Word of the Day

Sunday, November 10, 2019

cucullate

[ kyoo-kuh-leyt, kyoo-kuhl-eyt ]

adjective

resembling a cowl or hood.

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What is the origin of cucullate?

While cucullate may sound like it refers to the call of some bird, it actually means “resembling a cowl or hood,” an adjective emerging in the late 1700s, used especially to describe the shape of petals, sepals, leaves, etc. Cucullate derives from Latin Latin cucullātus “having a hood,” based on cucullus “covering, hood, cowl.” Cowl, the hooded garment worn by monks, also ultimately comes from Latin cucullus.

how is cucullate used?

The proximal portion of such “cucullate” petals may be hood-shaped and then forms a chamber enclosing the anthers.

C. Bayer and K. Kubitzki, "Malvaceae," The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants, Vol. 5, 2003

Transplantation experiments in Norway showed that when the normal form was moved to a quieter site it grew a new blade that was cucullate in form.

Colin Little and J. A. Kitching, The Biology of Rocky Shores, 1996
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Saturday, November 09, 2019

strepitous

[ strep-i-tuhs ]

adjective

boisterous; noisy.

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What is the origin of strepitous?

Strepitous comes from Latin strepitus “noise,” from strepere “to make noise, rattle, clatter.” Strepere also yields (through the verb obstrepere “to make noise at”) the Latin adjective obstreperus “clamorous.” Obstreperus is the source of a more familiar synonym for strepitous: obstreperous. Strepitous entered English in the late 1600s.

how is strepitous used?

The New Orleans-based songwriter … leans into more explicitly gospel territory here, letting his strepitous guitar take a backseat to an upright-piano melody and choral harmonies.

Rachel Horn, "Songs We Love: Benjamin Booker, 'Witness (Feat. Mavis Staples)'," NPR, March 9, 2017

The fair in its last years degenerated into the usual thing we understand nowadays as a fair: … a gaudy and strepitous saturnalia of roundabouts and mountebanks.

Charles G. Harper, The Old Inns of Old England, Vol. 1, 1906
Friday, November 08, 2019

salutary

[ sal-yuh-ter-ee ]

adjective

promoting or conducive to some beneficial purpose; wholesome.

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What is the origin of salutary?

Salutary ultimately comes from Latin salūs (inflectional stem salūt-) “health, welfare, safety.” In its sense of “promoting or conducive to some beneficial purpose; wholesome,” salutary entered English in the late 1400s. Salutary, in its sense of “favorable to or promoting health; healthful,” emerged in the mid-1600s. A synonym for salutary (“healthful”) is salubrious, which is also rooted in Latin salūs. Salūs could also mean “greeting,” as in greeting someone with “best wishes (for their well-being).” This meaning of salūs gave rise to the verb salūtāre “to greet, hail,” source of the English noun and verb salute.

how is salutary used?

After Gutenberg, books became widely available, setting off a cascade of salutary movements and innovations, including but not limited to the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the steam engine, journalism, modern literature, modern medicine, and modern democracy.

Andrew Marantz, "The Dark Side of Techno-Utopianism," The New Yorker, September 23, 2019

However salutary these tactics may be with regard to the evaporation of the national debt in the countries just mentioned, the fact is nevertheless incontestable that the gold mentality of the world remains unaffected.

Henry Miller, "Money and How It Gets That Way," Stand Still Like the Hummingbird, 1962

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