Word of the Day

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

epigone

[ ep-i-gohn ]

noun

an undistinguished imitator, follower, or successor of an important writer, painter, etc.

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What is the origin of epigone?

The English noun epigone ultimately comes from the Greek plural noun epígonoi “offspring, posterity,” literally “(ones) born after or later,” a noun use of the adjective epígonos “born besides.” The original, primary use of epígonoi was for the sons of the seven heroes who fought against “Seven-Gated” Thebes, traditionally a generation before the Trojan War. The secondary use of epígonoi was for the heirs of the diádochoi “successors,” i.e., Alexander the Great’s (356-323 b.c.) generals (e.g., Ptolemy, Seleucus) who divided Alexander’s conquests among themselves. The diádochoi were very competent and their offspring far inferior, which is the modern meaning of epigone. Epigone entered English in the 19th century.

how is epigone used?

… is there anything lower than stealing from an epigone?

John Simon, "Goo on an Island," New York, November 5, 1990

The palace was partly designed by a famous architect of the time, López i Porta, one of Gaudi’s epigones, and partly by Benvingut himself, which explains the labyrinthine, chaotic, indecisive layout of every storey in the building.

Roberto Bolaño, The Skating Rink, translated by Chris Andrews, 2009
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Monday, July 23, 2018

leonine

[ lee-uh-nahyn ]

adjective

resembling or suggestive of a lion.

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What is the origin of leonine?

The English adjective leonine comes from Latin leōnīnus, a derivative of the noun leō (inflectional stem leōn-), a borrowing from Greek léōn (inflectional stem léont-). Léōn is not a Greek word, but it does look somewhat like Hebrew lābhī; both the Greek and the Hebrew nouns may be borrowings from a third language. The Greek historian Herodotus (484?-425? b.c.) and the philosopher Aristotle (384-322 b.c.) both assert that lions were rare in Europe in their day but were still found. Leonine entered English in the 14th century.

how is leonine used?

Only a few discerned the inexorable firmness in the depth of his soul, and the magnanimous and leonine qualities of his nature.

Plutarch (c46–c120), "Fabius Maximus," Plutarch's Lives, Volume III, translated by Bernadotte Perrin, 1916

George Clooney was at home in Los Angeles one afternoon in mid-January, a few days before he flew to Sudan in his new role as a United Nations “Messenger of Peace” (an appointment that overlooked reports of a recent public scuffle with Fabio, the leonine model).

Ian Parker, "Somebody Has to Be in Control," The New Yorker, April 14, 2008
Sunday, July 22, 2018

vogie

[ voh-gee, vog-ee ]

adjective

Scot. conceited; proud.

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What is the origin of vogie?

The adjective vogie is Scottish through and through, and all the citations of the word come from Scottish authors. Vogie has no good etymology: it is tempting to etymologize the word as vogue plus the suffix -ie, but the meanings of vogue and vogie do not match. Vogie entered English in the 18th century.

how is vogie used?

… a most comical character, so vogie of his honours and dignities in the town council that he could not get the knight told often enough what a load aboon the burden he had in keeping a’ things douce and in right regulation amang the bailies.

John Galt, Ringan Gilhaize; or, The Covenanters, 1823

My only beast, I had nae mae, / And vow but I was vogie!

Robert Burns, "My Hoggie," 1788

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