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The original meaning of the common noun garth, “an open courtyard enclosed by a cloister,” has been replaced by courtyard or quadrangle or just plain quad.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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