Word of the Day

Sunday, March 21, 2021

foozle

[ foo-zuhl ]

verb (used with or without object)

to bungle; play clumsily.

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What is the origin of foozle?

Foozle “to bungle; play clumsily; bungle a stroke at golf,” perhaps comes from German dialect fuseln “to work badly, clumsily, hurriedly.” The verb foozle is somehow connected with the noun foozle “an old fogey; a bungled stroke at golf.” The verb and noun both entered English in the late 1850s.

how is foozle used?

The landscape itself takes on the shape and lineaments of the beloved; according to the fortunes of love, shots desperately flail and foozle or else miraculously take wing and fly over obstacles.

Charles McGrath, "Mixed Greens," New York Times, July 29, 2001

For although I made many excellent, and even brilliant, strokes, I would constantly foozle others, with the result that I never got round the links under 100 …

Robert Marshall, The Haunted Major, 1902

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Saturday, March 20, 2021

vernal

[ vur-nl ]

adjective

of or relating to spring.

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What is the origin of vernal?

Vernal “relating to the season of spring” comes from the pretty rare Latin adjective vernālis, a derivative of the far more common adjective vernus. Vernus is a derivative of the noun vēr “the season of spring,” from Proto-Indo-European wesṛ-, which becomes vār in Old Norse, éar (and wéar) in Greek, vasarà in Lithuanian, and vesna in Old Church Slavonic. Vernal entered English in the first half of the 16th century.

how is vernal used?

The vernal equinox is one of two points in Earth’s orbit where the sun creates equal periods of daytime and nighttime across the globe. Many people mark it as the first day of the spring.

"Sync your calendar with the solar system," New York Times, January 3, 2021

To this riot of stimuli, this vernal bombardment of the senses, I have capitulated without a fight.

Campbell McGrath, "At the Ruins of Yankee Stadium," The New Yorker, April 20, 2020

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Friday, March 19, 2021

gasconade

[ gas-kuh-neyd ]

noun

extravagant boasting; boastful talk.

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What is the origin of gasconade?

Gasconade “extravagant boasting; boastful talk” comes straight from French gasconnade “bragging, boasting, a boastful story,” from the noun Gascon, denoting an inhabitant of Gascony in southwest France. Gascon ultimately comes from Latin Vasco, Vascō (inflectional stem Vascon-, Vascōn-), originally denoting the inhabitants of Vasconia, the territory on either side of the Pyrenees. Vascones becomes Guascones in Medieval Latin: Vasco is the source of Basque, and Guascon the source of Gascon. Gasconade entered English in the mid-17th century.

how is gasconade used?

We may also have figured out, or most of us may have, that the bluster and gasconade of the fear-mongers hasn’t really done us much good.

Michael Tomasky, "Has Political Fear-Mongering Lost Its Appeal?" New York Times, June 18, 2016

The president was impressed by Hooker’s achievements but disturbed by his gasconade.

James M. McPherson, Tired By War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief, 2008

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