Word of the Day

Saturday, April 27, 2019

groupthink

[ groop-thingk ]

noun

the lack of individual creativity, or of a sense of personal responsibility, that is sometimes characteristic of group interaction.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of groupthink?

Groupthink is a disparaging term modeled on doublethink “the mental ability to believe simultaneously two contradictory things,” appearing in 1984, by George Orwell (1903–50). Groupthink entered English in the early 1950s.

how is groupthink used?

Lately, as scientists try, and fail, to reproduce results, all of science is taking a hard look at funding biases, statistical shenanigans and groupthink.

Tamar Haspel, "Here's what the government's dietary guidelines should really say," Washington Post, March 26, 2019

You don’t need to do many focus groups to see groupthink in action.

Joseph Stromberg, "Focus groups shape what we buy. But how much do they really say about us?" Vox, January 22, 2019
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.
Friday, April 26, 2019

pseudepigraphy

[ soo-duh-pig-ruh-fee ]

noun

the false ascription of a piece of writing to an author.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of pseudepigraphy?

The noun pseudepigraphy comes from Late Latin pseudepigrapha, a neuter plural adjective (from pseudepigraphus) used as a noun meaning “books or writings falsely titled or attributed to Hebrew writings supposedly composed by biblical patriarchs and prophets.” Pseudepigrapha was borrowed unchanged from the Greek compound adjective pseudepígrapha (from pseudepígraphos), composed of pseudḗs “false” and the Greek combining form –grapha, neuter plural of –graphos “drawn or written.” Pseudepigraphy entered English in the 19th century.

how is pseudepigraphy used?

If de León was the author, his exercise in pseudepigraphy was among the most successful in history.

Ezra Glinter, "A mysterious medieval text, decrypted," Boston Globe, June 26, 2016

Even this gimmick exactly parallels the ancient scriptural practice of pseudepigraphy whereby a later, undistinguished writer, would hide behind the name of a greater figure of the past, claiming venerable authority for his own innovations.

Robert M. Price, "About 'The Descent into the Abyss'," The Book of Eibon, 2006
Thursday, April 25, 2019

frisson

[ free-sohn; French free-sawn ]

noun,

a sudden, passing sensation of excitement; a shudder of emotion; thrill: The movie offers the viewer the occasional frisson of seeing a character in mortal danger.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of frisson?

Frisson is still unnaturalized in English, as its pronunciation shows. In French frisson means “shudder, shiver.” Frisson comes from Old French friçons, a plural noun meaning “trembling (as before the onset of a fever).” Friçons in turn comes from Latin frictiōn-, the stem of frictiō, an irregular derivative (as if from the verb fricāre “to rub,” with a short i) of the verb frīgēre (with a long i) “to be cold, lack vigor.” Frisson entered English in the 18th century.

how is frisson used?

Musical passages that include unexpected harmonies, sudden changes in volume, or the moving entrance of a soloist are particularly common triggers for frisson because they violate listeners’ expectations in a positive way …

Mitchell Colver, "Why do only some people get 'skin orgasms' from listening to music?" The Conversation, May 24, 2016

That first dinner triggers hope, a frisson of discovery.

Gael Greene, "Patric's Day," New York, March 23, 1992

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.