Word of the Day

Word of the day

Monday, June 21, 2021

estivate

[ es-tuh-veyt ]

verb (used without object)

to spend the summer, as at a specific place or in a certain activity.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of estivate?

Estivate has two main senses: “to spend the summer at a specific place or in a certain activity” (as at the beach or in the mountains), and a zoological sense, “to spend a season in a dormant state, as certain reptiles and small mammals” (the “opposite,” as it were, of hibernate). Estivate comes from Latin aestīvātus, the past participle of aestīvāre “to reside during the summer.” Aestīvāre is a derivative of the adjective aestīvus “of or relating to summer; summery,” itself a derivative of the noun aestās “summer.” The Proto-Indo-European root behind the Latin words is ai– “to burn,” which is also the source of Latin aestus “heat, hot weather, hot season,” aedēs “dwelling place, abode, home” (because it was heated), and aedificium “a building” (English edifice). Two other derivatives, aedificāre “to erect a building,” and aedificātiō “the act or process of erecting a building; the building itself,” in Christian Latin developed the senses “to develop spiritually, improve the soul” (and “spiritual growth” for the noun), in current English edify and edification, which nowadays have nothing at all to do with the building trades. Estivate entered English in the first half of the 17th century.

how is estivate used?

The curious thing is that Long Island, even for those who estivate there, does not have the glamour of a goingaway place. When I ask friends what they are going to do for the summer, some say that they are going to the mountains, or to the country, or to New England. But there is a certain hesitancy about describing the Island.

Richard F. Shepard, "About Long Island," New York Times, May 30, 1976

There are three theories which serve partially—only partially—to explain the remoteness of Dulles International Airport. … The second is that the Kennedy clan, who estivate in or near Middleburg, Va., can come galloping more conveniently over the hills with Caroline to see relatives off.

Dan Howe, "Dulles Airport is 'Way Out'," Sarasota Journal, February 26, 1963

Listen to the word of the day

estivate

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.

Word of the day

Sunday, June 20, 2021

nonpareil

[ non-puh-rel ]

noun

a person or thing having no equal.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of nonpareil?

Nonpareil as an adjective means “peerless, having no equal”; as a noun it means “a person or thing having no equal.” Nonpareil comes via the Middle English adjective nonparaille (also spelled nonpareil, nounparalle, nowimparaile) “unequaled,” from Old French nonpareil (and other variant spellings) “unrivaled, peerless.” French nonpareil is a compound of the negative prefix non– (from Latin nōn) “not” and the adjective pareil “equal,” from Vulgar Latin pāriclus, Late Latin pāriculus, a diminutive adjective and noun formed from Latin pār (inflectional stem pāri– “matching, equal, an equal”). Nonpareil entered English in the mid-15th century.

how is nonpareil used?

As a creative titan who straddled the line between science and speculation, Arthur C. Clarke was a nonpareil.

Scott Thill, "Arthur C. Clarke: Artists Elegize an Icon," Wired, March 19, 2000

In addition to his merits as a critic of literature, oratory, painting, the theater, and politics, Hazlitt was both the originator and nonpareil of sports reporting.

M. H. Abrams, "The Keenest Critic," New York Review of Books, May 10, 1984

Listen to the word of the day

nonpareil

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00

Word of the day

Saturday, June 19, 2021

vermilion

[ ver-mil-yuhn ]

noun

a brilliant scarlet red.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of vermilion?

Vermilion “brilliant scarlet red (color; pigment),” comes from Middle English vermil(i)oun, vermilion(e) (there are nearly 20 spelling variants) “cinnabar, red dye,” from Anglo-French vermeilloun, vermiloun, from Old French verm(e)illon, vermillon “red lead, rouge, cinnabar.” The Old French forms are derivatives of vermeil, vermail, from Late Latin vermiculus “grub, scarlet worm (a cochineal insect that is the source of red dye), scarlet color,” a diminutive of vermis “worm.” Vermilion entered English in the late 13th century.

how is vermilion used?

They were standing, facing each other, beneath the spreading branches of the lovely flamboyant. The rays of the silver moon shone down upon them through the sea of green and vermilion, and revealed the handsome face of the girl upturned to Carl.

Robert Archer Tracy, The Sword of Nemesis, 1919

The biggest seller is the Southern red velvet cake, which, underneath its creamy, demurely white icing, holds three layers of cake that’s rightfully (if alarmingly) vermilion with a lofty, delicate texture.

Stephanie Rosenbaum, "Cake Man Raven Confectionary," New York Magazine, 2005

Listen to the word of the day

vermilion

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.