left to one's option or choice; optional: The last questions in the examination were facultative.
The adjective facultative comes via the French adjective facultatif (masculine), facultative (feminine) “conveying or granting a right or power,” from the noun faculté “knowledge, learning, physical or moral capacity.” French faculté is ultimately from Latin facultāt-, the stem of facultās “ability, power, capacity” (originally a doublet of the noun facilitās “ease, ease of performance or completion, facility”). The French adjective suffix –atif, –ative comes from the Latin suffix –ātivus; the English suffix –ative comes from both French and Latin. Facultative entered English in the 19th century.
I cannot but be conscious, when this toast of “Science and Literature” is given, that in what tends to become the popular view it is Sir William Grove and Science who are obligatory; it is I and Literature who are facultative.
From the facultative point of view, Poe thinks of poetry as a rhythmic and musical use of language which is the province of Taste alone, and which aspires to Beauty.
an attack on any custom, institution, belief, etc., held sacred or revered by numbers of people: Her speech against Mother's Day was criticized as lese majesty.
It is not very often that there is a transparent connection between French (and English) and Latin, but lese majesty is such a term. In modern French the term is lèse–majesté, from Middle French laise majeste “a crime against the king, treason.” The French forms derive from Latin laesa mājestās “injured majesty (of the sovereign people, state, or emperor).” Laesa is the past participle of the verb laedere “to hurt, harm” (of uncertain etymology); mājestās is a derivative of the comparative adjective major “greater, larger, bigger.” Lese majesty entered English in the 15th century.
At the risk of lese-majesty, it [Windsor Castle] reminded me of a toy castle, part Disney, part Austrian schloss.
… his father was in jail for lese majesty—what you call speaking the truth about the Emperor.
a strong meaty taste, often considered to be one of the basic taste sensations along with sweet, sour, bitter, and salty, imparted by glutamate and certain other amino acids.
Umami comes unchanged from Japanese umami “savory taste, delicious taste.” Umami comes from umi-, the inflectional stem of umai “(to be) delicious” and –mi, a suffix forming abstract nouns from adjectives. Umami entered English in the 20th century.
Complex, creamy and very comforting, its intense umami character was exactly what Ms. Nguyen tried to capture in this garlicky noodle recipe … .
Glutamate also occurs naturally in all the foods that we associate with umami: aged hard cheeses, tomatoes, mushrooms, dried and fermented fish and fish sauces, and savory condiments like Marmite and Worcestershire sauce.
a tax; excise.
The rare noun gabelle “a tax on salt” comes from Anglo-French (the variety of French used in England after the Norman Conquest) and other Romance languages and dialects from Late and Medieval Latin gabella “tax, salt tax.” Gabella derives ultimately from Arabic qabāla “tax, duty, impost.” There is an understandable confusion in form and meaning between gabelle “a tax on salt,” and gavel “feudal rent, tribute to a superior.” Gavel comes from Old English gafol, a noun that dates from about 725, occurs only in Old English, and derives from the same Germanic root as the verb give. Gabelle entered English in the 15th century.
In 1355, the successor of Philip of Valois, John II of France, imposed a gabelle on salt, and again doubled the tax, so that it then rose to eight deniers upon the pound.
They paid a gabelle in order to wear a forbidden ornament and did their best to interfere with the enforcement of the law.
an artificially constructed language used by a group of speakers, as opposed to one that has naturally evolved: conlangs such as Esperanto and Klingon.
Conlang, a blend of con(structed) and lang(uage), dates only from around 1991, but the idea of an artificially constructed international auxiliary language has been around since at least the second half of the 19th century. The most famous of these 19th-century conlangs is Esperanto (invented in 1887); other such languages include Volapük (invented about 1879). Twentieth-century conlangs include Ido, derived from Esperanto and developed in 1907; Interlingua (developed between 1924 and 1951); and the half dozen or so languages that J.R.R. Tolkien invented for his trilogy Lord of the Rings. Speakers of conlangs range from those who would like to see them in wide use, e.g., Esperanto, to the aficionados of sci-fi conventions, who delight in the extravagances of, say, Klingon.
A good conlang takes time to develop, and a conlanger who works on their own has all the time in the world.
… I want figurative language. I’ve been pushing for this in Klingon for 20 years. Because if you really are driving your conlang, then you should be able to use metaphors in that language and be understood.
to move or proceed in a leisurely way.
Tootle, an English frequentative verb from the verb toot, means “to keep tooting.” Frequentative in grammar and linguistics means “pertaining to a verb that expresses repetition of an action.” In the Slavic languages, e.g., Polish and Russian, frequentative verbs are very common, very complex, and very vexing for the learner. Latin has cantāre “to keep singing,” the source of chant, a frequentative of canere, the “plain” verb meaning “to sing”; and visitāre “to keep seeing, call upon, visit,” a frequentative of vidēre “to see.” Frequentative verbs are no longer productive in English, which uses only –er and –le as frequentative suffixes, as in patter from pat, putter from putt, crackle from crack, and tootle from toot. Tootle entered English in the 19th century.
Dash responded with the message “Yay!” and a winsome shimmy, then tootled off at one and a half miles an hour—maybe in search of someone’s job.
Behind them, the band Kiss tootled down the street on a black float, in its trademark makeup.
a person or thing that is rare and highly valued, or is a hypothetical ideal.
Unicorn comes from Old French unicorne, from the Latin adjective ūnicornis “one-horned,” which is used as a noun possibly referring to the rhinoceros in the Vulgate, the Latin version of the Bible as edited or translated by St. Jerome (c347–420). Ūnicornis is a loan translation from the Greek noun and adjective monókerōs “single-horned” (referring to a wild ox or a unicorn), a word that occurs in the book of Psalms in the Septuagint (the ancient Greek version of the Hebrew Scriptures). Ūnicornis is a compound of ūni-, the stem of ūnus “one,” and cornū “horn” and the adjective suffix –is. Unicorn entered English in the 13th century.
Are such politically star-crossed lovers as Mary Matalin and James Carville a relationship unicorn?
Big N.B.A. trades are always followed by a scramble to label players and teams as winners and losers, but every so often a unicorn of a deal comes together, and everyone involved seems to benefit.