Word of the Day

Saturday, March 09, 2019

eyewinker

[ ahy-wing-ker ]

noun

an eyelash.

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What is the origin of eyewinker?

Eyewinker is a very rare noun, originally Scottish and now mostly an American regionalism. Eye needs no explanation; winker has several meanings: “eyelash, eyelid, eye, something that gets in the eye and makes one blink.” Eyewinker entered English in the early 19th century.

how is eyewinker used?

“Last nightat dinner”Mrs. Appel eyed him accusingly“I foundan eyewinkerin the hard sauce.”

Caroline Lockhart,  The Dude Wrangler, 1921

Not even an eyewinker was left to her.

Stewart Edward White, Gold, 1913
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Friday, March 08, 2019

regina

[ ri-jahy-nuh, -jee- ]

noun

queen.

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What is the origin of regina?

The Latin noun rēgīna “queen” is obviously related to the Latin noun rēx (inflectional stem rēg-) “king,” but how rēgīna is derived from rēx is tricky. There is also a deceptive resemblance between rēx and rēgīna and Sanskrit rā́jan– “rajah, king” and rā́jñī– “queen, ranee” (rēgīna and rā́jñī– are not directly related). There is a definite connection, however, between Latin rēx (rēg-), rēgīna and the Celtic words for king, e.g., Old Irish (from rīks), and its stem ríg (from rīgos). Rígain, the Old Irish word for queen, is cognate with rēgīna. Regina dates from Old English times.

how is regina used?

He represented the rule of law, and in Miromara the law bowed to no one, not even the regina herself.

Jennifer Donnelly,  Sea Spell, 2016

“Mother of heaven, regina of the clouds … .”

Wallace Stevens, "Le Monocle de Mon Oncle,"  Others, 1918
Thursday, March 07, 2019

Heiligenschein

[ hahy-li-guhn-shahyn ]

noun

German.

a ring of light around the shadow cast by a person's head, especially on a dewy, sunlit lawn, caused by reflection and diffraction of light rays; halo.

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What is the origin of Heiligenschein?

Heiligenschein in German means “halo (around a saint’s head), nimbus, aureole,” literally, “saint’s shining, saint’s light.” The optical effect is also called Cellini’s halo, after the Italian artist and writer Benevenuto Cellini (1500-71) who first described the phenomenon. Heiligenschein entered English in the 20th century.

how is Heiligenschein used?

The dark figure outlined on the mountain mist may have had a glory around its head, or at least a Heiligenschein, and seemed like ghost to the mountaineer who saw it.

Elizabeth A. Wood,  Science from Your Airplane Window, 1968

You may sometimes have noticed a faint sheen, or increased brightness, around the shadow of your head when this falls on a grass lawn, particularly when the Sun is low, and you cast a long shadow. This sheen is known as a heiligenschein, a German word meaning ‘holy glow.’

John Naylor,  Out of the Blue: A 24-hour Skywatcher's Guide, 2002

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