Word of the Day

Sunday, September 08, 2019

embosom

[ em-booz-uhm, -boo-zuhm ]

verb (used with object)

to cherish; foster.

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What is the origin of embosom?

The verb embosom “to cherish, foster,” is a compound formed from the prefix em– meaning “to make (someone or something) be in (a place or condition),” a borrowing from Old French, from Latin in-, and the noun bosom (the variant imbosom is formed directly from the Latin prefix in-). Bosom comes from Old English bósm and has certain relatives only within Germanic, e.g., Old Frisian bósm, Old Saxon bósom, Old High German buosam, German Busen. The verb is poetic and rare, first appearing in Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene (1590).

how is embosom used?

The more thoroughly she is recognized in any University, and made to embosom the minds trained in it, interpenetrating with her Divine force all resources of Science, the more will she make that, in no common-place sense but truly, royally, the cherished mother of its students.

, "The True Success of Human Life," The New Englander, No. 41, February 1853

When the act of reflection takes place in the mind, when we look at ourselves in the light of thought, we discover that our life is embosomed in beauty.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Spiritual Laws," Essays, 1841
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Saturday, September 07, 2019

rarefied

[ rair-uh-fahyd ]

adjective

extremely high or elevated; lofty; exalted: the rarefied atmosphere of a scholarly symposium.

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What is the origin of rarefied?

The adjective rarefied “elevated, lofty, exalted,” only first appears in this sense in English in the second half of the 17th century. In origin, rarefied is the past participle of the Middle English verb rarefien “to reduce the density of, thin, soften,” first recorded at the end of the 14th century. Rarefien comes from Old French rarefier, from Medieval Latin rārēficāre, from Latin rārēfacere “to make less solid, rarefy,” a Latin technical term occurring first and only in Lucretius’s Dē Rērum Nātūrā, a long Epicurean didactic poem aimed at freeing human beings from the scourge of superstition, religion, and the fear of death.

how is rarefied used?

The country gentry of old time lived in a rarefied social air: dotted apart on their stations up the mountain they looked down with imperfect discrimination on the belts of thicker life below.

George Eliot, Middlemarch, 1872

In his 30s, breathing rarefied air, Mr. Coppola made two decisions that changed his career’s trajectory.

R. T. Watson, "Francis Ford Coppola's New Visions," Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2019
Friday, September 06, 2019

chirography

[ kahy-rog-ruh-fee ]

noun

handwriting; penmanship.

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What is the origin of chirography?

Chirography, an expensive word for “handwriting, penmanship,” comes from Greek cheirogaphía “written report, testimony in writing.” The first element, cheiro-, is a combining form of the noun cheír “hand,” which has many dialect forms (chérs, chḗr, chérr-). Cheír comes from the uncommon Proto-Indo-European root ghesor-, ghesr– “hand,” the source of Hittite kessar, Armenian jeṙ-, and Tocharian tsar, all meaning “hand.” The combining form –graphy, naturalized in English, is a derivative of the verb gráphein “to write,” from a Proto-Indo-European root ghrebh-, ghrobh– “to scratch, dig, bury,” the source of English grave (burial place), grub (to dig), and groove. Chirography entered English in the 17th century.

how is chirography used?

Miss Kate S. Chittenden’s hand is bold, fearless, and masculine, and there are decided indications that her temperament resembles her chirography in these respects.

, "Character in Writing," New York Times February 22, 1891

“Three hours of hand-shaking is not calculated to improve a man’s chirography,” he [Lincoln] said later that evening.

Louis P. Masur, Lincoln's Hundred Days, 2012

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