Word of the Day

Sunday, May 23, 2021

dentifrice

[ den-tuh-fris ]

noun

a paste, powder, liquid, or other preparation for cleaning the teeth.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of dentifrice?

Dentifrice, “a paste or other preparation for cleaning the teeth,” comes via Middle French from Latin dentifricium, a compound of denti-, the stem and combining form of dens “tooth,” and –fricium, a derivative of the verb fricāre “to rub, chafe, massage.” The Romans made a dentifrice of the ashes of murex shells, which is not recommended by the American Dental Association. Dentifrice entered English in the first half of the 15th century.

how is dentifrice used?

The feverish marketing race in the dentifrice industry is continuing. The Colgate-Palmolive Company is the latest entrant to come up with something new—toothpaste in an aerosol container.

Carl Spielvogel, "Advertising: Aerosol Toothpaste Container," New York Times, January 20, 1958

Her most striking feature was her radiant operatic smile, which she claimed to maintain through the use of a pink dentifrice called Toreador.

Francine du Plessix Gray, Them: A Memoir of Parents, 2005

Listen to the word of the day

dentifrice

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.
Saturday, May 22, 2021

sartorial

[ sahr-tawr-ee-uhl, -tohr- ]

adjective

of or relating to clothing or style or manner of dress.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of sartorial?

The adjective sartorial, “relating to tailors or tailoring,” is a derivative of the Late Latin noun sartor (inflectional stem sartōr-) “a tailor,” a derivative of the verb sarcīre “to patch, mend.” One of the many duties of Roman censors was to let out contracts for the repair and maintenance of public buildings, roads, bridges, etc., the technical phrase for these operations being sarta tecta (neuter plural) “repairs,” literally “mended roofs, patched roofs, weatherproof buildings.” But as Rome’s power grew, so did opportunities for corruption in the competition for lucrative contracts. Sartorial entered English in the first half of the 19th century.

how is sartorial used?

At least at first, sweatpants followed a common sartorial route. … Items of clothing tend to become divorced from their origins as they become wardrobe staples, and the pipeline from sports to everyday life has been a fruitful one for our closets.

Amanda Mull, "America's Most Hated Garment," The Atlantic, December 8, 2020

The Duke’s style was in direct contrast to the stodgy, hidebound and somewhat half-hearted sartorial style of his father-in-law, King George VI. Phillip, as an energetic sportsman (sailing, cricket, polo), exhibited a flair for wearing clothes comfortably and without controversy.

Nick Sullivan, "Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Was Always Dressed for the Occasion," Esquire, April 9, 2021

Listen to the word of the day

sartorial

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00
Friday, May 21, 2021

plenipotent

[ pluh-nip-uh-tuhnt ]

adjective

invested with or possessing full power.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of plenipotent?

The adjective plenipotent,“invested with or possessing full power,” comes from Late Latin plēnipotent– (stem of plēnipotēns), which is composed of plēni-, the combining form of plēnus “full” and potent-, the combining form of potēns, the present participle of posse “to be able, have power.” Plenipotent is not as common in English as its close relative, the adjective and noun plenipotentiary (as a noun, plenipotentiary usually refers to a diplomat with full power to conduct business or negotiations.) Plenipotent entered English in 1639; plenipotentiary in 1646.

how is plenipotent used?

In his youth he drudged 12 hours a day, at a salary of 4 shillings a week ($1.00). Last week he welcomed to the sumptuous mayoral board a company of diners plenipotent and distinguished.

"British Commonwealth of Nations: At the Guildhall," Time, November 23, 1925

Nature, impassive and plenipotent, waits to reward or punish us.

Julia Whitty, "The Thirteenth Tipping Point," Mother Jones, November/December 2006

Listen to the word of the day

plenipotent

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.