Word of the Day

Friday, November 23, 2018

doorbuster

[ dawr-buhs-ter, dohr- ]

noun

Informal. a retail item that is heavily discounted for a very limited time in order to draw customers to the store. b. the price of such an item.

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What is the origin of doorbuster?

Doorbuster originally (in the 1890s) meant “one who breaks into or forces his way into a room or building.” By the first part of the 20th century, doorbuster also meant “a retail item heavily discounted for a short time to attract customers,” and towards the end of the 20th century, a doorbuster meant “a tool or device to force doors open.” The words bust and buster arose in the mid-17th century as regional or colloquial pronunciations of burst and burster, as also happened with curse and cuss, arse and ass, and parcel and passel.

how is doorbuster used?

At night, they slept in sleeping bags and hammocks as they prepared for the year’s biggest competition: beating their neighbors to discounted doorbusters.

Abha Bhattarai, "The Black Friday frenzy officially begins today. But many say the thrill is gone." Washington Post, November 23, 2017

Stores run “doorbuster” sales on the day after Thanksgiving, offering huge markdowns for a few hours, or “one-day sales” every day, because fostering a sense of time pressure, however artificial, makes shoppers more willing to buy.

James Surowiecki, "A Buyer's Christmas," The New Yorker, December 24, 2007
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Thursday, November 22, 2018

thanksgiver

[ thangks-giv-er ]

noun

a person who gives thanks.

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What is the origin of thanksgiver?

Thanksgiver entered English in the early 1600s.

how is thanksgiver used?

I am a Thanksgiver. I have a generous and grateful nature. I also have a splendid appetite.

, "A Confession," Caricature: Wit and Humor of a Nation in Picture, Song and Story, 1908

Wherefore we find (our never-to-be-forgotten) example, the devout thanksgiver, David, continually declaring the great price he set upon the divine favours …

Isaac Barrow (1630–1677), "Sermon VIII: Of the Duty of Thanksgiving," The Theological Works of Isaac Barrow, 1830
Wednesday, November 21, 2018

cornucopia

[ kawr-nuh-koh-pee-uh, -nyuh- ]

noun

an abundant, overflowing supply.

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What is the origin of cornucopia?

Cornucopia is a Late Latin formation, a combination of the Latin noun phrase cornū cōpiae “horn of plenty.” Cornūcōpia was coined by the late Imperial historian Ammianus Marcellinus (c 325 a.d.-c398 a.d.), a Greek probably born in Syria or Phoenicia who learned his Latin in the army. Cornū comes from the very complicated Proto-Indo-European root ker-, kor-, krā-, kŗ- (and other variants and their extensions) “head, horn.” English horn is a close relation of Latin cornū. Krāníon “skull, cranium” is one of the many Greek derivatives of the root. Cōpia is a derivative of the rare adjective cōpis (or cops) “well supplied, abundant.” Cornūcōpia entered English in the 16th century.

how is cornucopia used?

There were jars everywhere, a cornucopia of jars, and in the jars various dried herbs and potions …

T. Coraghessan Boyle, The Women, 2009

It is a real cornucopia of joy and merriment.

François Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel: The Third Book, 1546

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