Word of the Day

Word of the day

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

farraginous

[ fuh-raj-uh-nuhs ]

adjective

heterogeneous; mixed.

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What is the origin of farraginous?

The adjective farraginous “heterogeneous; mixed” ultimately comes from the Latin noun farrāgō (inflectional stem farrāgin-) “mixed grains” (used for animal feed). Farrāgo is a compound of far (inflectional stem farr-) “husked wheat, emmer” and the noun-forming suffix –āgō (stem āgin-). Other derivatives of far include farīna “meal, flour” (English farina) and its adjective farīnāceus (English farinaceous). Far comes from the Proto-Indo-European root bhers– or bhares– “barley,” source of Old Icelandic barr “grain, barley” and Old English bere, which forms the first syllable of modern English barley. Farraginous entered English in the first half of the 17th century.

how is farraginous used?

In general we suspect that the simpler the pasta dish, the more successful it is likely to be. … But fancier linguine alla grana (whole wheat pasta) was a disaster, a farraginous mound with bits of filet mignon and mushrooms in a fatty brown sauce.

M. H. Reed, "Where the Appetizers Take Center Stage," New York Times, November 5, 1995

For being a confusion of knaves and fools, and a farraginous concurrence of all conditions, tempers, sexes, and ages, it is but natural if their determinations be monstrous and many ways inconsistent with truth.

Sir Thomas Browne, Vulgar Errors, 1646

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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.

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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

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Word of the day

Sunday, June 20, 2021

nonpareil

[ non-puh-rel ]

noun

a person or thing having no equal.

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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

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