

Convivial “friendly, agreeable” comes from Latin convīvium “feast,” which is based on the verb convīvere “to live together, dine together.” The prefix con- “with, together” may also appear as co-, col-, com-, or cor- depending on the letter that follows, as in coincidence, colleague, comfortable, and correct, respectively. The verb vīvere “to live” and its adjective equivalent, vīvus “alive,” are the source of vivacious, vivid, revive, and survival. Of the same origin is the Latin noun vīta “life,” which is the root of vital and vitamin. Convivial was first recorded in the 1660s.

how is convivial used?

Coffee-bar owners say that while space and rent can be considerations, they’re installing counters because they create a lively environment where it’s easy to have a quick, convivial exchange …. The conversation seems to happen over shorter drinks like espresso and coffee brewed by the cup. A four-ounce cortado is a pleasant drink at a bar stool. A 20-ounce latte demands a chair.

Oliver Strand, “The New Coffee Bars: Unplug, Drink, Go,” New York Times, August 24, 2010

Wine, for the ancient Greeks, was a pillar of civilization, to the point where Greek teetotalers were viewed with suspicion. Water-drinking, the Greeks believed, made people surly, curmudgeonly, and over-earnest. Wine-drinkers, in contrast, were convivial, creative, passionate, and fond of intellectual discourse.

Rebecca Rupp, “Cheers: Celebration Drinking Is an Ancient Tradition,” National Geographic, December 26, 2014
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[ biv-rost ] [ ˈbɪv rɒst ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


the rainbow bridge from Asgard, the world of the Aesir gods, to earth.

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More about Bifrost

Bifrost “the rainbow bridge of the gods” may look at first glance like a compound of Latin bi- “twice” and English frost, but it should come as little surprise that the name is of Old Norse origin instead. Old Norse is the ancestral language of Danish, Icelandic, Norwegian, and Swedish, and it was spoken throughout northern Europe 1000 years ago. In Old Norse, Bifrost (more accurately transliterated as Bifrǫst or Bifröst) is likely equivalent to bifa “to shake” and rǫst “league” or, more directly, “measure of length between two places of rest.” Old Norse and English are both Germanic languages, and while bifa does not have any relatives in modern English (except obsolete bive “to shake”), rǫst is cognate to English rest. Bifrost was first recorded in English in the late 18th century.

how is Bifrost used?

Bifrost was the strongest of bridges .… Rainbows often served as a path for gods in the mythic literature, and Bifrost was a classic example. The gods in the world above traveled down the rainbow to interact with the people on earth.

Tamra Andrews, Dictionary of Nature Myths: Legends of the Earth, Sea, and Sky, 1998

In its Tolkienian guise, Bifrost is most closely connected to the Bridge of Khazad-dûm, that bridge which the Fellowship must cross within the fiery heart of Moria. It is not at first obvious that the two bridges belong to one tradition …. Yet both bridges span a gap, a space, rather than a river or stream. Both are affiliated with fire.

Marjorie J. Burns, Perilous Realms: Celtic and Norse in Tolkien's Middle-earth, 2005
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[ sur-kuhm-am-byuh-leyt ] [ ˌsɜr kəmˈæm byəˌleɪt ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


to walk or go about or around, especially ceremoniously.

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More about circumambulate

Circumambulate “to walk around” is a compound of two Latin-origin stems: circum- “around” and ambul- “to walk.” As we learned from the recent Words of the Day circadian and circumstellar, circum- comes from Latin circus “circle,” which is the source of English terms such as circa, circular, and circumference. The stem ambul- comes from Latin ambulāre “to walk,” which gives rise to English amble, ambulance, and funambulist “tightrope walker.” In modern Romance languages, though nothing is certain, some linguists hypothesize that Latin ambulāre may be the root (following a long series of unusual sound changes) of Spanish andar “to walk” and French aller “to go” (as in the recent Word of the Day laisser-aller). Circumambulate was first recorded in the 1650s.

how is circumambulate used?

I’m proud to say I did circumambulate the gigantic, three-century-old Zamana tree. With branches that span the equivalent of a city block, it’s a tropical tree of life.

Ceil Miller Bouchet, “This is the Caribbean Paradise for Rum,” National Geographic, February 2, 2016

Circumambulation, an intentional, ceremonial circling of a sacred object, is an ancient ritual with roots in many world cultures …. [English professor and photographer David Robertson] explained that circumambulating Mt. Tam was a way for him to create meaning for himself in relation to the natural world.

Andrea Ross, “Circumambulating in COVID-Times: Joy and Solace on Mt. Tam During the Pandemic,” Bay Nature, April 8, 2021
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