Word of the Day

Word of the day

Monday, March 26, 2018

genethliac

[ juh-neth-lee-ak ]

adjective

Astrology. of or relating to birthdays or to the position of the stars at one's birth.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of genethliac?

If any word occurs exclusively in grad school seminars, papers, theses, and dissertations, genethliac is that word. The Latin adjective and noun genethliacus “pertaining to one’s hour of birth or a birthday; an astrologer who calculates such an hour or day,” is an extension of the Greek adjective genethliakós “pertaining to a birthday.” Latin also possesses a noun genethliacon “birthday poem,” derived from but not existing in Greek. Birthdays and birthday celebrations were bigger affairs among Roman men than among the Greeks because one’s birthday also involved the cult of the genius, the attendant spirit or “guardian angel,” so to speak, of every freeborn male but especially of the paterfamilias. Latin genethliaca “birthday poems” arose as a distinct genre in the first century b.c. Genethliac entered English in the 16th century.

how is genethliac used?

… the mathematicians allow the very same horoscope to princes and to sots: whereof a right pregnant instance by them is given in the nativities of Æneas and Choræbus; the latter of which two is by Euphorion said to have been a fool; and yet had, with the former, the same aspects and heavenly genethliac influences.

François Rabelais, The Third Book of Pantagruel, translated by John Ozell, 1738

… Augustine particularly insists on the case of twins, whose fates ought to be identical, if the genethliac theory were true …

Sir George Cornewall Lewis, An Historical Survey of the Astronomy of the Ancients, 1862
quiz icon
WHAT'S YOUR WORD IQ?
Think you're a word wizard? Try our word quiz, and prove it!
TAKE THE QUIZ
arrows pointing up and down
SYNONYM OF THE DAY
Double your word knowledge with the Synonym of the Day!
SEE TODAY'S SYNONYM

Get A Vocabulary Boost In Your Inbox

Get the Word of the Day every day!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Word of the day

Sunday, March 25, 2018

ariose

[ ar-ee-ohs, ar-ee-ohs ]

adjective

characterized by melody; songlike.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of ariose?

Ariose was first recorded in 1735–45. It is an Anglicized variant of Italian arioso.

how is ariose used?

He turned and looked at her, concern for her making his ariose voice a bit rougher than usual …

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, A Feast in Exile, 2001

… he loosed the ariose floods of his voice, till a gusty song of the spring-time seemed to fill the garden.

James Maurice Thompson, "The Mill of God," Scott's Monthly Magazine, July 1869

Word of the day

Saturday, March 24, 2018

oriflamme

[ awr-uh-flam, or- ]

noun

any flag, banner, or standard, especially one that serves as a rallying point or symbol.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of oriflamme?

Originally an oriflamme was the banner or ensign that the French kings received before going into battle from the abbot of Saint-Denis, the site of a Benedictine abbey founded c626 in a city of the same name, located northeast of Paris, and named after Saint Denis, a martyr of the 3rd century who is venerated as a patron of the French people. Oriflamme means “golden flame” in Old French, from Latin aurea flamma “golden flame,” referring to the golden flames on the red background of the banner. Oriflamme entered English in the 15th century.

how is oriflamme used?

I was so afraid you might think we ought to sort of wave the oriflamme of our unfettered love.

Mary Renault, Purposes of Love, 1939

… the huge and motley mass, throughout the Union, which marched under the oriflamme of the bank, had every where repeated and reiterated the same cry.

Thomas Hart Benton, Thirty Years’ View, 1854

Get A Vocabulary Boost In Your Inbox

Get the Word of the Day every day!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.