Word of the Day

Friday, May 08, 2020

garth

[ gahrth ]

noun

a yard or garden.

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What is the origin of garth?

The original meaning of the common noun garth, “an open courtyard enclosed by a cloister,” has been replaced by courtyard or quadrangle or just plain quad. Garth comes from the Middle English noun garth (also gard, gart and a half dozen other spellings) “enclosed courtyard or garden; a hedge or fence,” from Old Norse garthr. The Old English noun cognate with the Old Norse is geard “enclosure, enclosed space, court, dwelling, home” (geard is pronounced about the same as yard). The Old English and Old Norse nouns come from Germanic gardaz “house, garden,” from Proto-Indo-European ghordh-, an extension of the Proto-Indo-European root gher-, ghor- “to enclose.” The extended root ghordh- yields Old Church Slavonic gradŭ “city, garden” (as in the name Stalingrad “Stalin City”), Russian górod, and Polish gród, both meaning “city.” The extended root ghorto- yields Greek chórtos “enclosure, court,” Latin hortus “garden” (horticulture is the cultivation of gardens), Welsh garth, and Irish gort, both meaning “field.” Garth entered English in the 14th century.

how is garth used?

The highest ambition of such men as the Daltons was to possess a cottage and a small garth or close of land for a cow’s summer grazing.

Henry Lonsdale, The Worthies of Cumberland: John Dalton, 1874

For a comfortable habitation, a garden for potatoes, of a rood or half an acre, called a garth

Arthur Young, General View of the Agriculture of the County of Lincoln, 1799

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Thursday, May 07, 2020

proxemics

[ prok-see-miks ]

noun

(used with a singular verb)

the study of the spatial requirements of humans and animals and the effects of population density on behavior, communication, and social interaction.

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What is the origin of proxemics?

It is hard to find a more apposite word right now than proxemics “the study of the spatial requirements for humans and the effects of population density on behavior and social interaction.” Proxemics is made up of prox(imity) and –emics, which is extracted from (phon)emics “the study of the system of sounds of a language,” or is formed on the pattern of a word like phonemics. Proxemics was coined in 1973 by the U.S anthropologist Edward Hall.

how is proxemics used?

We’re likely to see a recalibration of the bubble of personal space we keep around ourselves—a field scientists call proxemics.

Amit Katwala, "Coronavirus could kill handshakes," Wired, March 6, 2020

Proxemics, however, is not merely about interactions between individuals. On a larger scale, it helps developers, urban planners and executives in various industries understand how people move through public spaces, how they shop, even what type of restaurants they find most comfortable.

, "In Certain Circles, Two Is a Crowd," New York Times, November 16, 2006

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Wednesday, May 06, 2020

solace

[ sol-is ]

noun

something that gives comfort, consolation, or relief.

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What is the origin of solace?

Solace, both noun and verb, comes from Old French noun solas, solaz and the Old French verb solacier, solasier from the Latin noun sōlācium (also spelled sōlātium) “relief in sorrow or misfortune, comfort,” a derivative of the verb sōlārī “to give comfort, console.” One of the meanings of sōlācium is “compensation, indemnification,” found in the writings of the Imperial Roman jurist Ulpian. This legal sense of sōlātium (spelled solatium) has existed in English since the 19th century. The noun and verb solace entered English around the same time, in the late 13th century.

how is solace used?

Here it shows the attributes that have enabled medicine as a science steadily to push the frontier of knowledge farther into the area once marked unknown, and have kept medicine as an art of human relations a constant solace to men in pain, fear, and sorrow.

Bernard DeVoto, "Doctors Along the Boardwalk," Harper's Magazine, Vol. 195, 1947

The only solace of the day was to make food—the basic things, soups, simple pastas and bread.

Chang-Rae Lee, "Eat, Memory," New York Times, October 10, 2004

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Tuesday, May 05, 2020

peregrinate

[ per-i-gruh-neyt ]

verb (used without object)

to travel or journey, especially to walk on foot.

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What is the origin of peregrinate?

The verb peregrinate, “to go on a journey on foot,” comes from Latin peregrīnātus, the past participle of peregrīnārī “to travel abroad,” a derivative of the adjective and noun peregrīnus “alien, foreign; an alien, a foreigner,” formed from the adverb peregrī “away from home, abroad.” In Roman republican and imperial law, a peregrīnus was a free person or a free community that did not have Roman citizenship (the vast majority of the inhabitants of the Empire). Late Latin peregrīnus became pelegrīnus by a common dissimilation (compare the spelling colonel with its pronunciation). Pelegrīnus has its own history, becoming the source of pilgrim. Peregrinate entered English in the late 16th century.

how is peregrinate used?

Regardless of how they get there, they seem to peregrinate in a fog, for which they can hardly be blamed …

Yelena Akhtiorskaya,

I had peregrinated further to the little hamlet of Bürglen, and peeped into the frescoed chapel which commemorates the hero’s natal scene.

Henry James, “At Isella,” The Galaxy, August 1871

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Monday, May 04, 2020

Jedi

[ jed-ahy ]

noun

a person who has an unexplainable power over people or things, or who seems to enjoy unusual luck and positive outcomes, as if able to exert the power of the Force to mystically influence the universe: The defense lawyer was a jedi—two minutes into his closing argument the jury forgot all of the incriminating evidence that had been presented.

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What is the origin of Jedi?

If you are from a galaxy far, far away, you will know what a Jedi is (a member of an order of warrior monks). The order and word were formed a long, long time ago in another galaxy, but in this one the word dates only to 1973.

how is Jedi used?

In the Senate, the outspoken Paul and McConnell, the methodical Jedi of the upper chamber, would sometimes disagree on tactics.

Peter Hamby, "How Mitch McConnell crushed the tea party," CNN, May 20, 2014

In December 2010, McGuire made a pilgrimage to Black Sheep Bikes in Fort Collins, Colo., to learn at the hands of an acknowledged Jedi of bike frame fabrication, James Bleakley.

Kyle Munson, "These Iowa bicycles lovingly built by hand travel all around the world," Des Moines Register, March 3, 2017

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Sunday, May 03, 2020

domicile

[ dom-uh-sahyl, -suhl, doh-muh- ]

noun

a place of residence; abode; house or home.

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What is the origin of domicile?

Domicile is a very legal-sounding word. Its general meaning is “place of residence, abode, house or home”; its legal meaning is “permanent legal residence, as for tax obligations or voting rights.” (Thus one may be domiciled in New York, paying state income taxes there and voting there, but also have a weekend residence in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.) Domicile comes from Middle French, from Latin domicilium, formed from the noun domus “house, home” and the suffix –cilium, of uncertain etymology, but probably derived from colere “to live in, inhabit, dwell” (the source of English colony). Latin domicilium has no legal meaning. Domicile entered English in the 15th century.

how is domicile used?

We drove into an older section of the downtown, down a street of brick row houses, and ended up in front of the family’s old domicile

Michael Paterniti, "Mr. Nobody: The Bizarre Story of Sywald Skeid," GQ, June 1, 2007

Choosing the latter alternative, I began by making up my mind to leave the hotel, and take up my quarters in some less pretentious and less expensive domicile. 

Arthur Conan Doyle, "A Study in Scarlet," Beeton's Christmas Annual, 1887

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Saturday, May 02, 2020

sedentary

[ sed-n-ter-ee ]

adjective

accustomed to sit or rest a great deal or to take little exercise.

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What is the origin of sedentary?

There is unfortunately no more apt a word right now than sedentary, “accustomed to sit or rest a great deal or to take little exercise.” Sedentary comes via Middle French sédentaire from Latin sedentārius “sitting, sedentary.” Sedentārius is a derivative of sedēns (stem sedent-), the present participle of sedēre “to sit,” and the very common adjective and noun suffix –ārius, which becomes -aire in French and French borrowings into English (as in doctrinaire, millionaire) and –ary in English (as in complimentary, visionary). Sedentary entered English in the 16th century.

how is sedentary used?

Picture yourself, Jack, a confirmed home-body, a sedentary fellow who finds himself walking in a deep wood.

Don DeLillo, White Noise, 1985

His love of books, his sedentary habits, and quick wit on matters of learning, led those interested in his fate to consider him fitted for the church, and therefore, he took priest’s orders. 

Mary Shelley, The Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck, 1830

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