Word of the Day

Sunday, February 18, 2018

glissade

[ gli-sahd, -seyd ]

noun

a skillful glide over snow or ice in descending a mountain, as on skis or a toboggan.

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What is the origin of glissade?

The English noun glissade shows its obviously French origin. The French noun means “glide, slide, slip, faux pas” and derives from the verb glisser ”to slip, slide.” The French verb comes from Old French glicier, an alteration of glier “to glide,” a verb of Germanic (Frankish) origin, related to Old English glīdan and Old High German glītan “to glide.” Glissade entered English in the 19th century.

how is glissade used?

A rapid scramble down the shattered ridge to the col, and a careful kicking of steps along the first two or three hundred feet of the glacier which led northwards to our picnic place, then a glissade … gradually easing off into a run down.

T. Howard Somervell, After Everest: The Experiences of a Mountaineer and Medical Missionary, 1950

“Don’t worry,” she cheerily assured us over her shoulder. “In some places glissade is just about the only thing you can do. Plus, it’s fun.”

Paul Schneider, "On Snowshoes in New Hampshire, Shuffling Off to Lonesome Lake," New York Times, March 5, 2009
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Saturday, February 17, 2018

objurgate

[ ob-jer-geyt, uh b-jur-geyt ]

verb

to reproach or denounce vehemently; upbraid harshly; berate sharply.

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What is the origin of objurgate?

The English verb objurgate comes from Latin objūrgāt-, the past participle stem of the verb objūrgāre “to reprimand, rebuke.” The Latin verb is composed of the prefix ob- “against,” and the verb jūrgāre or jūrigāre “to rebuke.” Jūrigāre, in turn, is composed of the noun stem jūr- (from jūs “right, law, justice”) and the verb suffix -igāre, from -ig-, a noun derivative of agere “to drive, do,” as in fumigate, litigate, and navigate. Objurgate entered English in the early 17th century.

how is objurgate used?

Let his fellows grumble and objurgate, said he; they would cringe to him when he became a dragoman, with his pockets stuffed with piastres.

Sabine Baring-Gould, The Book of Ghosts, 1904

It would be my advice to persons situated in this way, to not roll or thrash around, because this excites the interest of all the different sorts of animals and makes every last one of them want to turn out and see what is going on, and this makes things worse than they were before, and of course makes you objurgate harder, too, if you can.

Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, 1889
Friday, February 16, 2018

messan

[ mes-uh n ]

noun

Scot. a lap dog; small pet dog.

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What is the origin of messan?

The English noun messan “small dog, lap dog” comes from Scots Gaelic measan “small dog,” cognate with Irish Gaelic measán, both of which are diminutives of Gaelic mess “favored (one).” Messan entered English in the late 15th century.

how is messan used?

They are good enough lads, Sholto and Laurence both, but they will be for ever gnarring and grappling at each other like messan dogs round a kirk door.

S. R. Crockett, The Black Douglas, 1899

Here, sisters, here is my trusty and well-beloved Dame de Ste. Petronelle, who takes such care of me that she dogs my footsteps like a messan.

Charlotte Mary Yonge, Two Penniless Princesses, 1890

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