the state of being disconcerted; confusion; embarrassment.
Discomfiture comes from Middle English desconfiture, discomfitoure, discomfiture (and many other spelling variants) “the fact of being defeated in battle; the act of defeating in battle.” One of the first occurrences of the word is in Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales (after 1387). The Middle English word comes from Old French desconfiture “a defeat, a rout.” The English sense “frustration of hopes or plans,” weakened to “confusion” or “embarrassment,” occurs at the beginning of the 15th century.
She had her cry out, a good, long cry; and when much weeping had dulled the edge of her discomfiture she began to reflect that all was not yet lost.
A former critical-care nurse as well as an academic philosopher, Froderberg has carefully contemplated body, soul and their fragile nexus. That pays off superbly as the air thins, and the surrealism of the terrain, the hallucinatory wanderings of oxygen-robbed brains and the discomfiture of sapped bodies converge cinematically.
ruined; done for; demolished.
The adjective kaput “ruined, done for; out of order,” is used only in predicate position, not in attributive position; that is, you can only say “My car is kaput,” but not “I’ve got a kaput car.” Kaput comes from the German colloquial adjective kaputt “broken, done for, out of order, (of food) spoiled,” which was taken from the German idiom capot machen, a partial translation of the French idioms faire capot and être capot, “to win (or lose) all the tricks (in the card game piquet).” Faire capot literally means “to make a bonnet or hood,” and its usage in piquet may be from an image of throwing a hood over, or hoodwinking one’s opponent. Unsurprisingly, kaput became widely used in English early in World War I.
“Is it as bad as that?” He shook his head. “It’s worse. If we get caught, all this is kaput. Kaput, you hear? Gone. Lost. Forever.”
The business of a woman I know has gone kaput and 15 employees are facing the sack.
succeeding or future generations collectively: Judgment of this age must be left to posterity.
Posterity “future generations” is a straightforward word. It comes from Middle English posterite, posteriti “a person’s offspring, a family’s successive generations,” partly from Old French posterite, and partly from Latin posteritās (stem posteritāt-), which has the same meanings as in Old French and Middle English. Posteritās is a derivative of the adjective posterus “future, later”; its plural, posterī, means “one’s descendants; future generations.” Latin posterior “later, later of two, younger” is the comparative of posterus, and is familiar enough in English (the humorous, colloquial noun posterior or posteriors in the sense “buttocks” originated within English in the early 17th century; the sense does not exist in Latin). Posterity entered English in the 14th century.
Climate change is a tragedy, but Rich makes clear that it is also a crime—a thing that bad people knowingly made worse, for their personal gain. That, I suspect, is one of the many aspects to the climate change battle that posterity will find it hard to believe, and impossible to forgive.
The act of 1866 gave the Freedmen’s Bureau its final form, the form by which it will be known to posterity and judged of men.
a person's area of skill, knowledge, authority, or work: to confine suggestions to one's own bailiwick.
Bailiwick nowadays means “one’s area of skill, knowledge, authority, or work,” and less commonly, its original sense “the district within which a bailiff has jurisdiction.” Bailiwick comes from Middle English baillifwik (bailliwik, bailewik), a compound noun formed from bailliff “an officer of the court; an official with minor local authority” and wick (wic, wike, wicke) “dwelling, home, village, town, city,” from Old English wīc “dwelling place, abode,” from Latin vīcus “village; a block (in a town or city often forming an administrative unit),” which appears in placenames such as Sandwich (on the coast of Kent), Old English Sandwic, Sondwic “market town on sandy soil, or Warwick “village by the weir (low dam).” Bailiwick entered English in the mid-15th century.
He was spooning up gelato but talking about music, which is his bailiwick, if it’s anybody’s.
I wasn’t surprised to see him there because this was an action venue that was right in his political bailiwick.
up to this time; until now: a fact hitherto unknown.
The adverb hitherto, “up to this time or place,” comes from Middle English hiderto; the modern spelling with th replacing d first appears in Wycliffe’s Bible (1382). Hitherto seems to have completely replaced hiderto by the time of Tyndale’s translation of the Bible in 1526. Hiderto first appears in English in the first half of the 13th century.
The attention suddenly lavished on this hitherto obscure doctrine is surprising, but heartening, to anyone who has long labored in the civil-rights field …
A team of archaeologists found “new evidence for hitherto unknown features or monumental structures” about two miles northeast of Stonehenge …
asserting, resulting from, or characterized by belief in the equality of all people, especially in political, economic, or social life.
The English adjective and noun egalitarian “asserting, resulting from, or characterized by belief in the equality of all people, especially in political, economic, or social life,“ comes from the French adjective and noun égalitaire of the same meaning. Égalitaire is a derivative of the noun égalité “equality,” but in English égalité is usually used in allusion to the French Revolutionary motto liberté, égalité, fraternité “liberty, equality, fraternity.” (Égalité first appears in English in 1794 in a letter written by vice president John Adams to his wife Abigail: “I hope my old Friend, will never meet the Fate of another Preacher of Égalité, who was I fear almost as sincere as himself.”) Égalité is a derivative of the adjective égal, from the Latin adjective aequālis “equal (in amount, size, duration, etc.), symmetrical, uniform, contemporary” (as a noun, aequālis means “a person of the same age as another, a contemporary, a person of equal rank or ability.” Egalitarian entered English in the late 19th century.
If we do not learn the lessons of history and choose a radically different path forward, we may lose our last chance at creating a truly inclusive, egalitarian democracy.
Our commitment to egalitarian ideals has been severely tested by everything from the untenable quality of the United States’s yawning wealth gap to the resurgence of an ethno-nationalism that has led to anti-humanitarian policies against Latinx migrants and Muslim families.
the voice of the people; popular opinion.
The phrase vox populi comes straight from Latin vōx populī “voice of the people.” Vōx (inflectional stem vōc-) is the source of English vocal and vowel, via Old French vouel, from Latin (littera) vōcālis “sounding (letter).” Populī is the genitive singular of the noun populus, the collective name for the Roman citizen body, excluding women, children, foreigners, and slaves. The phrase vōx populī does not occur in Latin literature and only first appears in a letter that the great Anglo-Saxon scholar Alcuin wrote to Charlemagne in 798, not to pay heed to those who insist that vōx populī vōx Deī “the voice of the people is the voice of God” because the populace is too unstable–a sentiment the Romans would agree with entirely. In later English history (after Alcuin), vōx populī vōx Deī is favorable, a notable example being the title of a Whig tract entitled Vox Populi, Vox Dei: being true Maxims of Government (1710). The abbreviated phrase vox pop “the views of the majority of people, popular opinion” appears in the first half of the 18th century. Nowadays vox pop means “popular opinion as shown by comments made to the media by members of the public.” Vox populi entered English in the mid-16th century.
In 1972, Democrats made their process more plebiscitary—more primaries, less influence for political professionals—to elicit and echo the vox populi.
But in this country, the process of language reform is complicated. It’s not exactly grassroots democracy; some voices count more than others, and people usually leave typographical niceties to the expert associations concerned with them. What vox populi retains is veto power.