Word of the Day

Monday, August 31, 2020

gorp

[ gawrp ]

noun

Informal.

a mixture of nuts, raisins, dried fruits, seeds, or the like eaten as a high-energy snack, as by hikers and climbers.

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What is the origin of gorp?

Gorp, “trail mix,” was originally and still is mostly an American colloquialism dating from the 1950s. There is no satisfactory etymology for gorp (one common but improbable etymology interprets gorp as an acronym for good old raisins and peanuts; the Oxford English Dictionary notes that the verb gorp, “to eat greedily,” dates to 1913).

how is gorp used?

Oh, look, I found some MREs from that military-themed shindig where we taught a whole class to march and make their own gorp.

Caroline Aiken Koster, "Confessions of an Urban Prepper," Wall Street Journal, March 20, 2020

In that regard, every health-food nut knows what gorp is: a mix of cereal grains, peanuts, raisins, dates, little bits of chocolate or sugar candy. … To me, the word seems formed like Lewis Carroll’s creation of chortle by combining chuckle with snort: gorp is a wedded snort and gulp.

William Safire, "The Post-Holiday Strip," New York Times, January 6, 1985

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Sunday, August 30, 2020

kindred

[ kin-drid ]

adjective

having the same belief, attitude, or feeling.

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What is the origin of kindred?

Kindred as a noun means “one’s relatives, kinfolk”; as an adjective, “sharing beliefs, attitudes, or feelings.” Kindred comes from Middle English kinrede, which has many, many spelling variants. Kinrede is a compound of kin and the obsolete suffix –red, –rede, which forms nouns from other nouns. Kin comes from the Old English noun cynn “sort, kind,” from the Proto-Indo-European root gen-, gon– (with many variants) “to beget, give birth.” Cynn is related to Latin genus (plural genera) “birth, descent, origin, kind” (genus and genera are current in English), Greek génesis “origin” (English genesis comes from Greek via the Latin Bible). The Middle English suffix –red, –rede comes from Old English –rǣden, a noun and suffix meaning “condition” (hatred is the only other frequent noun in English with the suffix –red). The spelling kindred with internal d first appears about 1400 and has two possible origins: It may either be epenthetic, intrusive, a glide consonant between the n and r, or the d may be from the influence of the noun kind “nature, type, class.” Kindred entered English in the early 13th century.

how is kindred used?

Garth’s look feels rummaged out of a costume trunk—bedraggled blond wig, Buddy Holly glasses, mom jeans—but Carvey plays him with such feline sensitivity that l have always recognized him as a kindred spirit.

Amanda Hess, "'Wayne's World' & Me," New York Times, July 2, 2020

“I think he’s lovely,” said Anne reproachfully. “He is so very sympathetic. He didn’t mind how much I talked—he seemed to like it. I felt that he was a kindred spirit as soon as ever I saw him.”

Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables, 1908

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Saturday, August 29, 2020

metrophobia

[ me-truh-foh-bee-uh ]

noun

an irrational or disproportionate fear of poetry: Being forced to read John Donne's sonnets aloud in front of my English class gave me such bad metrophobia that I can't even look at greeting card poetry without getting sweaty palms and a dry mouth.

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What is the origin of metrophobia?

You may think that metrophobia means “fear of big cities” based on the word metropolis. In fact, metrophobia means “fear of poetry,” a compound of Greek métron (inflectional stem metr-) “measure, length, size, meter (of music or poetry)” and –phobia. Metrophobia entered English in the late 20th century.

how is metrophobia used?

“Gross in summer. Cold in winter. Jack-o-lanterns in fall. Bees in spring.” / “That’s like a poem,” she says. / I shiver. I think I might possibly have metrophobia.

Paul Mosier, Summer and July, 2020

This emphasis on the performance of poetry and using whatever medium might suit is surely also a step in the right direction in the fight to cure metrophobia and pull readers back in to the poetry itself.

Shona M. Allan, "The Pull of the Poetry: Juan, Juxtapositions and Alluring Alliteration," Byron's Poetry, 2012

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