Word of the Day

Monday, June 03, 2019

fecund

[ fee-kuhnd, -kuhnd, fek-uhnd, -uhnd ]

adjective

very productive or creative intellectually: the fecund years of the Italian Renaissance.

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What is the origin of fecund?

The English adjective fecund ultimately comes from Latin fēcundus “fertile, productive,” used of humans, animals, and plants. The first syllable – is a Latin development of the Proto-Indo-European root dhē(i)– “to suck, suckle.” From – Latin forms the derivatives fēlīx “fruitful, productive, fortunate, blessed, lucky” (source of the English name Felix and felicity), fēmina “woman” (originally a feminine participle meaning “suckling”), fētus “parturition, birth, conception, begetting, young (plant or animal), child,” and fīlius and fīlia “son” and “daughter,” respectively (and source of filial). Dhē(i)– appears in Greek as thē(i)-, as in thêsthai “to suckle” and thēlḗ “nipple, teat” (an element of the uncommon English noun thelitis “inflammation of the nipple”). Fecund entered English in the 15th century.

how is fecund used?

… he possesses a fecund imagination able to spin out one successful series after another ….

John Koblin, "As the Streaming Wars Heat Up, Ryan Murphy Cashes In," New York Times, February 14, 2018

He sort of reminded me of Billy Name … the guy who pretty much functioned as the Factory’s foreman during its most fecund years.

Mark Leyner, Gone with the Mind, 2016
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Sunday, June 02, 2019

jactation

[ jak-tey-shuhn ]

noun

boasting; bragging.

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What is the origin of jactation?

Jactation comes straight from the Latin noun jactātiōn– (the inflectional stem of jactātiō) “a flinging or throwing about, a shaking or jolting, tossing of the waves at sea,” and by extension, “frequent changing of one’s mind or attitude, boastfulness, grounds for boasting.” Jactātiō is a derivative of the verb jactāre “to throw, hurl, toss,” a frequentative verb from jacere “to throw, toss, sow (seed), cast (anchor).” Jactation entered English in the 16th century.

how is jactation used?

Judge of my mortification, t’other day, when in a moment of jactation, I boasted of being born in that illustrious, ancient, and powerful kingdom!

Robert Murray Keith to his sisters, April 10, 1971, in Memoirs and Correspondence of Sir Robert Murray Keith, K.B., Vol. 2, 1849

Others see in them merely the jactation of a limited wit, which is nothing more.

George Saintsbury, A Short History of French Literature, 5th ed., 1901
Saturday, June 01, 2019

disinvent

[ dis-in-vent ]

verb (used with object)

to undo the invention of; to reverse the existence of.

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What is the origin of disinvent?

Disinvent is an obvious compound of the prefix dis-, here having a reversing force, and the verb invent. It is quite rare, first appearing in the second half of the 19th century (for the “disinventing” of the telegraph). In the 20th century disinvent has been applied to the impossibility of “disinventing” nuclear or chemical weapons.

how is disinvent used?

However alarmed we are by those weapons, we cannot disinvent them. The world cannot cancel the knowledge of how to make them. It is an irreversible fact.

Margaret Thatcher, "Disarmament with Security: Towards Peace with Freedom," speech to UN General Assembly, June 23, 1982

A number of science fiction movies have actually had to “disinvent” existing technologies in order to retell the myth of how rebels against “the system” help preserve free and open societies.

Mark Hagerott and Daniel Sarewitz, "A Future in Denial," Slate, July 30, 2013

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