Word of the Day

Monday, February 01, 2021

diegetic

[ dahy-uh-jet-ik ]

adjective

happening within or being the created world of a story.

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What is the origin of diegetic?

Diegetic, “happening within or being the created world of a story,” is a technical term used in literary criticism, both in ancient Greek and in modern English. Its Greek original is diēgētikόs, a variant of diēgēmatikόs “pertaining to a narrative;” Aristotle uses both variants in the Poetics with the noun poíēsis “poetry” (i.e., “narrative poetry”). Both adjectives are derivatives of the noun diḗgēsis “narration, narrative” and derive from the verb diēgeîsthai “to set out in detail, describe.” Diegetic entered English in the second half of the 20th century.

how is diegetic used?

The choir ceases being underscore and becomes diegetic—that is, part of the movie’s fictional space, hearable by its characters. The emperor’s malignant music has seeped out of the soundtrack and into the world of the film.

Frank Lehman, "How John Williams’s Star Wars Score pulls us to the dark side," Washington Post, December 13, 2019

Scholars speak of two types of film music: diegetic, in which characters in a movie either perform music or listen to it (“Play it, Sam”), and non-diegetic, which is music that accompanies the film’s action—in other words, music which we hear but which the characters don’t.

Russell Plat, "Benjamin Britten's 'Moonrise Kingdom'," The New Yorker, August 6, 2012

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Sunday, January 31, 2021

holophrase

[ hol-uh-freyz, hoh-luh- ]

noun

a word functioning as a phrase or sentence, as the imperative Go!

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What is the origin of holophrase?

A holophrase is “a word functioning as a phrase or sentence”; it comes from the Greek adjective hόlos (combining form holo-) “whole, entire,” and the noun phrásis “speech, way of speaking, expression.” Holophrases are the usual form of speech when children are learning to talk, as when your toddler stands in front of you with raised arms, and says “Up,” meaning “Pick me up.” Holophrase entered English at the end of the 19th century.

how is holophrase used?

In dispensing with parts of speech, and in presenting a total situation in one symbol, the holophrase might be called a ‘word gesture.’

Floyd Henry Allport, Social Psychology, 1924

The VC community seems to love its holophrases: “incubate,” “accelerate,” “longtail,” “freemium,” and of course, the mythical “unicorn.” These are all words that serve as shorthand for more involved concepts central to the investment universe.

Ajay Raju, "The Next Silicon Valley Will Be … Philly?" Philadelphia Citizen, October 23, 2018

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Saturday, January 30, 2021

fantabulous

[ fan-tab-yuh-luhs ]

adjective

extremely fine or desirable; excellent; wonderful.

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What is the origin of fantabulous?

Fantabulous, a slang term meaning “excellent, wonderful,” is a blend of fantastic and fabulous. The word first appeared in the US in 1953, in New Zealand in 1959, and in the UK by 1961.

how is fantabulous used?

Stolen money enhanced the flavor of everything it bought, made every game of pinball more fantabulous and fun.

Brent Staples, "I Oiled the Hinges," New York Times Magazine, October 8, 1995

“It was great,” Bobby said. “Fantabulous. Thanks for taking me. It was practically the best movie I ever saw.”

Stephen King, Hearts in Atlantis, 1999

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