Word of the Day

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

fictioneer

[ fik-shuh-neer ]

noun

a writer of fiction, especially a prolific one whose works are of mediocre quality.

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What is the origin of fictioneer?

The noun fictioneer is composed of the noun fiction and the noun suffix –eer denoting agency. The suffix is neutral in words like engineer and mountaineer, but it frequently has a pejorative sense, as in profiteer and racketeer. Fictioneer, too, has always had a hint of contempt in it: an early (1901) definition of fictioneer reads “a writer of ‘machine-made’ fiction.” Fictioneer entered English in the early 20th century.

how is fictioneer used?

If you were not a fictioneer, if you did not place a monetary value on the efforts of your imagination, I should be inclined to think that you were lying ….

Theodore Goodridge Roberts, "The Whisper," Munsey's Magazine, Vol. 54, 1915

That was long ago, and she’s a grandmother today, but still she can toss around the lingo of the Wild West with a fluency that would be the envy of a Hollywood scenarist or a fictioneer of the great open spaces.

Jean Ashton, "Revives Glories of 'Wild West'," Windsor Daily Star, August 30, 1941
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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
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

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