Word of the Day

Word of the day

Friday, October 09, 2020

discommode

[ dis-kuh-mohd ]

verb (used with object)

to cause inconvenience to; disturb, trouble, or bother.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of discommode?

Discommode, “to cause inconvenience or trouble to,” comes from Middle French discommoder, a compound formed from the Latin prefix dis– “apart, away,” here with a privative or negative force, and the French adjective commode “convenient, easy,” from Latin commodus “of standard size or weight, suitable, convenient.” Commodus is a compound of the Latin prefix com-, here with the intensive force “completely,” and the noun modus, “measured amount, size, or quantity.” Discommode entered English in the second half of the 17th century.

how is discommode used?

I decided not to discommode him further on walks by abruptly bringing him out into the same car-whizzing streets that had so shivered and terrified him, so when we went outside it was through the back door into a warren of unthreatening urban alleyways.

Gene Weingarten, "The tail of a ruff few days," Washington Post, February 13, 2020

“We didn’t know we were discommoding you so.” Norma liked that word and she said it over under her breath. “Discommode —I wouldn’t want to discommode you, Mr. Gable, but I think you should know…”

John Steinbeck, The Wayward Bus, 1947

Listen to the word of the day

discommode

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00
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.

Word of the day

Thursday, October 08, 2020

idiolect

[ id-ee-uh-lekt ]

noun

Linguistics.

a person's individual speech pattern.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of idiolect?

An individual person’s own pattern of speech is called an idiolect, formed from the Greek adjective ídios “private, one’s own, peculiar.” (The English noun idiot comes ultimately from Greek idiṓtēs “private person, a citizen who does not participate in public affairs,” a term of abuse and contempt in Periclean Athens). The combining form –lect, extracted from dialect (from Greek diálektos “speech, language, discourse, accent, manner of speech,” and later “the language of a country or district”), has been promoted to a full word, lect, which in linguistics means “a distinct variety of a language, such as a standard variety or a nonstandard regional dialect.” Idiolect entered English in the mid-20th century.

how is idiolect used?

Vollmann’s idiolect is obsessive, punctilious, twitchy, hyperobservational, and proudly amateurish.

Nathaniel Rich, "The Most Honest Book About Climate Change Yet," The Atlantic, October 2018

There is debate, for example, over whether we each have an “idiolect,” or unique linguistic fingerprint. And if we do, how consistent is it in academic essays or love letters as opposed to, say, e-mails and text messages? Betcha its not!! 🙂

Frances Stead Sellers, "Should texts, e-mail, tweets and Facebook posts be the new fingerprints in court?" Washington Post, February 27, 2015

Listen to the word of the day

idiolect

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00

Word of the day

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

zinger

[ zing-er ]

noun

Informal.

a quick, witty, or pointed remark or retort.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of zinger?

Zinger, “a quick, witty, pointed remark or answer,” is a derivative of the verb and noun zing, “(to make) a sharp whizzing noise.” It is, unsurprisingly, an American slang term that dates to about 1950.

how is zinger used?

He delivered his zingers with a sly twinkle in his eye, a deadpan expression, and a laugh so big he’d pull out a handkerchief to wipe the tears from his eyes.

Jennifer Ludden, "Johnny Carson, 30-Year 'Tonight' Host, Dies at 79," All Things Considered, NPR, January 23, 2005

Pope Francis often sprinkles his writings or public speeches with pungent zingers on issues like inequality and environmental destruction.

Jim Yardley, "In Speech, Francis Skips Over Line With Political Punch," New York Times, September 24, 2015

Listen to the word of the day

zinger

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00

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.