Word of the Day

Saturday, July 11, 2020

ductile

[ duhk-tl, -til ]

adjective

capable of being molded or shaped; plastic.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of ductile?

The adjective ductile, “capable of being molded or shaped; plastic,” comes from Middle English ductil, “beaten out or shaped with a hammer,” from Old French ductile or Latin ductilis, “capable of being led along a course; malleable, ductile.” Ductilis is a derivative of duct-, the past participle stem of the verb dūcere “to draw along with, conduct, lead,” one of the verb’s dozens of meanings being the relatively rare “to model or mold material; draw out (metal) into wire.” In modern technical usage, ductile is restricted to “capable of being drawn out into wire or threads,” a quality of the noble metals such as silver and gold; malleable in technical usage covers the sense “capable of being hammered or rolled out into thin sheets,” another quality of the noble metals. Ductile entered English in the 14th century.

how is ductile used?

Ductile and sensuous, paint hugs the flat photographic forms of Leiter’s nudes in a tailor-made mantle.

Mona Gainer-Salim, "Saul Leiter's Painted Nudes," The New Yorker, May 19, 2015

she cheerfully proposed reading; complied with the first request that was made her to play upon the piano-forte and the harp; and even, to sing; though, not so promptly; for her voice and sensibility were less ductile than her manners.

Frances Burney, The Wanderer; or, Female Difficulties, 1814

Listen to the word of the day

ductile

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.
Friday, July 10, 2020

slugabed

[ sluhg-uh-bed ]

noun

a person who lazily stays in bed long after the usual time for arising.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of slugabed?

Slugabed is a relatively uncommon noun meaning “a person who lazily stays in bed long after the usual time for arising.” The noun slug, “a snaillike animal; a lazy person, sluggard,” developed from Middle English slugge “a lazy person; slothfulness, the sin of sloth.” Slugge probably comes from Old Icelandic slōkr “clumsy person,” Swedish and Norwegian dialect slok “lazy person,” Danish slog “rascal, rogue.” The element –a– is simply a reduced form of the Old English preposition on “on, in, into”; bed comes from Old English bedd, ultimately from the Proto-Indo-European root bhedh-, bhodh– “to dig, bury,” from which Latin derives fodere “to dig” and fossa “a ditch, trench, groove”; the Celtic languages have Welsh bedd, Cornish bedh, and Breton béz, all three meaning “a grave.” Slugabed entered English in the late 16th century.

how is slugabed used?

“Auntie…” he said. “Don’t you Auntie me, you slugabed! There’s toads to be buried and stoops to be washed. Why are you never around when it’s time for chores?” 

Michael Swanwick, "King Dragon," The Dragon Quintet, 2003

‘I am not a slug-a-bed, Harriet.’ Asobel’s voice was high and clear across the garden, ‘I get up as soon as my eyes pop open.’

Barbara Ewing, The Trespass, 2002

Listen to the word of the day

slugabed

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00
Thursday, July 09, 2020

discomfiture

[ dis-kuhm-fi-cher ]

noun

the state of being disconcerted; confusion; embarrassment.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of discomfiture?

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.

how is discomfiture used?

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.

Charles Waddell Chesnutt, The Colonel's Dream, 1905

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.

Alexander C. Kafka, "Adventure Seekers—and a few ghosts—make a dangerous trip up a mountain in 'Mysterium,'" Washington Post, August 7, 2018

Listen to the word of the day

discomfiture

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.