Word of the Day

Thursday, February 22, 2018

fantasticate

[ fan-tas-ti-keyt ]

verb

to make or render fantastic.

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What is the origin of fantasticate?

Fantasticate was first recorded in 1590-1600.

how is fantasticate used?

Parallel universes are another trope borrowed from the repertory of science fiction. They are a marvelous convenience for authors who want to fantasticate at a high rpm without having to offer a rational explanation for the wonders they evoke.

Thomas M. Disch, The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of, 1998

She also fantasticates about food, and her Catholicism surfaces in her lingering on the cannibalism at the heart of the eucharist.

Marina Warner, "From high society to surrealism: in praise of Leonora Carrington -- 100 years on," The Guardian, April 6, 2017
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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

epigrammatic

[ ep-i-gruh-mat-ik ]

adjective

terse and ingenious in expression; of or like an epigram.

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What is the origin of epigrammatic?

In Greek epígramma means “inscription, commemorative or memorial inscription, short poem, written estimate of or demand for damages.” Probably the most famous epigram is that attributed to Simonides of Ceos (c566 b.c.–c468 b.c.) for the Spartans who fell at Thermoplylae (480 b.c.): “Stranger, report to the Spartans that we lie here in obedience to their orders,” which is spartan in its terseness. Epigrammatic entered English in the early 18th century.

how is epigrammatic used?

… the dialogue is sanded and sharpened to an epigrammatic elegance …

Richard Brody, "'Phantom Thread': Paul Thomas Anderson's Furious Fusion of Art and Love," The New Yorker, December 27, 2017

His is the sort of epigrammatic utterance to which there can be no rejoinder, the clean hit and quick-killing witticism: once over lightly and leave.

Nicholas Delbanco, The Lost Suitcase, 2000
Tuesday, February 20, 2018

thewless

[ thyoo-lis ]

adjective

lacking in mental or moral vigor; weak, spiritless, or timid.

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What is the origin of thewless?

First recorded in 1300-50, thewless is from the Middle English word theweles.

how is thewless used?

For indeed they were but thewless creatures, pallid with the damp caves of the moors, and so starved that they seemed to have eaten grass like Nebuchadnezzar.

S. R. Crockett, The Cherry Ribband, 1905

Here I stand amid my clan / Spoiled of my fame a thewless man.

J. Stuart Blackie, "Is the Gaelic Ossian a Translation from the English?" The Celtic Magazine, July 1876

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