Start each day with the Word of the Day in your inbox!

Word of the Day

Word of the day


[ gahyt-n-og-uh-mee ] [ ˌgaɪt nˈɒg ə mi ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


pollination of a flower by pollen from another flower on the same plant.

learn about the english language

More about geitonogamy

Geitonogamy “self-pollination of a flower” is a compound based on Ancient Greek geítōn “neighbor” and the combining form -gamy “marriage, union, fertilization.” The form -gamy, in turn, is based on Ancient Greek -gamía “act of marrying” (from gámos “marriage”) and appears in terms such as allogamy (literally “self-marriage”), bigamy (“marriage twice”), endogamy (“marriage within”), exogamy (“marriage outside”), monogamy (“alone marriage”), and polygamy (“many marriage”). Using Latin instead, the Latin equivalent of geitonogamy would be the rather lengthy “vicinimatrimony” or “vicininuptials.” Geitonogamy was first recorded in English in the late 1870s.

how is geitonogamy used?

[N]ow we are more adventurous, positively singing the praises of cross-pollination, where pollen is transferred from one flower to another on the same plant (geitonogamy), or to a flower of another plant of the same species (xenogamy). The birds and the bees, the thick haze of pollen—these are all to be encouraged!

Zadie Smith, White Teeth, 2000

In general, geitonogamy increases as a pollinator visits more flowers on a plant. For example, consider the destinations of pollen removed from the first of five flowers visited by a pollinator on a plant…

Lawrence D. Harder, Neal M. Williams, Crispin Y. Jordan, and William A. Nelson,, “The effects of floral design and display on pollinator economics and pollen dispersal,” Cognitive Ecology of Pollination: Animal Behaviour and Floral Evolution, 2001
quiz icon
Think you're a word wizard? Try our word quiz, and prove it!
arrows pointing up and down
Double your word knowledge with the Synonym of the Day!
Word of the Day Calendar

Word of the day

de novo

[ dee noh-voh, dey ] [ di ˈnoʊ voʊ, deɪ ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


anew; afresh; again; from the beginning.

learn about the english language

More about de novo

De novo “anew, from the beginning” is a loan from Latin that comprises “from, of, about” and novō, a form of novus “new.” In English, only pronouns change in form to indicate case, such as subject (I, we), possessive (my, our), and object (me, us) pronouns. In Latin, however, nouns and adjectives also change their endings according to case. In this way, novus is the subject, novī is the possessive, novum is the direct object, and novō is both the indirect and prepositional object. All these are only the masculine singular forms, however; almost two dozen other forms exist in the plural number and the feminine and neuter genders. No wonder that modern Romance languages decided to simplify things a bit! De novo was first recorded in English in the 1620s.

how is de novo used?

Thiamine originates in the lowest levels of the food web, where particular species of bacteria, phytoplankton, fungi, and plants synthesize the compound de novo… by assembling and linking existing compounds into vitamin B1, which naturally occurs in multiple forms.

Alastair Bland, “The Same Deadly Vitamin Deficiency Is Ravaging All Kinds of Animals,” The Atlantic, January 31, 2021

In other words, even though a federal court might not review a person’s disenrollment from their tribe, it can still review the exclusion de novo and, in the process, apply the protections afforded by the federal Bill of Rights.

Gabriel S. Galanda, “The Unintended Consequences of Disenrollment,” Indian Country Today, February 2, 2015
Word of the Day Calendar

Word of the day


[ kuh-sim-boh ] [ kəˈsɪm boʊ ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


a heavy mist or drizzle that occurs in the Congo Basin, located in Central Africa, often accompanied by onshore winds.

learn about the english language

More about cacimbo

Cacimbo “a heavy mist that occurs in the Congo Basin” is a borrowing from Portuguese, which in turn likely adapted the term from the word for “well (for water)” in Kimbundu, a Bantu language of northern Angola. Because the former Portuguese Empire maintained a presence in several parts of western and southern Africa, numerous terms originating in African languages (particularly the Niger-Congo family) passed into Portuguese, which is still an official language in six African countries. With Portuguese as an intermediary, English has inherited batuque, samba, and the recent Word of the Day capoeira, all probably from West African languages. Cacimbo was first recorded in English in the early 1860s.

how is cacimbo used?

The wind can really get strong here, very powerful, you know. It’s so sweet in the cacimbo, when you’re inside with something warm to drink and you can hear it rushing through the trees outside. It’s beautiful, really beautiful…

Denis Kehoe, Walking on Dry Land, 2011

For a long time there was no rain. Ludo watered the flowerbeds with the water that had accumulated in the swimming pool. Finally there was a rip in the cold curtain of low-hanging clouds, which in Luanda they call cacimbo, and the rain came down again.

José Eduardo Agualusa, A General Theory of Oblivion, translated by Daniel Hahn, 2015
Word of the Day Calendar
Word of the Day Calendar