Word of the Day

Friday, September 21, 2018

coup de foudre

[ kooduh foo-druh ]

noun

love at first sight.

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What is the origin of coup de foudre?

In French coup de foudre, literally “a clap of thunder,” means “love at first sight.” Modern French coup is a development of Old French coup, colp “a blow, strike,” from Late Latin colpus, from Latin colaphus, from Greek kólaphos “a slap.” French foudre “lightning” comes from Latin fulgura, the plural of the neuter noun fulgur “lightning.” Coup de foudre entered English in the 18th century.

how is coup de foudre used?

Do you believe in love at first sight? The coup de foudre, the heart falling into the stomach, the moment when Cupid’s arrow breaches the iron armor of even the hardest of hearts?

Sally Christie, The Sisters of Versailles, 2015

I mean, the coup de foudre is wonderful–seeing someone for the first time across a room and just feeling this huge surge of necessity, the knowledge that you want to be with them. But it’s not the only way. Increasingly I’m coming around to the view that the other kind is better.

Simon Brett, Penultimate Chance Saloon, 2005
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Thursday, September 20, 2018

dandle

[ dan-dl ]

verb

to move (a baby, child, etc.) lightly up and down, as on one's knee or in one's arms.

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What is the origin of dandle?

The English verb dandle has no clear etymology. It looks akin to the Italian noun dandola, dondola “a (child’s) doll” and the verb dandolare “to rock, swing, dangle, dandle,” but there is no recorded evidence associating the Italian dandolare with English dandle. Dandle entered English in the 16th century.

how is dandle used?

… Paul would want me to dandle his baby on my knee. There is a time to dandle, and a time to watch a limited amount of dandling from the comfort and security of a dry easy chair across the room.

Gregory Mcdonald, Exits and Entrances, 1988

… I would like quiet, books to read, a wife to love me, and some children to dandle on my knee.

William Makepeace Thackeray, The Virginians, 1858–59
Wednesday, September 19, 2018

psittacine

[ sit-uh-sahyn, -sin ]

adjective

of or relating to parrots.

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What is the origin of psittacine?

The English adjective psittacine comes straight from Latin psittacinus, which comes straight from the Greek adjective psittákinos, a derivative of the noun psittakós “parrot” and the common adjective suffix -inos. Sittakós and bittakós, variant spellings of psittakós, confirm what one would expect, that psittakós is not a native Greek word. Psittacine entered English in the 19th century.

how is psittacine used?

In 1930, the U.S. Health Service clamped down on the importation of psittacine birds, other than a few permitted to research institutions, zoos, and private parrot fanciers returning from Europe with uninfected birds they had owned for at least six months.

, "New Deal for Parrots," The New Yorker, February 2, 1952

Now the psittacine tribe can claim another brainy feat: tool use. Researchers at the University of York and the University of St. Andrews observed captive greater vasa parrots … using date pits and pebbles to pulverize cockle shells.

Michelle Z. Donahue, "14 Fun Facts About Parrots," Smithsonian, January 5, 2016

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