• Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Wednesday, January 31, 2018

    fenestrated

    adjective [fen-uh-strey-tid, fi-nes-trey- or fi-nes-treyt, fen-uh-streyt]
    Architecture. having windows; windowed; characterized by windows.
    See Full Definition

    Get to know dictionary.com

    Sign up for our Newsletter!
    Start your day with weird words, fun quizzes, and language stories.
    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

    What is the origin of fenestrated?

    The English adjective fenestrated is used in the technical language of architecture, anatomy (“pierced, perforated”), and entomology (“having transparent spots”). Fenestrated is obviously derived from the Latin noun fenestra “window.” But Latin fenestra has no clear etymology. Some derive it from Etruscan fnestra, which is not only unattested but also may be a loan word in Etruscan from another, unknown language. Fenestrated entered English in the 19th century.

    How is fenestrated used?

    As you approach the formal entrance from State Street on the west, you're looking at five or six stories ... of ornately carved and fenestrated red sandstone. Sarah Andrews, Fault Line, 2002

    Even those who feel queasy at the sight of such ostentatious perpetrations of Sir Gilbert Scott in his Gothic Revival style, may yet feel its presence visually preferable to yet another skyscraping multiplication of a single fenestrated module. Patrick Ryan, "The last word on ... Diplomatic dilapidation," New Scientist, January 16, 1975

    Get to know dictionary.com

    Sign up for our Newsletter!
    Start your day with weird words, fun quizzes, and language stories.
    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Tuesday, January 30, 2018

    obsequious

    adjective [uh b-see-kwee-uh s]
    characterized by or showing servile complaisance or deference; fawning: an obsequious bow.
    See Full Definition

    What is the origin of obsequious?

    The English adjective obsequious, a direct borrowing from Latin obsequiōsus, has undergone pejoration (change in meaning for the worse) from its Latin original. The Latin word means “obedient, compliant,” which is the original English meaning of the word in the 15th century. By the end of the 16th century, in Shakespeare’s time, obsequious developed the meaning "dutiful in showing one’s respect for the dead." Its current sense, "fawning, servile," dates from the early 17th century.

    How is obsequious used?

    At such a moment, the arrival of her friend was a sincere pleasure to Elizabeth, though in the course of their meetings she must sometimes think the pleasure dearly bought, when she saw Mr. Darcy exposed to all the parading and obsequious civility of her husband. Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, 1813

    He was garrulous and obsequious, sprinkling “yes, sir”s around as though casting handfuls of seed on new-raked soil. Annie Proulx, "A Resolute Man," The New Yorker, March 21, 2016

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Monday, January 29, 2018

    ad absurdum

    adverb [ad ab-sur-duh m]
    to the point of absurdity.
    See Full Definition

    What is the origin of ad absurdum?

    In Latin ad absurdum is a prepositional phrase composed of the preposition ad “to” and the neuter singular adjective absurdum “out of tune, harsh, rough; senseless, silly.” In English the phrase is used as an adverb and is still unnaturalized. Ad absurdum entered English in the mid-17th century.

    How is ad absurdum used?

    "Oh, if any argument's pushed ad absurdum ..." Fido controls her temper. Emma Donoghue, The Sealed Letter, 2008

    André was allergic to the very idea of "matéreal" and smelled one of Theo's attempts to critique "bourgeois morality" by taking it ad absurdum. Peter Schneider, Couplings, translated by Philip Boehm, 1996

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Sunday, January 28, 2018

    earworm

    noun [eer-wurm]
    Informal. a tune or part of a song that repeats in one’s mind.
    See Full Definition

    What is the origin of earworm?

    The English noun earworm is a calque or loan translation of the German compound Ohrwurm “earwig (the insect), catchy tune” (the all but identical Dutch oorworm means only earwig). Earworm entered English in the late 16th century in the sense earwig; its current sense dates from the late 20th century.

    How is earworm used?

    Despite the annoying times we can’t get a chorus or a hook of an overplayed pop song out of our heads, getting a really good earworm stuck can be one of the best things, ever. Blake Rodgers, "Weekend Earworms: Good Gracious, the Great Grammys of 1983!" Nerdist, February 12, 2017

    The earworm made it all the way to No. 4 on the Hot 100, stalling just shy of breaking through and becoming the extremely rare alternative track to own that all-genre chart. Hugh McIntyre, "This Hit Single Is Now The Longest-Running No. 1 On The Alternative Songs Chart," Forbes, November 30, 2017

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Saturday, January 27, 2018

    flakelet

    noun [fleyk-lit]
    a small flake, as of snow.
    See Full Definition

    What is the origin of flakelet?

    Flakelet was first recorded in the 1880s.

    How is flakelet used?

    I am amazed before a little flakelet of snow, at its loveliness, at the strangeness of its geometry, its combination of angles, at the marvellous chemistry which brought these curious atoms together. Theodore Parker, Lessons from the World of Matter and the World of Man, 1865

    The first flake or flakelet that reached me was a mere white speck that came idly circling and eddying to the ground. John Burroughs, "A Snow-Storm," Signs and Seasons, 1886

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Friday, January 26, 2018

    Sisyphean

    adjective [sis-uh-fee-uh n]
    endless and unavailing, as labor or a task.
    See Full Definition

    What is the origin of Sisyphean?

    Many Greek proper names, e.g., Sisyphus, Ephyra, Corinth, and Athens, have no discernible etymology in Greek. In Greek mythology Sísyphos was king over Ephýra, the old name for Corinth (the port city on the southern shore of the Gulf of Corinth), about 50 miles west of Athens. The only mention of Sisyphus in the Iliad (book 6:154-55) is that he lived in Ephyra. In the Odyssey (book 11:593-600), Odysseus saw Sisyphus rolling his huge stone but gave no reason for Sisyphus’s punishment. Later writers state that Sisyphus had offended Zeus by telling the river god Asopus where Zeus had taken his (Asopus’s) daughter Aegina. Zeus had abducted Aegina, and Asopus was in vengeful pursuit against Zeus. Sisyphean entered English in the 17th century.

    How is Sisyphean used?

    Making himself useful as always, he took upon himself the Sisyphean task of keeping all those Modernist surfaces sparkling. Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex, 2002

    We are shown two inmates toiling at senseless, Sisyphean labors, nursing each other's sores, commiserating and bickering with each other. John Simon, "Mad, Bad, Sad, and Glad," New York, December 16, 1974

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Thursday, January 25, 2018

    reverie

    noun [rev-uh-ree]
    a state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing: lost in reverie.
    See Full Definition

    What is the origin of reverie?

    Reverie has calmed down from its original meaning of wild emotion, wild behavior, anger, fury (the 14th and 15th centuries). The Middle French nouns reverie and resverie derive from Middle French verbs resver, raver, rever “to be insane, behave deliriously” (in modern French rȇver means only “to dream”). The current English meaning of daydreaming dates from the 15th century.

    How is reverie used?

    Sometimes I'd lie quite still with my eyes closed for as much as half an hour, letting myself sink slowly into a state of reverie that was almost a trance. Christopher Isherwood, The World in the Evening, 1954

    As the evening wore away he became more and more absorbed in reverie, from which no sallies of mine could arouse him. Edgar Allan Poe, "The Gold Bug," The Dollar Newspaper, June 21, 1843

    Previous Day Load More
Sign up for our Newsletter!
Start your day with weird words, fun quizzes, and language stories.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.