Word of the Day

Friday, March 26, 2021

fustigate

[ fuhs-ti-geyt ]

verb (used with object)

to criticize harshly; castigate.

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What is the origin of fustigate?

The English verb fustigate, “to criticize harshly; scold severely,” comes from Late Latin fustīgātus, the past participle of the verb fustīgāre “to beat to death with a cudgel.” Fustīgāre is a compound of the noun fustis “a stick, club, cudgel” and the combining form –igāre, a derivative of the simple, much overworked Latin verb agere “to do, act.” The same combining form appears in lītigāre “to go to law,” source of English litigate and litigation; fūmigāre “to smoke,” source of English fumigate and fumigation; and nāvigāre “to travel by ship, sail,” English navigate and navigation. Fustigate entered English in the mid-17th century.

how is fustigate used?

He fustigates them energetically a few years later for their political affiliations, their efforts to bring about a social revolution, their commitment to the physical, whereas, according to Artaud, the great revolution must be a revolution of the spirit, a metamorphosis of what he called the soul.

Leonard Cabell Pronko, Theater East and West, 1967

He fustigates only those propositions that go against the evidence in the service of an undeniable initial lie.

Herbert Southworth, Guernica! Guernica! A Study of Journalism, Diplomacy, Propaganda, and History, 1977

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Thursday, March 25, 2021

concatenation

[ kon-kat-n-ey-shuhn ]

noun

a series of interconnected or interdependent things or events.

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What is the origin of concatenation?

Concatenation comes straight from the Late Latin noun concatēnātiō (stem concatēnātiōn-) “connection, sequence” (literally “chaining together”), a derivation of catēna “chain.” The Italian and Spanish words for “chain” (catena and cadena, respectively) far more closely resemble the Latin original than does the modern French chaîne (the English source for “chain”), which passed through the stages chaeine (Old French), from caeine (Old North French), from Latin catēna. Concatenation entered English in the early 17th century.

how is concatenation used?

It took an amazing concatenation of circumstances, from Lyndon Johnson’s withdrawal to Rockefeller’s tergiversations to Humphrey’s disaster at the hands of the left in Chicago, to make him President.

Stewart Alsop, "Nixon and the Square Majority: Is the Fox a Lion?" The Atlantic, February 1972

Before the huge Saturn 1B rocket thundered off its launch pad, the effort had been plagued by an extraordinary concatenation of weather delays, electronic gremlins and other obstacles.

"Apollo's First Success," New York Times, February 27, 1966

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Wednesday, March 24, 2021

peduncle

[ pi-duhng-kuhl, pee-duhng- ]

noun

a flower stalk, supporting either a cluster or a solitary flower.

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What is the origin of peduncle?

The English noun peduncle is a technical term in the biological sciences, meaning “a stalk, flower stalk, stem.” Peduncle comes from New Latin pedunculus, with the same meanings, a derivative of Latin pēs (inflectional stem ped-) “foot” and the suffix –unculus, a variant of –culus, used to form diminutives. Latin pēs, ped– comes from the very widespread Proto-Indo-European root ped-, pod-, pēd-, pōd “foot.” The variant pōd– regularly becomes fōt– in Proto-Germanic, fōtus in Gothic, fōtr in Old Icelandic, fōt in Old English, and foot in English. The variant pod– becomes pous (stem pod-) “foot” in Greek, and the preposition pod “under” in Slavic. The Latin suffix –unculus is uncommon, but it also appears in Latin homunculus “human being, mere human being (as opposed to preternatural or supernatural beings or forces),” English homunculus. Peduncle entered English in the early 18th century.

how is peduncle used?

A member of the iris family, the marica is sometimes known as walking iris because of the way it produces young plants from drooping peduncles (flower stalks).

Edith Saylor Abbott, "Apostle Plant," New York Times, January 18, 1959

On Monday, they [the cherry blossom buds] reached “peduncle elongation,” which is the penultimate stage before the Tidal Basin is overwhelmed by both magnificent flowering trees and an onslaught of tourists.

Jason Samenow, "Cherry blossoms reach 'peduncle elongation' and Park Service moves up peak bloom forecast to April 1," Washington Post, March 26, 2019

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