Word of the Day

Sunday, September 01, 2019

elide

[ ih-lahyd ]

verb (used with object)

to suppress; omit; ignore; pass over.

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What is the origin of elide?

Elide comes straight from the Latin verb ēlīdere “to strike out, crush, smash,” a compound of the preposition and prefix ē, ē-, a variant of ex, ex-, here indicating deprivation or loss, and the combining form –līdere, from laedere “to wound, injure, damage.” Ēlīdere and elide both have the legal sense “to nullify, invalidate,” and the grammatical or prosodic sense “to omit a vowel or syllable in pronunciation,” as formerly in English th’embattled plain, and in French l’homme, or Italian l’uomo. Laedere has no known etymology. Elide entered English in the 16th century.

how is elide used?

These videos slyly elide the long hours that lie between seeing how something is done and knowing how to do it.

Dan Brooks, "The Pleasure of Watching Others Confront Their Own Incompetence," New York Times Magazine, May 15, 2019

They confused her, made her angry, as though the whole middle section of her life—the part where she was supposed to grow to adulthood, bear children, be a young mother, and watch her children grow to adulthood—had simply been elided.

Ruth Ozeki, All Over Creation, 2003
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Saturday, August 31, 2019

adventitious

[ ad-vuhn-tish-uhs ]

adjective

associated with something by chance rather than as an integral part; extrinsic.

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What is the origin of adventitious?

Adventitious comes from the Medieval Latin adjective adventītius, from Latin adventīcius “coming from without, from abroad, foreign, external, made or happening by chance, casual.” Adventīcius is a derivative of the verb advenīre “to come to, arrive at, reach” (formed from the preposition and prefix ad, ad– “to, toward” and the simple verb venīre “to come, be on the way, approach”) and the suffix –īcius, used for forming adjectives from the past participle stems of verbs (here, advent– from adventum). The zoological or botanical sense “appearing in an abnormal or unusual position or place, as a root” dates from the second half of the 17th century. Adventitious dates from the early 17th century.

how is adventitious used?

It is not founded on organic strength, the delicate, ennobling mark of a good endowment, of sound blood and a sound character, but is in a curious way something adventitious, accidental, perhaps even usurped or stolen.

Herman Hesse, The Glass Bead Game, translated by Richard and Clara Winston, 1969

This is exhausting, of course, but far less so than the tenor of a normal museum, which groups works by adventitious categories of period and style.

Peter Schjeldahl, "Untouchable," The New Yorker, February 8, 2004
Friday, August 30, 2019

banalize

[ buh-nal-ahyz, -nah-lahyz, beyn-l-ahyz ]

verb (used with object)

to render or make devoid of freshness or originality; trivialize: Television has often been accused of banalizing even the most serious subjects.

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What is the origin of banalize?

Banalize “to render or make banal, trivialize” dates only from the mid-20th century. Banalize is a derivative of the adjective banal “lacking freshness or originality, trite, hackneyed.” Banal comes from Old French banal, banel “communal, open to the public,” from ban “public proclamation, edict, (in ecclesiastical usage) an official notice of an intended marriage, given three times in the parish church of each of the betrothed,” usually used in the plural banns or bans. In secular life, ban in feudal times meant “a summons from a lord or sovereign to a vassal to perform military service.” Any American male of a certain age who has ever received a letter personally addressed to him from The President of the United States, beginning with “Greeting:” would consider a ban like that as anything but banal.

how is banalize used?

Once the human tragedy has been completed, it gets turned over to the journalists to banalize into entertainment.

Philip Roth, I Married a Communist, 1998

… these poets suffer by living in an anti-Romantic hollow, when the lyric occasion is no longer a noble and high thing, (let alone a public thing) but has been banalized and domesticated.

James Wood, "Several General Conclusions," Slate, January 14, 1999

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