Word of the Day

Word of the day

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

flubdub

[ fluhb-duhb ]

noun

pretentious nonsense or show; airs.

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What is the origin of flubdub?

There is no etymology other than “fanciful coinage” or “of unknown origin” for flubdub. It is used as a common noun but first appears in print as a surname in 1885.

how is flubdub used?

He had, by intently listening to lawyers who had delivered him from justice in the 43 times he had stood prisoner before city and county courts, acquired an astonishing hash of legalistic flubdub.

Meyer Berger, "Murder Inc.: Justice Overtakes the Largest and Most Cruel Gang of Killers in U.S. History," Life, September 30, 1940

Next to seeing a ballgame, the best thing is to sit in the studio with Mr. Barber and watch and listen as he takes the skeletonized report of a game coming over the telegraph wire and wraps up the bare bones with flubdub and pads it out and feeds it to the customers so it sounds as though he, and they, were seeing the plays.

Red Smith, "It's All Genuine, Although Synthetic," New York Herald Tribune, August 28, 1946
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Word of the day

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

cynosure

[ sahy-nuh-shoor, sin-uh- ]

noun

something that strongly attracts attention by its brilliance, interest, etc.: the cynosure of all eyes.

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What is the origin of cynosure?

In Greek Kynósoura means “dog’s tail” and is also the name of the constellation Ursa Minor (also known as the Lesser Bear, Little Bear, and especially in American usage, the Little Dipper). The first element of Kynósoura is the genitive singular of the Greek noun kúōn “dog, bitch, shepherd dog, watchdog.” Greek kúōn (and its stem kun-) come a very wide spread Proto-Indo-European noun kúwōn (stems kwon-, kun-) “dog,” source of Sanskrit śvā́ (also śuvā́) (stem śun-), Old Prussian sunis, Germanic (German) Hund “dog,” (Old English) hund, (English hound). Greek ourā́ “tail” is akin to Greek órrhos “rump” (from orso-) comes from Proto-Indo-European orsos “buttocks, rump, tail,” source of Germanic (German) Arsch and English arse (ass in American English). Cynosure entered English at the end of the 16th century.

how is cynosure used?

The throne of the gods was the most famous institution in Atvatabar. It was the cynosure of every eye, the object of all adoration, the tabernacle of all that was splendid in art, science and spiritual perfection.

William R. Bradshaw, The Goddess of Atvatabar, 1892

… the garden’s look will be substantially different, with 16 new pieces by artists including … Katharina Fritsch, whose “Hahn/Cock,” an ultramarine rooster more than 20 feet tall, might challenge “Spoonbridge” as the garden’s cynosure.

Robin Pogrebin and Randy Kennedy, "The New Cherries on Top of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden," New York Times, January 21, 2016

Word of the day

Monday, May 21, 2018

adultescent

[ ad-uhl-tes-uhnt, uh-duhl- ]

noun

a young adult or middle-aged person who has interests, traits, etc., that are usually associated with teenagers.

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What is the origin of adultescent?

The informal noun kidult, a combination of kid and adult, which dates from about 1960, has mostly been replaced by the equally informal noun adultescent (from adult and adolescent), which first appears in the mid-1990s.

how is adultescent used?

It almost seems as if we’re actively trying to raise a nation of “adultescents.”

Elizabeth Kolbert, "Spoiled Rotten," The New Yorker, July 2, 2012

Adultescent came of age in 2004, but only as a word. The adult it describes is too busy playing Halo 2 on his Xbox or watching SpongeBob at his parents’ house to think about growing up.

John Tierney, "Adultescent," New York Times, December 26, 2004

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