Word of the Day

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

divertissement

[ dih-vur-tis-muhnt ]

noun

a diversion or entertainment.

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What is the origin of divertissement?

The English noun divertissement comes directly from the French divertissement “amusement, entertainment, diversion.” Divertisse- is the long stem of the verb divertir “to amuse, entertain”; it comes from Latin dīvertere or dēvertere “to turn away, divert, make a detour, digress”; the French suffix -ment, from the similar Latin noun suffix -mentum, denotes action or resulting state. Divertissement entered English in the 18th century.

how is divertissement used?

Featuring an uncomplicated plot and easily relatable personalities, this is a divertissement compared with the thematic heft of “Like Father, Like Son.”

Maggie Lee, "Cannes Film Review: 'After the Storm'," Variety, May 20, 2016

My place in your life is a divertissement, and when it ceases to be that it will be no good to you.

May Sarton, The Single Hound, 1938
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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

cozen

[ kuhz-uhn ]

verb

to cheat, deceive, or trick.

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What is the origin of cozen?

The verb cozen has a doubtful ancestry. One plausible etymology has cozen associated with the noun cousin (i.e., the relative), modeled on the French usage of the verb cousiner “to call ‘cousin,’” i.e., to claim fraudulent kindred to gain some profit or advantage. A second etymology derives cozen from Italian cozzonare “to engage in horse trading, cheat,” from cozzone, from Latin coctiōn-, the inflectional stem of coctiō “a dealer, broker.” Cozen entered English in the 16th century.

how is cozen used?

He had come to cozen me into letting him use me in return for a mockery of an honor.

David Graham Phillips, The Plum Tree, 1905

Let us cozen it with a golden shrewdness.

Iris Murdoch, An Accidental Man, 1971
Monday, February 25, 2019

evenfall

[ ee-vuhn-fawl ]

noun

twilight; dusk; the beginning of evening.

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What is the origin of evenfall?

Evenfall, “the beginning of evening, dusk,” from its very look is a poetic word. It is reasonable to assume, but impossible to prove, that evenfall was modeled on the earlier nightfall (1700). Evenfall entered English in the 19th century.

how is evenfall used?

And now ’tis evenfall in the brave and beautiful Borderland, and long shadows fall across the smooth lawns and fragrant garden …

George MacDonald Fraser, The Reavers, 2007

James Turner had his own conception of what happiness was … Mine is to smoke a pipe at evenfall and watch a badger, a rattlesnake, and an owl go into their common prairie home one by one.

O. Henry, "What You Want," Strictly Business, 1910

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