Word of the Day

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

daffing

[ daf-ing ]

noun

Scot. and North England.

merriment; playful behavior; foolishness.

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What is the origin of daffing?

Daffing, “merriment, playfulness,” also “insanity,” is a British dialect word used in northern England and Scotland (the only two writers of note to use the word are the Scotsmen Robert Burns and Robert Louis Stevenson). Daffing is a derivative of the Scottish verb daff “to play, make sport,” from the obsolete noun daff “fool, idiot, coward,” from the Middle English adjective dafte “well-mannered, gentle, humble,” and “uncouth, boorish, dull” (possibly from the sense “humble, good-natured”). Dafte is also the source of daft “senseless, stupid, crazy,” from Old English dæfte, defte “gentle.” Daffing entered English in the 16th century.

how is daffing used?

“Hoot-toot! hoot-toot!” said Cluny. “It was all daffing; it’s all nonsense.”

Robert Louis Stevenson, Kidnapped, 1886

He must have had a mind full of variety and wide human sympathy almost Shakespearian, who could step from the musings of Windsor … to the lasses in their gay kritles, and Hob and Raaf with their rustic ” daffing,” as true to the life as the Ayrshire clowns of Burns ….

Margaret Oliphant, Royal Edinburgh, 1890
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Tuesday, September 03, 2019

hive mind

[ hahyv mahynd ]

noun

Psychology, Sociology.

a collective consciousness, analogous to the behavior of social insects, in which a group of people become aware of their commonality and think and act as a community, sharing their knowledge, thoughts, and resources: the global hive mind that has emerged with sites like Twitter and Facebook.

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What is the origin of hive mind?

The meaning of the term hive mind, “a collective consciousness, analogous to the behavior of social insects,” is pretty creepy to most of us. The phrase, appropriately enough, first appeared in Galaxy Science Fiction, an American pulp science fiction magazine, in 1950.

how is hive mind used?

When I searched, I always selected the videos with the most views first. The wisdom of the so-called hive mind would guide me ….

Dana Spiotta, "Down the Rabbit Hole of D.I.Y.," The New Yorker, August 28, 2017

… it also has an exceptionally well-organized reference section, summarizing the conclusions of the hive mind on ingredients, the identification and treatment of certain skin conditions, the best products, and how to build an effective routine with them.

Julie Beck, "How Skin Care Became an At-Home Science Experiment," The Atlantic, March 9, 2018
Monday, September 02, 2019

operose

[ op-uh-rohs ]

adjective

done with or involving much labor.

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What is the origin of operose?

Operose is a borrowing from the Latin adjective operōsus “busy, active, painstaking, taking or involving much care.” Operōsus is a derivative of the noun opus (stem oper-) “labor, work, a work” and the adjective suffix –ōsus, meaning “full of, abounding in.” Opus comes from an uncommon Proto-Indo-European root op– “to work, produce in quantity.” In Oscan, the most conservative of the Italic languages, the root appears in the verbal adjective úpsannam (in form equivalent to Latin operandam, and both derived from Italic opesandam) “to be built, to be made.” Sanskrit derives the noun ápas “work” from op-, and Avestan the compound hvapah– “good work.” Operose entered English in the 16th century.

how is operose used?

In reality no problem can be imagined more operose, than that of decomposing the sounds of words into four and twenty simple elements or letters, and again finding these elements in all other words.

William Godwin, An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, 1793

So long as we insist upon approaching them through the operose and roundabout method of dead-language studies, schooldays will flee away, and the object will not be accomplished.

William P. Atkinson, "Liberal Education of the Nineteenth Century," Popular Science Monthly, Vol. 4, November 1873

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