Word of the Day

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

flagitious

[ fluh-jish-uhs ]

adjective

shamefully wicked, as persons, actions, or times.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of flagitious?

English flagitious ultimately comes from the Latin adjective flāgitiōsus, “shameful, shocking,” a derivative of the noun flāgitium, a very strong word in Latin meaning “a public demonstration of disapproval outside someone’s house, an offense against decency, disgrace, infamy,” is often applied to sexual misconduct, and even worse, to violations against military discipline. Flāgitium is related to flāgitāre “to press someone with demands, importune, dun (a debtor), summon someone to trial.” Flāgitāre in its turn is probably related to the noun flagrum “a whip, lash, flail (for punishment).” The Latin root flag– is also the source of flagellum “a whip,” flagellāre “to whip,” from which English derives flagellate, flagellant, and flagellation. Flagitious entered English in the 14th century.

how is flagitious used?

… his faith is pure, though his manners are flagitious.

Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, 1776–1788

He should have persisted in gloom, which would eventually earn a commercial reward that outran the avarice of his most flagitious villains.

Caleb Crain, "Something Wicked This Way Comes," New York Times, December 6, 1998
quiz icon
WHAT'S YOUR WORD IQ?
Think you're a word wizard? Try our word quiz, and prove it!
TAKE THE QUIZ
arrows pointing up and down
SYNONYM OF THE DAY
Double your word knowledge with the Synonym of the Day!
SEE TODAY'S SYNONYM

Get A Vocabulary Boost In Your Inbox

Get the Word of the Day every day!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Monday, October 14, 2019

recherché

[ ruh-shair-shey, ruh-shair-shey; French ruh-sher-shey ]

adjective

sought out with care.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of recherché?

The adjective recherché “carefully sought out, rare, exotic, obscure, elegant, pretentious,” comes straight from French recherché, the past participle of the verb rechercher “to look for carefully, research.” The prefix re– in rechercher indicates repetition; the verb chercher “to look for,” comes from Late Latin circāre “to go around,” a derivation of circus “circle.” (English search comes from Old French cerchier, French chercher.) Recherché entered English in the 17th century.

how is recherché used?

… a tasteful and récherché stock of frames and feathers and ribbons was chosen ….

William Dean Howells, A Woman's Reason, 1882

But, among the books which load their shelves, there is the most recherché collection of European standard works to be found in this country ….

, "Scribner & Co.," New York Times, December 12, 1874
Sunday, October 13, 2019

aplomb

[ uh-plom, uh-pluhm ]

noun

imperturbable self-possession, poise, or assurance.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of aplomb?

The English adjective aplomb is from the French noun aplomb “self-possession,” literally “perpendicularity,” from the Old French phrase a plomb “perpendicularly,” literally “according to the lead weight,” from Latin ad “at, to” and plumbum “lead.” Aplomb entered English in the first half of the 19th century.

how is aplomb used?

… I had found that in entering with aplomb, and mounting the estrade with emphasis, consisted the grand secret of ensuring immediate silence.

Charlotte Brontë, The Professor, 1857

Whether he was coached in the art of transcendental stillness by his mother, whose acting career is not long over, has yet to be revealed, but he performed his task with aplomb.

Anthony Lane, "Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Introduce Their Son, a Royal Named Archie," The New Yorker, May 8, 2019

Get A Vocabulary Boost In Your Inbox

Get the Word of the Day every day!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.