Word of the Day

Word of the day

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

diasporic

[ dahy-uh-spawr-ik, ‐spor-ik ]

adjective

of, being, or relating to any group that has been dispersed outside its traditional homeland, either involuntarily or by migration.

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What is the origin of diasporic?

Diasporic “of or relating to any group that has been dispersed outside its traditional homeland” is formed from the Ancient Greek noun diasporá “scattering, dispersion,” from the preposition diá “through, across” and the noun sporá “sowing, seed,” the latter from the verb speírein “to sow.” This verb comes from the Proto-Indo-European root sper- “to strew,” which is also the source of English spread, spritz, and sprout as well as Ancient Greek spérma “seed” (compare sperm) and sporás “strewn, scattered” (compare sporadic). Another possible cognate of diasporic is Latin spargere “to scatter,” the source of words such as aspersion, disperse, and sparse. Diasporic was first recorded in English in the early 1800s.

how is diasporic used?

During the early days of Cahokia, around 1050, emissaries from the city traveled north to sites in what is now Wisconsin, spurring the local creation of platform mounds and sculpted landscapes similar to those in the Cahokian heartland .… In each place where Cahokians remade themselves, they contended with local communities, as well as their individual memories of their homeland. Cahokian migrants made houses that mimicked those at home; they built according to celestial alignments from home; and in diasporic settings, they made iconographic designs honoring mythic heroes from their homeland.

Jayur Mehta, “Cahokian culture spread across eastern North America 1,000 years ago in an early example of diaspora,” Conversation, October 30, 2020

Stepping in its modern form draws from African, African-American and Caribbean traditional moves and group dances. Often attributed to a way of unspoken communication in diasporic communities, it most notably evolved into a celebratory practice choreographed by Pan-Hellenic greek organizations. From college campuses nationwide, stepping was used as a way for fraternities and sororities to show solidarity, and quite frankly, show off their synchronized dance skills.

Danielle Kwateng-Clark, "These Images of Black Sororities and Fraternities Stepping Show The True Beauty of the Artform," Essence, October 26, 2020
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Word of the day

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

kith

[ kith ]

noun

acquaintances, friends, neighbors, or the like; persons living in the same general locality and forming a more or less cohesive group.

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What is the origin of kith?

Kith “persons living in the same general locality and forming a cohesive group” derives from Old English cȳththu “kinship, knowledge” and is related to couth, an archaic adjective meaning “known, acquainted with,” and uncouth “awkward, clumsy.” Old English cȳththu derives from the Proto-Indo-European root gnō- “to know,” which is the source of numerous knowledge- and ability-related terms, such as English can, cunning, and ken; Latin nōscere and cognōscere “to learn, get to know” (compare cognition, notice, and recognize) and ignōrāre (compare ignorant); and Ancient Greek gignṓskein “to know” (compare agnostic and diagnosis). Kith was first recorded in English before the 10th century.

how is kith used?

I learned something interesting today from Nanny. I asked what it meant when people talked about kith and kin. I know kin means family and Nanny said that kin means people who are blood relations to you or who are accepted as family even though they might not be blood relations, but kith is people that you are meant to be couth to. Nanny told me that the word comes from couth and uncouth, and that it is probably Anglo-Saxon.

Jane A. Adams, Kith and Kin, 2018

As far as the role of actors and performers went, quarantine viewing was characterized, too, by a kind of category confusion. Celebrities boldly crossed dividing lines between genres, mediums, and formats …. And what of actual reality-TV stars? They were being held to the same standards as the rest of the world, forced to confront political realities that were previously beyond their kith.

Naomi Fry, "The Year in Quarantine Viewing," The New Yorker, December 30, 2020
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Word of the day

Monday, December 27, 2021

inspissate

[ in-spis-eyt ]

verb (used with or without object)

to thicken, as by evaporation; make or become dense.

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What is the origin of inspissate?

Inspissate “to thicken, as by evaporation” derives from Latin inspissāre “to thicken,” from the adjective spissus “thick.Spissus is of uncertain ultimate origin but may be cognate to Ancient Greek spídios “wide” and spidnón “thick,” and its other descendants include English spissitude “the condition of a fluid thickened almost to a solid,” French épais “thick,” and Spanish espeso “dense.” Inspissate was first recorded in English in the 1620s.

how is inspissate used?

On the coast the principal ports and towns supply themselves with sea salt evaporated in the rudest way. Pits sunk near the numerous lagoons and back-waters allow saline particles to infiltrate; the contents, then placed in a pierced earthenware pot, are allowed to strain into a second beneath. They are inspissated by boiling, and are finally dried in the sun, when the mass assumes the form of sand.

Sir Richard Francis Burton, The Lake Regions of Central Africa: A Picture of Exploration, Vol. 2, 1860

Anna and I got as gussied up as grad students could and were soon seduced not only by the food at Maxim’s but also by the belle époque decor …. I remember having duck l’orange …. Dad had something with beef in it, Anna a lobster thermidor with a sauce so viscous that two George Foremans couldn’t have finished it. There was sauce on everything, all inspissated with butter, flour, crème fraîche. To me, it was all the hautest of haute, and delicious.

Jonathan Reynolds, "The Death of French Food, Part Deux," New York Times, August 6, 2000
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