Word of the Day

Friday, August 31, 2018

copse

[ kops ]

noun

a thicket of small trees or bushes; a small wood.

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What is the origin of copse?

The noun copse, “thicket of small trees grown for periodic felling,” is a shortening of coppice (with the same meaning). Coppice comes from Old French colpeïz, copeïiz, coupeïz “woodland cleared of trees, a cutover,” a derivative from an assumed Vulgar Latin verb colpāre “to cut, chop,” ultimately from Latin colaphus “a punch (with the fist),” from Greek kólaphos “a slap, blow.” Copse entered English in the 16th century.

how is copse used?

In the tops of the dark pines at the corner of the copse, could the glance sustain itself to see them, there are finches warming themselves in the sunbeams.

Richard Jefferies, "Vignettes from Nature," The Hills and the Vale, 1909

Between moonrise and sunset I was stumbling through the braken of the little copse that was like a tuft of hair on the brow of the great white quarry.

Joseph Conrad and Ford Madox Ford, Romance, 1903
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Thursday, August 30, 2018

sudoriferous

[ soo-duh-rif-er-uhs ]

adjective

bearing or secreting sweat.

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What is the origin of sudoriferous?

The English adjective sudoriferous comes from Late Latin sūdōrifer, literally “sweat-bearing.” The Latin suffix -fer “carrying, bearing,” very familiar in English, comes from the verb ferre “to carry, bring, bear,” from the common Proto-Indo-European root bher- “to carry, bear,” source of Sanskrit bhárati, Greek phérein, Celtic (Old Irish) biru, Germanic (English) bear, and Slavic (Polish) bierać, all meaning “carry.” The Latin noun sūdor is a derivative of the verb sūdāre, from the Proto-Indo-European root sweid-, swoid- “to sweat” (swoid- becomes sūd- in Latin). The Germanic derivative of the Proto-Indo-European noun swoidos is swaitaz, which becomes swāt in Old English (English sweat). Sudoriferous entered English in the late 16th century.

how is sudoriferous used?

Jermaine’s nerves got the better of him and resulted in a rather sudoriferous audition.

Jodi Bradbury, "American Idol recap: Meet Jessica Phillips, Idol's newest star-crossed contestant," Christian Science Monitor, February 2, 2012

Although it may sound somewhat ridiculous to be mentioning football these sudoriferous days, the news is that Glenn Davis and Felix (Doc) Blanchard should be around again some time next month–on the screen, that is.

, "By Way of Report," New York Times, August 24, 1947
Wednesday, August 29, 2018

pathos

[ pey-thos, -thohs, -thaws ]

noun

the quality or power in an actual life experience or in literature, music, speech, or other forms of expression, of evoking a feeling of pity, or of sympathetic and kindly sorrow or compassion.

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What is the origin of pathos?

The English noun pathos comes directly from Greek páthos “suffering, sensation, experience,” related to the verb páschein “to suffer, be affected, feel.” Both the noun and the verb come from the Greek root penth-, ponth, path-. The root path- also forms the noun pátheia “suffering, feeling” and is the second element of apátheia, empátheia, and sympátheia, source of English apathy, empathy, and sympathy. From the root penth- Greek forms the word nēpenthḗs “banishing suffering,” (literally “unsuffering”), source of the English noun nepenthe, the name of a drug or plant that brings forgetfulness of pain and suffering. Pathos entered English in the 16th century.

how is pathos used?

Like all other music, it breathed passion and pathos, and emotions high or tender, in a tongue native to the human heart, wherever educated.

Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, 1850

Burnham says his overall aim was to use a middle school student to tell a story rooted in the same pathos that drives any good movie about a person’s deepest battles.

Sandra Gonzalez, "'Eighth Grade' makes the quiet horror of navigating early adolescence kind of beautiful," CNN, July 12, 2018

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