Word of the Day

Thursday, October 25, 2018

dirigible

[ dir-i-juh-buh l, dih-rij-uh- ]

noun

an airship.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of dirigible?

Dirigible is a shortening of “dirigible balloon,” a translation of the French ballon dirigeable “steerable balloon.” Dirigible and dirigeable are derivatives of the Latin verb dīrigere “to guide, align, straighten” and the common suffix -ible “capable of, fit for.” Dirigible in its literal sense “capable of being directed” dates from the late 16th century; the sense referring to the balloon or airship dates from the late 19th century.

how is dirigible used?

With gas cells collapsing, framework breaking up, and controls out of order, the great dirigible had reared and plunged and finally had fallen 3,000 feet into the Pacific.

Edwin Teale, "Does Latest Disaster Spell Doom for the Dirigible?" Popular Science Monthly, May 1935

Being up in that tower was like being in a dirigible above the clouds.

Umberto Eco, "The Gorge," The New Yorker, March 7, 2005
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.
Wednesday, October 24, 2018

moonstruck

[ moon-struhk ]

adjective

dreamily romantic or bemused.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of moonstruck?

The original sense of moonstruck, “mentally deranged, insane,” first appears in Paradise Lost (1667) by John Milton (1608–74). Milton was astonishingly learned: he wrote poetry in Latin, Greek, and Italian; he translated Psalm 114 from Hebrew into Greek verse; he was a polemicist (or propagandist) for the English general, Puritan statesman, and Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell. Moonstruck is probably Milton’s own creation, a translation from Greek selēnóblētos “moonstruck, epileptic,” a compound of selḗnē “moon” and blētós “stricken, stricken with palsy,” a past participle of bállein ”to throw, hit (with a missile).” The sense of “dreamily romantic” dates from the mid-19th century.

how is moonstruck used?

He wanted to see her … Otherwise he wouldn’t have waited for nearly an hour like some moonstruck schoolboy and worried all the while about the reception he would receive.

Matt Braun, Indian Territory, 1985

The sonata was originally given the name that’s on your music. But an author renamed it the Moonlight Sonata. I like that name very much. … Because it’s music for a moonstruck man.

Herbjørg Wassmo, Dina's Book, translated by Nadia M. Christensen, 1994
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

hooly

[ hoo-lee, hy-lee ]

adverb

Scot. cautiously; gently.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of hooly?

Hooly in Scottish English is an adjective and adverb meaning “slow, cautious; slowly, cautiously.” It comes from Middle English hōly, from Old Norse hófligr “moderate” or its adverb hófliga “moderately,” derived from the noun hóf “moderation.” Hooly often forms part of the phrase hooly and fairly (fairly meaning “gently, softly, steadily, cautiously”). Hooly entered English in the 14th century.

how is hooly used?

Just to look that their tackle does not graze on the face o’ the crag, and to let the chair down, and draw it up hoolly and fairly–we will halloo when we are ready.

Sir Walter Scott, The Antiquary, 1816

Yet love is kittle and unruly, / And shou’d move tentily and hooly

Allan Ramsay, "To Robert Yarde of Devonshire," 1725

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.