Word of the Day

Word of the day

Sunday, October 06, 2019

flexuous

[ flek-shoo-uhs ]

adjective

full of bends or curves; sinuous.

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What is the origin of flexuous?

Flexuous comes straight from Latin flexuōsus “full of bends or turns, winding,” an adjective derived from the noun flexus “an act of bending, turning, or swerving, or of turning a corner,” which in turn is a derivative of the verb flectere “to bend, curve, curl (the hair).” Further etymology of flectere is uncertain. Flexuous is not common in English; the word is used chiefly in zoology and botany. Flexuous entered English in the early 17th century.

how is flexuous used?

The searching stems are gently flexuous, belying their innate urge to reach up to the light.

Andy Byfield, "Ivy: the forgotten festive plant," The Guardian, December 31, 2013

… George Best corkscrewing his way past man after man on a flexuous run of perfect balance and improvised brilliance.

Paul Gardner, "Soccer, American Style," New York Times, May 4, 1975
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Word of the day

Saturday, October 05, 2019

realia

[ ree-ey-lee-uh, -al-ee-uh, rey-ah-lee-uh ]

plural noun

objects, as coins, tools, etc., used by a teacher to illustrate everyday living.

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What is the origin of realia?

Realia comes from the Late Latin adjective reālia “real things, facts,” the neuter plural of reālis used as a noun. Reālis is a derivative of the noun rēs “thing, matter, affair” (three of the word’s many, many meanings). The earliest English usage of realia referred to German culture and educational systems, specifically the Realschule, a secondary school specializing in practical subjects rather than the liberal arts. In the United States since the late 1890s, realia have meant ordinary, everyday objects used as teaching aids for children. This is nothing new: in the first century a.d., the Roman rhetorician Quintilian recommended using large letters carved of wood, easy for children to handle, to help them learn the alphabet. Realia entered English in the first half of the 19th century.

how is realia used?

For students to learn a new language in meaningful contexts, teachers must use every instructional strategy available to them, including the use of actual objects (realia), pictures, videos, and gestures to express meaning.

Anthony Jackson, "Immersion Teaching: Successful Approaches," Education Week, October 17, 2013

Many libraries contain realia, or real artifacts. School libraries may include various kinds of rock for the study of geology; cultural libraries may possess objects such as the toki ….

Ian H. Witten and David Bainbridge, How to Build a Digital Library, 2003

Word of the day

Friday, October 04, 2019

slumberland

[ sluhm-ber-land ]

noun

an imaginary land described to children as the place they enter during sleep.

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What is the origin of slumberland?

Slumberland is a humorous, poetic, or childish word. It first appears in the Decadent poet Algernon Swinburne’s Tristram of Lyonesse and other Poems (1882): “The great good wizard … Takes his strange rest at heart of slumberland.” Slumber, “to sleep, doze,” comes from Middle English slumeren, frequentative of slumen “to doze,” itself a derivative of Old English slūma “sleep.”

how is slumberland used?

… Drew Ackerman created a podcast to lead listeners into slumberland.

Pagan Kennedy, "The Insomnia Machine," New York Times, September 17, 2016

Every time the boy thinks he has ushered them into slumberland, with the goal of getting some shut-eye himself, a new obstacle pops up (“Is something wrong?” “I need my coil!”/ “My sensor aches!” “I want more oil!”).

, "Beep! Beep! Go to Sleep!" Publishers Weekly, July 6, 2015

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