Word of the Day

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

dopester

[ dohp-ster ]

noun

a person who undertakes to predict the outcome of elections, sports events, or other contests that hold the public interest.

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What is the origin of dopester?

The dope at the heart of this Americanism refers to information, data, or news. This slang term dates to 1905–10.

how is dopester used?

The 1954 season for predicting the Congressional elections is now in full swing and the political dopesters will be hard at it from now until Nov. 2, when the voters will select more than one-third of the Senators and all of the Congressmen who will sit in the Eighty-fourth Congress.

Ruth Silva, "A Look Into a Crystal Election Ball," New York Times, October 10, 1954

We make no prediction, not being either a dopester or an expert.

Ernest C. Hastings, "Stock the Goods That Women Want," Dry Goods Economist, October 21, 1922
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Monday, November 05, 2018

bewhiskered

[ bih-hwis-kerd, -wis- ]

adjective

ancient, as a witticism, expression, etc.; passé; hoary: a bewhiskered catchword of a bygone era.

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What is the origin of bewhiskered?

Bewhiskered is first recorded in 1755–65. It combines be-, a prefix used in the formation of verbs, with whiskered.

how is bewhiskered used?

That bewhiskered saying that “pride goeth before a fall” is true only in the case of ignorant people, says The International Lifeman.

, "Stick Up Your Chin," The Spectator: Life Insurance Supplement, January 7, 1915

Good things come in small packages. … This wrinkled and bewhiskered expression haunts our editorial vision when we pause to contemplate the career of a life, progressive citizen of the gopher state, a man small in stature but big in brain.

, "Sidelights on Men in the Trade," Domestice Engineering, October 3, 1914
Sunday, November 04, 2018

fillip

[ fil-uhp ]

noun

anything that tends to rouse, excite, or revive; a stimulus: Praise is an excellent fillip for waning ambition.

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What is the origin of fillip?

Fillip is imitative, or onomatopoeic, in origin. Earlier forms include filip, fylippe, philip, and phillip. Fillip looks like a variant of flip, but flip is first recorded in the late 17th century, whereas fillip dates from the 16th.

how is fillip used?

It is so pleasant to receive a fillip of excitement when suffering from the dull routine of everyday life!

Anthony Trollope, Barchester Towers, 1857

His ordinary government allowance of spirits, one gill per diem, is not enough to give a sufficient fillip to his listless senses …

Herman Melville, White-Jacket; or, The World in a Man-of-War, 1850
Saturday, November 03, 2018

grumphie

[ gruhm-fee, groom-pee ]

noun

Chiefly Scot. a familiar name for a pig.

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What is the origin of grumphie?

Grumphie is an exclusively Scottish word, first used by Robert Burns (1759-96). Grumphie is formed from the verb grumph “to grunt” and is imitative of the typical sound pigs and some humans make. The suffix -ie is a spelling variant of -y, one of whose functions is to form endearing or familiar names like Billy, doggy (doggie), and sweetie. Grumphie entered English in the late 18th century.

how is grumphie used?

Grumphie smells the weather, / An’ grumphie sees the wun’; / He kens when clouds will gather, / An’ smoor the blinikin’ sun.” This extravagant tribute to the pig as a weather prophet is typical of a large number of proverbs, though, perhaps no other animal has been credited with actually seeing the wind.

W. J. Humphreys, "Some Weather Proverbs and Their Justification," The Popular Science Monthly, January 1911

If ye’re proud to be a grumphie clap yer trotters!

Alastair D. McIver, Glasgow Fairytale, 2010
Friday, November 02, 2018

univocal

[ yoo-niv-uh-kuhl, yoo-nuh-voh- ]

adjective

having only one meaning; unambiguous.

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What is the origin of univocal?

Like its cousin equivocal, univocal derives from the Latin vōx meaning “voice.” Whereas the prefix equi- means “equal,” uni- means “one.” Univocal dates to 1535–45.

how is univocal used?

When then-Fox News chief Roger Ailes was presented with allegations of sexual harassment — first in a bombshell lawsuit, later in published reports — his response was univocal: Deny, deny, deny.

Erik Wemple, "Harvey Weinstein's puzzling legal threat against the New York Times," Washington Post, October 6, 2017

For any given element–event, character, development–is never simply univocal or one-sided but generally has two or more valences: it is serious and ironic, pathos-charged and parodic, apocalyptic and farcical, critical and self-critical.

Dominick LaCapra, History, Politics, and the Novel, 1987
Thursday, November 01, 2018

penumbra

[ pi-nuhm-bruh ]

noun

a shadowy, indefinite, or marginal area.

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What is the origin of penumbra?

The noun penumbra is composed of the Latin adverb paene “almost” and the Latin noun umbra “shadow.” Paene is not usual in Latin compounds, the most frequent being paeninsula (paeneinsula) “peninsula” and paenultimus (pēnultimus) “almost last, second last,” especially the “second last syllable” (penultimate is often misused in English to mean “ultimate, last”). Penumbra (paenumbra) does not occur in Classical or Medieval Latin; it is a New Latin coinage by the German mathematician and astronomer Johann Kepler (1571-1630). Penumbra entered English in the 17th century.

how is penumbra used?

… I couldn’t figure out why I was hearing it in the penumbra of an old-growth floodplain forest in South Carolina, a forest that once stretched as far north as Upper Virginia and as far west as East Texas.

Rosalind Bentley, "Among the Majestic Trees in Congaree, Slipping Into Silence," New York Times, July 16, 2018

It’s a daring move, an attempt to trace the penumbra of abuse across a shattered psyche.

Ron Charles, "Roddy Doyle was determined to write a novel that shocked--and succeeded," Washington Post, October 17, 2017
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

ghosting

[ goh-sting ]

noun

Informal. a. the practice of suddenly ending all contact with a person without explanation, especially in a romantic relationship: He was a victim of ghosting. b. Also called French goodbye, Irish goodbye. the act of leaving a social event or engagement suddenly without saying goodbye: Ghosting might be the best option if we want to get home before midnight.

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What is the origin of ghosting?

The dating sense of ghosting is first recorded in 2005–10. It’s possibly linked to the expression get ghost “to leave immediately,” which gained popularity in 1990s hip-hop.

how is ghosting used?

In the case of ghosting, a lack of accountability has brought out the worst in humanity, but applying behavioral science to UX design could be the key to unlocking the solution and with it the next billion dollar idea, paving the way for a new era of ghost-free online dating.

Jack Rogers, "Ghosting -- Dating's Billion Dollar Problem?" Forbes, August 28, 2018

Among younger generations, ghosting has “almost become a new vocabulary” in which “no response is a response,” says Amanda Bradford, CEO and founder of The League, a dating app. Now, “that same behavior is happening in the job market,” says Bradford, who’s experienced it with engineering candidates who ghosted her company.

Chip Cutter, "People are 'ghosting' at work, and it's driving companies crazy," LinkedIn, June 23, 2018

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