Word of the Day

Thursday, October 03, 2019

foliaceous

[ foh-lee-ey-shuhs ]

adjective

bearing leaves or leaflike parts.

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What is the origin of foliaceous?

Foliaceous “leaflike, leafy,” is a technical adjective used in botany and other branches of biology. Foliaceous comes straight from Latin foliāceus (with the same meanings), a derivative of the noun folium “leaf.” Folium comes from the Proto-Indo-European root bhel-, bhol-, bhlē-, bhlō– “to bloom, thrive.” The root is the source of Latin flōs (inflectional stem flōr-) “flower,” which through French yields English flower and flour, and Old Irish blāth “blossom, flower.” The Germanic form blō– yields the Old English noun blōstma, blōsma “blossom,” and the verb blōwan “to blow, blossom, flourish.” The Greek noun phýllon “leaf” could be from the same root, except that the y (instead of o) is hard to explain. Foliaceous entered English in the 17th century.

how is foliaceous used?

This Oak presents about the longest trunk of all California foliaceous trees.

Titus Fey Cronise, The Natural Wealth of California, 1868

The autumn dress of the foliaceous forest is much more varied and rich in colour than even that of the Atlantic forests of North America ….

J. J. Rein, The Industries of Japan, 1889
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Wednesday, October 02, 2019

coalesce

[ koh-uh-les ]

verb (used without object)

to unite so as to form one mass, community, etc.: The various groups coalesced into a crowd.

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What is the origin of coalesce?

The English verb coalesce ultimately comes from the Latin compound verb coalescere “to grow together, combine,” formed from co-, a variant of the prefix com– “together, with,” and the verb alescere “to grow up, be nourished.” Alescere is composed of the simple verb alere “to nourish, suckle, feed,” with the inchoative suffix –esc-, which indicates the beginning of an action (sometimes the suffix has lost its original meaning). Alere comes from the Latin root al– “to nourish,” from which Latin also derives alimentum “nourishment” (English aliment and alimentary), alumnus “foster child, nursling” (English alumnus), alimōnium “food, support, cost of support” (English alimony), and alma māter “nourishing mother, kindly mother,” which by the late 14th century came to refer specifically to universities. Coalesce entered English in the 16th century.

how is coalesce used?

Will the new generation of activists rising across the United States coalesce into a movement capable of uniting a deeply polarized country?

Srdja Popovic and Slobodan Djinovic, "Gene Sharp has passed away—but his ideas will go on inspiring activists around the world," Washington Post, February 1, 2018

Most friend groups, however, seemed to coalesce around the segment of L.A. they were from, bonds formed through carpools and neighborhood functions rather than schoolyard commingling.

Samuel Harwood, "L.A. Affairs: A love derailed by staying on track," Los Angeles Times, August 1, 2015
Tuesday, October 01, 2019

extenuate

[ ik-sten-yoo-eyt ]

verb (used with object)

to represent (a fault, offense, etc.) as less serious: to extenuate a crime.

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What is the origin of extenuate?

Extenuate comes from Latin extenuāt-, the past participle of the verb extenuāre “to make thin or narrow, whittle down, contract, reduce.” The only common English meaning of extenuate, “to represent a fault or offense as less serious,” is an extended meaning of one of the Latin senses “to diminish or lessen (in size, quantity, or degree).” The root underlying extenuāre is the Latin adjective tenuis “thin,” a derivative of the very common Proto-Indo-European root ten-, tend-, ton-, tṇ– (and other variants) “to stretch, extend, spin (cloth).” The root appears in Latin tenēre “to hold in the hand, grasp,” tendere “to stretch out, offer”; Sanskrit tanṓti “(he) stretches, spins,” tāna– “thread, tone”; Greek teínein “to stretch, pull tight,” and tónos “tension, sinew, cord, string, tension (in the voice), tone (of the voice).” The Germanic forms thunw– and thunni– yield the Old English verb thenian (also thennan) “to stretch, spread out, bend (a bow),” Old High German dennen “to extend, stretch” (German dehnen), the Old English adjective thynne “thin,” and German dünn “thin.” Extenuate entered English in the first half of the 16th century.

how is extenuate used?

Revelation of embryonic activity in the sixties does not extenuate crimes of more recent vintage, but they will show us how pervasive and dangerous our unconcern has been.

William Safire, "Who Else Is Guilty," New York Times, January 2, 1975

This was what no reasoning, no appeal to the calmer judgment, could ever, in his inmost thoughts, undo or extenuate.

Edith Wharton, The Fruit of the Tree, 1907

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