Word of the Day

Word of the day

Monday, July 16, 2018

garbology

[ gahr-bol-uh-jee ]

noun

the study of the material discarded by a society to learn what it reveals about social or cultural patterns.

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What is the origin of garbology?

Garbology is proof of the complete naturalization in English of the originally Greek combining form -ología “study of, science of.” The “correct” Greek word for the hybrid garbology is—or would be—tracheliology, from Greek trachḗlia “scraps of meat and gristle from the neck thrown away with offal,” or more simply “scraps, offal,” and -ología. The meaning of trachḗlia coincides very neatly with the meaning of garbage, originally “discarded bits of butchered fowl.” Garbology entered English in the 20th century.

how is garbology used?

The thing about garbology at that level, Smith says, is that it lets anyone–kids, teachers, parents–understand their own footprint, as well as their friends’. And once that’s understood, it’s possible to do something about it.

Edward Humes, Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash, 2012

Had the Puente Hills landfill called it back in 2007, when the U.S. was on the verge of the Great Recession, perhaps we’d all be singing the praises of garbology as economic indicator.

Geoff Manaugh and Nicola Twilley, "Touring the Largest Active Landfill in America," Atlantic, April 5, 2013
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Word of the day

Sunday, July 15, 2018

coeval

[ koh-ee-vuhl ]

adjective

of the same age, date, or duration; equally old: Analysis has proved that this manuscript is coeval with that one.

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What is the origin of coeval?

The English adjective coeval comes from the Late Latin coaevus “of the same age.” The common Latin prefix co- is a variant of the prefix con-, from the preposition cum “with.” The noun aevum “age, the past, history” comes from the Proto-Indo-European root aiw-, ayu- “life force, long life, vitality,” from which Gothic derives awis “time, eternity,” German ewig “eternal, everlasting,” Old English ā “ever, always,” and Old Norse ei “ever,” the source of English ay (also aye). Coeval entered English in the 17th century.

how is coeval used?

An old woman, who seemed coeval with the building … received us at the gate …

Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, 1749

… the Serpent mentioned that very jest, and called it the First Chestnut, and said it was coeval with the creation.

Mark Twain, The Private Life of Adam and Eve, 1906

Word of the day

Saturday, July 14, 2018

amour-propre

[ a-moor-praw-pruh ]

noun

French. self-esteem; self-respect.

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What is the origin of amour-propre?

The French compound noun amour-propre, literally “self-love, self-regard,” is associated especially with the philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-78), but the phrase is found earlier in the works of Blaise Pascal (1623-62) and François de La Rochefoucauld (1613-80). For Rousseau amour-propre is self-love or self-esteem dependent upon the good opinion of others, as opposed to amour de soi, which also means “self-love” but is directed solely toward one’s own well-being and is not dependent upon the good opinion of others. The English lexicographer Henry W. Fowler (1858-1933), in his A Dictionary of Modern English Usage (1926), acidly comments about amour-propre, “Vanity usually gives the meaning as well, &, if as well, then better.” Amour-propre entered English in the 18th century.

how is amour-propre used?

From the faces round him there fell that glamour by which the amour propre is held captive in large assemblies, where the amour propre is flattered.

Edward Bulwar-Lytton, What Will He Do with It?, 1858

Whatever might be the urgings of his amour propre, in his opinion he had a professional duty to tell the client his findings.

Louis Begley, Matters of Honor, 2007

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