Word of the Day

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

grouse

[ grous ]

verb (used without object)

to grumble; complain.

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What is the origin of grouse?

The verb grouse originated as a piece of British army slang, and several of its earliest occurrences are in Rudyard Kipling’s Barrack-Room Ballads (1892). Slang terms like grouse are notoriously difficult to etymologize, and grouse is no exception. Scholars have noted, however, a connection between grouse and Old French groucier, groucher, grocier “to grumble, murmur,” source of English grouch, grudge, and grutch (British dialect for grudge). Grouse entered English in the second half of the 19th century.

how is grouse used?

For everyone who has groused about how slow or spotty their Internet service is at home, William C. Thompson Jr., has a message: Help is on the way.

David W. Chen, "A Thompson Proposal to Grade Web Providers," New York Times, July 22, 2013

They and their peers groused constantly about what teenagers always grouse about: that there is “nothing to do.”

Harold Robbins, The Secret, 2000

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Monday, January 25, 2021

ad hockery

[ ad -hok-uh-ree ]

noun

reliance on temporary solutions rather than on consistent, long-term plans.

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What is the origin of ad hockery?

Ad hockery (also spelled ad hocery), “reliance on temporary solutions rather than on consistent, long-term plans,” is a compound of the Latin phrase ad hoc “for this (purpose, occasion)” and the noun suffix –ery; the phrase has an air of frustration or contempt. Ad hockery entered English at the end of the 19th century.

how is ad hockery used?

The house was a ramshackle collection of alterations and renovations, ad hockery gone wild.

Dave Duncan, The Cutting Edge, 1992

This is surely one of the perils of histories of this sort — the scavenger-writer can pick through Plato and Aristotle, Montaigne and Hume, Willy Wonka and the script for “Moonstruck” in search of insights on doubt and happiness, boredom and anger, ankle boots versus sandals, but risks losing any narrative thread to ad hockery.

Alison McCulloch, "Get Happy," New York Times, May 6, 2007

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Sunday, January 24, 2021

flocculent

[ flok-yuh-luhnt ]

adjective

like a clump or tuft of wool.

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What is the origin of flocculent?

Flocculent “like a clump or tuft of wool, fleecy” comes from the Latin noun floccus “tuft of wool” (of uncertain etymology) and the adjective suffix –lentus, naturalized in English as –lent. Flocculent is used in the physical sciences, such as physical chemistry, zoology, botany, and meteorology. Flocculent entered English about 1800.

how is flocculent used?

A vast, flocculent cloud darkened and devitalized the city, mimicking the family mood like weather does in memories.

Andrew Ridker, The Altruists, 2019

In flocculent spirals, fluffy patches of stars and dust show up here and there throughout their disks. Sometimes the tufts of stars are arranged in a generally spiraling form, as with NGC 3521, but illuminated star-filled regions can also appear as short or discontinuous spiral arms.

"Hubble Shears a 'Woolly' Galaxy," NASA.gov, September 25, 2015

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