Word of the Day

Word of the day

Thursday, March 29, 2018

gadzookery

[ gad-zoo-kuh-ree ]

noun

British. the use or overuse of period-specific or archaic expressions, as in a historical novel.

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What is the origin of gadzookery?

Gadzookery was first recorded in 1950–1955.

how is gadzookery used?

The language is convincing, and free of the gadzookery of Elizabethan pastiche.

Charles Nicholl, "Exiting the Stage," New York Times, January 25, 2013

Several other stories and verses that they jointly contributed to magazines are historical and melodramatic in tone, larded with archaic oaths and exclamations and general gadzookery.

Julia Briggs, A Woman of Passion: The Life of E. Nesbit, 1987
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Word of the day

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

timeserver

[ tahym-sur-ver ]

noun

a person who shapes his or her conduct to conform to the opinions of the time or of persons in power, especially for selfish ends.

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What is the origin of timeserver?

Timeserver was first recorded in 1565–75.

how is timeserver used?

He was labeled unreliable. He could even be thought a double-dealer or timeserver.

Eitaro Ishizawa, "Too Much About Too Many," Ellery Queen's Japanese Golden Dozen, 1978

“I couldn’t marry Belinda to a time-server or a palace-worshipper,” said the King decidedly.

Edith Nesbit, The Magic World, 1912

Word of the day

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

kismet

[ kiz-mit, -met, kis- ]

noun

fate; destiny.

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What is the origin of kismet?

The English noun kismet “fate” comes straight from Turkish kismet, which in turn comes from Persian qismat, from Arabic qisma, qismat- “lot,” from qasama “(he) divided,” from the (West) Semitic root qsm- “to divide, allot.” Long before the arrival of Islam, Persian was used as an imperial administrative and literary language, contributing to the vocabulary of neighboring languages, especially the Turkic languages of Anatolia, central Asia, and some Indo-Aryan languages of the Indian subcontinent, especially Urdu. These languages received terms relating to Islam indirectly via Persian rather than directly from Arabic. Kismet entered English in the 19th century.

how is kismet used?

In the way that a randomly shuffled song on your headphones can feel like thrilling kismet, suddenly, this semi-animate speaker seemed to belong in my home.

Sarah Larson, "Yelling at Amazon's Alexa," The New Yorker, October 6, 2016

It was kismet that it happened with you, and today!

Orhan Pamuk, The Black Book, translated by Güneli Gün, 1994

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