Word of the Day

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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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

circumferential

[ ser-kuhm-fuh-ren-shuh l ]

adjective

surrounding; lying along the outskirts; of, at, or near the circumference.

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What is the origin of circumferential?

Circumferential nowadays means only “surrounding, on the outskirts or periphery of.” In the late 17th century circumferential had the additional meaning “indirect, roundabout.” Circumferential entered English in the early 17th century.

how is circumferential used?

Now bees, as may be clearly seen by examining the edge of a growing comb, do make a rough, circumferential wall or rim all round the comb …

Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species, 1859

Far away in the circumferential wall a little doorway looked like Heaven, and he set off in a wild rush for it.

H. G. Wells, "The Country of the Blind," The Strand Magazine, April 1904
Tuesday, March 13, 2018

busticate

[ buhs-ti-keyt ]

verb

Northern U.S. to break into pieces.

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What is the origin of busticate?

Busticate is a facetious Northern US formation from bust “to burst” and -icate, on the model of the regularly formed rusticate “to go to the country.”

how is busticate used?

I’ll have a sipe more of coffee, but if I eat another bite, I’ll busticate.

Ivan Doig, This House of Sky, 1978

“Elephants really busticate trees,” said Brendan Washington-Jones.

Lawrence Anthony, The Last Rhinos, 2012

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