Word of the Day

Saturday, September 29, 2018

diapason

[ dahy-uh-pey-zuhn, -suhn ]

noun

Music. a full, rich outpouring of melodious sound.

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What is the origin of diapason?

The English noun diapason comes from the Latin noun diapāsōn “musical interval of the octave,” extracted from the Greek phrase dià pāsôn (chordôn) “through all (the notes),” from the full phrase hē dià pāsôn chordôn symphōnía “the concord through all the notes of the scale.” Diapason entered English in the 14th century.

how is diapason used?

… and from the dell below rose in the night, now the monotonous chanting of the frogs, and now, as some great bull-frog took the note, a diapason worthy of a Brescian organ.

Stanley J. Weyman, Count Hannibal, 1901

… [Harley] concluded a speech which, for popular effect, had never been equalled in that hall, amidst a diapason of cheers that threatened to bring down the rafters.

Edward Bulwer Lytton, My Novel; or, Varieties in English Life, 1853
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Friday, September 28, 2018

applesauce

[ ap-uhl-saws ]

noun

Slang. nonsense; bunk.

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What is the origin of applesauce?

Applesauce is a straightforward compound noun. The original sense is first recorded in the 17th century. The American slang term first appears in Ring Lardner (1885–1933) and then in the novel Appointment in Samarra (1934) by John O’Hara (1905–70).

how is applesauce used?

Nonsense! Fiddlesticks! Baloney! Phoo! Poo! Poppycock! Bah! Twaddle! Don’t be silly! My eye! In your hat! That’s pure applesauce!

Dean Koontz, Life Expectancy, 2004

The opinion offers several new candidates for a master list of Scalia’s best turns-of-phrase, which should be published as a book as far as we are concerned. One example: the majority’s reasoning? “Pure applesauce,” he wrote.

Elise Viebeck, "Scalia on King ruling: 'Pure applesauce'," Washington Post, June 25, 2015
Thursday, September 27, 2018

gnathonic

[ na-thon-ik ]

adjective

sycophantic; fawning.

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What is the origin of gnathonic?

The English adjective gnathonic comes from Latin gnathōnicus, an adjective derivative of Gnathō (inflectional stem Gnathōn-), the name of a sycophant and parasite in Eunuchus, a comedy by the Latin playwright Terence (Publius Terentius Afer, c190–c159 b.c.). Terence also coined the derivative plural noun Gnathōnicī “disciples of Gnatho” as a comic general term for sycophants and parasites. Gnathonic entered English in the 17th century.

how is gnathonic used?

That Jack’s is somewhat of a gnathonic and parasitic soul, or stomach, all Bideford apple-women know …

Charles Kingsley, Westward Ho!, 1855

… Pandarus is not unlike familiar gnathonic persons who attach themselves to their betters, as he does both in his defense of Paris ad in his eagerness to satisfy the appetities [sic] of his prince.

D. W. Robertson Jr., "The Probable Date and Purpose of Chaucer's Troilus," Medievalia et Humanistica, No. 13, 1985

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