Word of the Day

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

déjà vu

[ dey-zhah voo, vyoo; French dey-zha vy ]

noun

the illusion of having previously experienced something actually being encountered for the first time.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of déjà vu?

The late, great social philosopher Lawrence “Yogi” Berra is credited with saying “It’s déjà vu all over again,” referring to Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris constantly hitting back-to-back home runs for the Yankees in the early ’60s. This “Yogi-ism” aside, déjà vu, literally “already seen,” is the illusion of having previously experienced something actually being encountered for the first time, a term used in psychology. The phrase is French; it was first used and perhaps coined by Emile Boirac (1851–1917), a French philosopher and parapsychologist. Déjà “already” comes from Old French des ja “from now on”; des comes from Vulgar Latin dex or de ex, a combination of Latin prepositions “of, from” and ex “out, out of.” Ja “now, already,” comes from the Latin adverb jam with the same meaning. Vu comes from Vulgar Latin vidūtus or vedūtus, equivalent to Latin vīsus, past participle of vidēre “to see.” Déjà vu entered English in the early 20th century.

how is déjà vu used?

Trapped in a time loop: That’s how one man felt because of his recurring episodes of deja vu.

Bahar Gholipour, "A strange case of deja vu, again and again and again." Washington Post, January 5, 2015

A person experiencing déjà vu is no more likely to accurately predict what they’re going to see around the next corner than someone who is blindly guessing.

Michelle Starr, "Scientists Have Recreated Déjà Vu in The Lab, And It's Less Spooky Than You'd Think," ScienceAlert, March 6, 2018

Listen to the word of the day

déjà vu

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.
Monday, July 13, 2020

bellicose

[ bel-i-kohs ]

adjective

inclined or eager to fight; aggressively hostile; belligerent; pugnacious.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of bellicose?

Bellicose comes directly from Latin bellicōsus “warlike, fond of war,” ultimately from the noun bellum “war, warfare” and the adjective suffix –ōsus “full of, abounding in,” the source, via Anglo French and Old French, of the English suffixes –ose and –ous. The usual classical form bellum comes from preclassical duellum (the further origin of the noun is unknown), which remained in classical Latin as a poetic and archaic variant of bellum. Duellum in Vulgar and Medieval Latin developed the sense “an arranged combat between two people, according to a code of procedure,” English duel, from a mistaken etymological connection with duo “two.” Bellicose entered English in the second half of the 15th century.

how is bellicose used?

I was always inappropriately dressed, and inappropriately calibrated in tone: In one instance, I was too deferential; in another, too bellicose

Ta-Nehisi Coates, "My President Was Black," The Atlantic, January/February 2017 

Although North Korea has often sounded incorrigibly bellicose, it has proved​ to be a shrewd ​strategist capable of judging when to throttle up the tensions and when to pull back on them.

, "For North Korea, Blowing Hot and Cold Is Part of the Strategy," New York Times, June 24, 2020

Listen to the word of the day

bellicose

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00
Sunday, July 12, 2020

rhathymia

[ ruh-thahy-mee-uh ]

noun

carefree behavior; light-heartedness.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of rhathymia?

Rhathymia “carefree behavior, lightheartedness” comes straight from Greek rhāthȳmía (also rhāithȳmía, rhāḯthȳmía) “easiness of temper, taking things easy.” Rhāthȳmía is a derivative of the adjective rhā́ithȳmos “easygoing, good-tempered,” but also “frivolous; indifferent, slack.” The first part of rhāthȳmía is the adverb rhã, rhéa, rheīa “easily, lightly” (its further etymology is unknown). The second element of rhāthȳmía is a derivative of the noun thȳmós “soul, spirit, mind, life, breath.” The combining form of thȳmós, –thȳmía, is used in English in the formation of compound nouns denoting mental disorders, such as dysthymia, alexithymia, and cyclothymia. Rhathymia entered English in the first half of the 20th century.

how is rhathymia used?

Rhathymia is the preferred mode of presentation of the self.

Donald Barthelme, "Paraguay," The New Yorker, September 6, 1969

From this sprang slackness, rhathymia, long delays in reaching decisions or paying out salaries, and downright callousness in ignoring positive distress.

E. G. Turner, "Ptolemaic Egypt," The Cambridge Ancient History, Vol. 7, Part 1, 2nd ed., 1984

Listen to the word of the day

rhathymia

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.