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[ jin-jer-lee ] [ ˈdʒɪn dʒər li ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


with great care or caution; warily.

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More about gingerly

Despite the similar spelling and pronunciation, gingerly “with great care or caution” has nothing to do with the spicy root ginger. Gingerly is of uncertain origin but may come from Middle French gensor “delicate, pretty” (from gent “gentle”) combined with English -ly, an adjective- and adverb-forming suffix. The ultimate source of gensor is either the Latin verb gignere (stem genit-) “to beget” or the Latin noun gēns (stem gent-) “race, people.” In contrast, ginger comes via Latin from Ancient Greek zingíberis, perhaps by way of Sanskrit śṛṅgaveram or Pali siṃgiveram from a Dravidian language; compare Malayalam and Tamil iñci “ginger.” Gingerly was first recorded in English in the 1510s.

how is gingerly used?

[A]s the full moon hangs in the frosty sky, hundreds of dancers file in darkness toward the foot of the craggy peaks at the head of the valley. Frozen tundra crunches underfoot as dancing shoes step gingerly over ice-covered rivulets.

Barbara Fraser, “Melting Andes Glaciers Worry Peru Indigenous Peoples,” Indian Country Today, July 18, 2011

I felt the arm gingerly through his shirt—no compound fractures. I rolled it up carefully for a better look …. I bit my lip, feeling gingerly down the swell of his biceps. He had one of the worst bruises I had ever seen.

Diana Gabaldon, Drums of Autumn, 1996
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[ fee-niks ] [ ˈfi nɪks ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


a person or thing that has become renewed or restored after suffering calamity.

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More about phoenix

Phoenix, “a person who has become restored after suffering calamity,” comes from Ancient Greek phoînix, which refers to the mythical bird, and this is where matters become murky. One popular proposal in the linguistic community is that phoînix comes from Ancient Egyptian bnw, the name of a heron represented as the god Benu. An alternative theory—a less broadly accepted one—is based on the fact that Ancient Greek had four phoînix words, meaning “phoenix,” “Phoenician,” “dark red,” and “date palm,” respectively. According to this theory, all four words are one and the same, though whether these phoînix words are of Indo-European, Semitic, or lost ancient Mediterranean origin is anyone’s guess. Phoenix was first recorded in English before 900.

how is phoenix used?

The shell of St Michael’s survives today, the intact steeple presiding over a Gothic amphitheatre, a still-consecrated place linked to its successor, Sir Basil Spence’s concrete-framed cathedral completed in 1962. This is a phoenix from the ashes, full of powerful modern stained glass.

Jonathan Foyle, “Glass from the past,” Financial Times, December 14, 2012

Jiwoo is a tough girl whose world is turned upside down …. Her bereavement and anguish are a result of the emotional turmoil she experiences before and after her father’s death. But she is a fighter. Although humiliated and mistreated, she rises from the ashes like a phoenix.

Debashree Dutta, “Actor You Need to Know: Han So-hee,” Rolling Stone: India, June 13, 2022
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[ gam-bohj, -boozh ] [ gæmˈboʊdʒ, -ˈbuʒ ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


yellow or yellow-orange.

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More about gamboge

Gamboge, “yellow-orange,” comes from New Latin gambogium, a gum resin from trees of the genus Garcinia that is made into a yellow pigment or dye, also called gamboge. Gambogium is a variant of Cambogia “Cambodia,” which comes from the Khmer name Kâmpŭchéa. The name Kâmpŭchéa allegedly derives from Kambu, the name of the legendary founder of Kamboja, which is a kingdom that flourished in what is now India about 2500 years ago. Gamboge was first recorded in English circa 1630.

how is gamboge used?

I’m thinking gamboge: ‘My husband is very confident about my color sense. It is powerful, if I say so myself’ …. [Theresa] Rebeck was in charge of what went into the spaces and what went on the walls.

Joanne Kaufman, “For One Playwright, It Wouldn’t Be Home Without a Little Melodrama,” The New York Times, September 17, 2019

“That’s a lovely shade of nail varnish …. What color would you say it is?” …. “Tropical topaz? …. I wouldn’t have thought topaz so much as amber” … “I’d say more gamboge than amber.”

Kevin Myers, “An Irishman's Diary”, The Irish Times, August 15, 2002
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