Word of the Day

Thursday, April 08, 2021

cupidity

[ kyoo-pid-i-tee ]

noun

eager or excessive desire, especially to possess something; greed.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of cupidity?

Cupidity “excessive desire; greed” comes from Old French cupidité, from Latin cupiditās (inflectional stem cupiditāt-) “passionate desire, yearning, longing; greed; lust,” a derivative of the adjective cupidus, which has the same meanings. Cupidus is in turn derivative of the verb cupere “to wish, wish for, desire,” which (unfortunately) has no reliable etymology. Cupidity entered English in the 15th century.

how is cupidity used?

Their enemies are not man. They are intolerance, fanaticism, dictatorship, cupidity, hatred and discrimination which lie within the heart of man.

Thich Nhat Hanh to Rev. Martin Luther King, June 1, 1965, in Dialogue, 1965

He rushed with ravenous eagerness at every bait which was offered to his cupidity.

Thomas Babington Macaulay, The History of England from the Accession of James II, Vol. 5,

Listen to the word of the day

cupidity

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00
quiz icon
WHAT'S YOUR WORD IQ?
Think you're a word wizard? Try our word quiz, and prove it!
TAKE THE QUIZ
arrows pointing up and down
SYNONYM OF THE DAY
Double your word knowledge with the Synonym of the Day!
SEE TODAY'S SYNONYM

Get A Vocabulary Boost In Your Inbox

Get the Word of the Day every day!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Wednesday, April 07, 2021

megillah

[ muh-gil-uh; Sephardic Hebrew muh-gee-lah ]

noun

a lengthy, detailed explanation or account.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of megillah?

Megillah, a slang term usually meaning “a lengthy, detailed, complicated story, especially a tedious one” comes from Yiddish megile. Megile is part of the Yiddish phrase di gantse megile “the whole (tedious) story.” The Yiddish noun comes from Biblical Hebrew məgillāh “scroll, roll, volume,” a collective noun generally referring to any of the five Biblical books assigned for public recitation in synagogues on certain Jewish feast days, but specifically to the recitation of the Book of Esther during Purim “(the Feast of) Lots,” celebrated in late winter or early spring. Məgillāh is a derivative of the verb gālal “to roll.” Megillah entered English in its liturgical sense in the mid-17th century; its slang sense dates from the early 20th century.

how is megillah used?

It was Bella’s daughter, Liz Abzug, who suggested that Mr. Fierstein create a play about her mother. … (She actually hoped he would write a musical, but that’s a whole other megillah.)

Katherine Rosman, "Being Bella? Harvey Fierstein Doesn't Need a Dress to Try," New York Times, October 10, 2019

It’s long, which is a given when you consider the authorship — clocking in at a shade over 16 hours, this eight-episode megillah’s running time falls somewhere in between Burns’ look at WWII (The War) and his recent exploration of the conflict in Vietnam (The Vietnam War).

David Fear, "Country Music' Review: Ken Burns' Epic, Essential Look at an American Artform," Rolling Stone, September 14, 2019

Listen to the word of the day

megillah

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00
Tuesday, April 06, 2021

adminicle

[ ad-min-i-kuhl ]

noun

an aid; auxiliary.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of adminicle?

Adminicle “an aid; auxiliary” comes ultimately from Latin adminiculum “prop (for vines), a stake or pole for support”; in Roman legal usage adminiculum means “an argument supporting a claim.” Adminiculum is a compound beginning with the Latin preposition and prefix ad, ad– “to, toward, at,” and ending with the diminutive suffix –culum, which is the source of the English suffixes –cule (as in molecule and ridicule) and, via Old French, –cle (as in article and canticle). The midsection mini– of adminiculum is problematic, but it is probably related to moenia “defensive walls of a town.” Adminiculum entered English in the mid-16th century.

how is adminicle used?

In fact it is very evident that to Dr. Osgood Classical Mythology is an adminicle to the study of Milton and not a study in itself.

"Brief Mention", American Journal of Philology, Vol. 21 No. 82, 1900

His routine of labor, while so burdened with woe, would have crushed him, were it not for the memory of his love, which was an adminicle to his strength.

Anson D. Eby, Showers of Blessing, 1908

Listen to the word of the day

adminicle

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00

Get A Vocabulary Boost In Your Inbox

Get the Word of the Day every day!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.