one of two marks « or » used in French, Italian, and Russian printing to enclose quotations.
Guillemet “a mark used in French to enclose quotations” is a diminutive of the name Guillaume, the French cognate of William. As we learned in the etymology for the recent Word of the Day will-o’-the-wisp, William comes from a Germanic name roughly meaning “desired helmet.” Although guillemets first appeared in 1527, they may have been named after the French printer Guillaume Le Bé, who would have been a toddler in the late 1520s when guillemets emerged in print. When an item is named after its inventor, it is often called a namesake or an eponym, but in the case of the guillemet, which takes its name from someone incorrectly assumed to be its inventor, it is a misnomer “a misapplied or inappropriate name or designation.” Guillemet was first recorded in English in the early 20th century.
clad in a toga.
Togated “clad in a toga” comes by way of Latin togātus, of the same meaning, from toga, the one-piece robe-like garment that typifies the people of the Roman Empire. Toga belongs to a family of Latin words spelled variously as tect-, teg-, and tog- that all pertain to covering, such as through clothing or architecture. To see this family of words in action, compare integument, a technical term for the skin; protect, from Latin tegere (stem tect-) “to cover”; and even tile, derived by way of Old English from Latin tēgula “roof-tile.” As we learned from the recent Word of the Day cordiform, according to a rule known as Grimm’s law, Latin t often corresponds to English th, and if you want to find a cognate of togated in English, look no further than thatch “a material for covering roofs.” Togated was first recorded in English in the early 17th century.
As one becomes familiar, Ancient and Modern Rome, at first so painfully and discordantly jumbled together, are drawn apart to the mental vision. One sees where objects and limits anciently wore; the superstructures vanish, and you recognize the local habitation of so many thoughts. When this begins to happen, one feels first truly at ease in Rome. Then the old kings, the consuls and tribunes, the emperors, drunk with blood and gold, the warriors of eagle sight and remorseless beak, return for us, and the togated procession finds room to sweep across the scene; the seven hills tower, the innumerable temples glitter, and the Via Sacra swarms with triumphal life once more.
The native Romans, on the other hand, like the butterflies and grasshoppers, resigned themselves to the short, sharp misery which winter brings to a people whose arrangements are made almost exclusively with a view to summer .… They drew their old cloaks about them, nevertheless, and threw the corners over their shoulders, with the dignity of attitude and action that have come down to these modern citizens, as their sole inheritance from the togated nation. Somehow or other, they managed to keep up their poor, frost-bitten hearts against the pitiless atmosphere with a quiet and uncomplaining endurance.
an irrigation ditch.
Acequia “irrigation ditch” is a borrowing of a Spanish term derived from Arabic as-sāqiyah, an assimilated form of al-sāqiyah “the irrigation ditch.” Al- is the Arabic equivalent of the article the, and a special feature of al- is that it assimilates to match the first consonant of the word that follows under certain circumstances. The l sound is pronounced with the tip of the tongue, and when the word that follows al- begins with a similarly pronounced consonant (such as d, n, or s), the l in al- changes to match. In Arabic words that were adopted by Portuguese or Spanish and then adopted into English, the al- article exists today, albeit in disguise merely as a-, in words such as acequia, adobe, and even tuna (a corruption of Spanish atún). However, the full al- form is still visible in words that did not start with a tip-of-the-tongue consonant, such as albacore, alcohol, alcove, and alfalfa. Acequia was first recorded in English circa 1840.
New Mexico’s acequia system consists of several hundred … waterways that use gravity to transport water for local farmers to irrigate their fields. It’s been in place for centuries; many farmers and ranchers in northern New Mexico rely on it for their crops and rangeland. But, as the region suffers from months of extreme drought with little sign of relief, those reliant on acequias are worried how long the water will last this season.
By noon he was riding a farmland road where the acequias carried the water down along the foot-trodden selvedges of the fields and he stood the horse to water and walked it up and back in the shade of a cottonwood grove to cool it.
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