Word of the Day

Saturday, March 17, 2018

craic

[ krak ]

noun

fun and entertainment, especially good conversation and company (often preceded by the): Come for the beer, lads, and stay for the craic!

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What is the origin of craic?

Craic is an Irish Gaelic spelling that represents the English pronunciation of English crack and was then taken back into English. English crack was apparently introduced from Scots into Irish English via Northern Ireland (Ulster) in the mid-20th century and was thereafter adopted into Irish Gaelic and Irish English. In Scottish English and in northern English dialect, crack has the sense “chat, gossip,” which may be the source of craic. Alternatively, craic may be a shortening of crack “witty remark, wisecrack.” Craic entered English in the 20th century.

how is craic used?

The public bar’s men only so I haven’t been in since we got back. … I’ve been missing the craic there.

Patrick Taylor, Fingal O'Reilly, Irish Doctor, 2013

The craic now was two doors down, where a bunch of lads were drinking Harp lager, eating fish and chips, and playing what sounded like Dinah Washington from a portable record player on a long lead outside Bobby Cameron’s house.

Adrian McKinty, Gun Street Girl, 2015
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Friday, March 16, 2018

bunglesome

[ buhng-guh l-suh m ]

adjective

clumsy or awkward.

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What is the origin of bunglesome?

Bunglesome is an Americanism dating back to 1885–90.

how is bunglesome used?

He is a little awkward, a little bunglesome in starting, but if you would–could exercise just a little patience for a few days–a day, I am sure he would please you.

Oscar Micheaux, The Homesteader, 1917

To the traveler coming down from Florence to Rome in the summertime, the larger, more ancient city is bound to be a disappointment. It is bunglesome; nothing is orderly or planned; there is a tangle of electric wires and tramlines, a ceaseless clamor of traffic.

Elizabeth Spencer, The Light in the Piazza, 1960
Thursday, March 15, 2018

dekko

[ dek-oh ]

noun

British Slang. a look or glance.

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What is the origin of dekko?

It is hard to believe that dekko, originally British army slang meaning “to look; a look,” is related to dragon. Dekko and dragon both ultimately come from the Proto-Indo-European root derk- (and its variant dṛk-) “to see, look.” The form derk- forms Greek dérkesthai “to look”; the variant dṛk- forms the Greek aorist (a kind of past tense) édrakon “I saw, looked,” the aorist active participle drakṓn “looking,” and the noun drákōn “serpent, (huge) snake,” also the name of a winged mythical monster, half reptilian, half mammalian, whose look could kill. In Sanskrit the root derk- forms the causative verb darśáyati “(he) makes see.” The Sanskrit root darś-, dṛś- develops into the Hindi root dekh- “to see,” which forms the infinitive dekhnā “to see,” and the imperative dekho “look, see.” Dekko entered English in the late 19th century.

how is dekko used?

I’ll have a dekko at the furnace, and see what tools I need.

Helen Dunmore, The Lie, 2014

Oh yes, he’s here, replied Monteiro Rossi, but he doesn’t like to burst in just like that, he’s sent me on ahead to take a dekko.

Antonio Tabucchi, Pereira Declares, translated by Patrick Creagh, 1995

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