Word of the Day

Word of the day

Friday, September 10, 2021

exclave

[ eks-kleyv ]

noun

a portion of a country geographically separated from the main part by surrounding foreign territory.

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What is the origin of exclave?

Exclave “an outlying portion of a country entirely or mostly surrounded by the territory of another country” is modeled on the noun enclave, its opposite, using the Latin prefix ex- “out of, from.” Enclave comes from an older French term meaning “locked in,” from Latin clāvis “key,” which also gives rise to words such as clavicle, the collarbone, originally meaning “little key” in Latin, and conclave, a secret meeting, originally meaning “(room) with a key” in Latin. Exclave entered English in the late 1800s.

how is exclave used?

The absurdity of militarizing a peacetime border through a major European metropolis is illustrated by what happened to West Berlin’s half-dozen exclaves, small plots of land that lay just outside the city limits. Mere administrative anomalies before the partition of Berlin, these exclaves became potential international trouble spots.

Frank Jacobs, "Can A Town Divided Against Itself Stand?" New York Times, January 30, 2012

There are three other “exclaves” like Hyder along the border—two small, sparsely populated towns in the U.S., and one in Canada—which largely rely on an open border to carry out their businesses, go to school and even buy groceries. But when the border shuttered at the start of the pandemic, residents of the exclaves were left to figure out how to stay afloat with their main source of business—tourism—cut off.

Kelly Hooper, "Lost summer on repeat: Opening of U.S.-Canada border may come too late for exclaves," Politico, July 2, 2021

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Word of the day

Thursday, September 09, 2021

glitz

[ glits ]

noun

ostentatious glitter or sophistication.

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What is the origin of glitz?

It’s easy to imagine how glitz is related to the word glitter, but the two words share a far deeper origin: the Proto-Indo-European root gʰel- “to shine.” This root crops up in at least a dozen brightness- and vision-related words, including glance, glare, glass, glaze, gleam, glimmer, glimpse, glint, glisten, glister, gloss, and glow, and is also the source of many light color names, such as gold and yellow in English and khlōrós “greenish-yellow” in Ancient Greek, from which chlorophyll is derived. Glitz entered English in the 1970s, which is surprisingly recent.

how is glitz used?

Yet much of the glitz may be just that—glitz. Survey data and experts suggest that students generally appreciate libraries most for their simple, traditional offerings: a quiet place to study or collaborate on a group project, the ability to print research papers, and access to books.

Alia Wong, "College Students Just Want Normal Libraries," The Atlantic, October 4, 2019

On the surface, I had almost nothing in common with Ann. I was a 39-year-old, geeky freelancer living in suburban New Jersey, far from the glitz and glamour of Tokyo. I was long past the carefree attitude of a high schooler and was a very, very far cry from ever belonging on a runway.

Esther Mollica, "Ann Takamaki From Persona 5 Was Exactly Who I Needed to See," Wired, May 10, 2021

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Word of the day

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

cathartic

[ kuh-thahr-tik ]

adjective

of or relating to the purging of the emotions or relieving of emotional tensions, especially through certain kinds of art, as tragedy or music.

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What is the origin of cathartic?

Cathartic comes via Latin from Ancient Greek kathartikós “fit for cleansing,” from the adjective katharós “pure” or “clean.” The name Catherine is often claimed to derive from katharós, but this is folk etymology; while the words look and sound similar, they have different, unrelated origins. A true derivative of katharós is the term Catharism, the name of a sect of Christianity that flourished in the south of France during the Middle Ages and held as one of its fundamental beliefs the existence of two equal, opposing gods rather than a single, all-powerful deity. Cathartic entered English in the early 1600s.

how is cathartic used?

We watched the film together and slowly I just started to see my mom starting to weep, my sister, my dad. And it just felt like it was such a cathartic experience for all of us. It was really special, really incredible.

Lee Isaac Chung, as quoted in “Lee Isaac Chung Jotted Down Some Family Memories—They Became ‘Minari,’” NPR, March 3, 2021

I’d be having a bad day and I’d write about how I’m feeling, with tears in my eyes. It was like writing in my diary, but making it into a song. It was cathartic for me.

Ray BLK, as quoted in "Ray BLK: ‘A song is like writing in my diary. It’s cathartic,’" The Guardian, August 22, 2021

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