Word of the Day

Monday, December 24, 2018

heartstrings

[ hahrt-stringz ]

plural noun

the deepest feelings; the strongest affections: to tug at one's heartstrings.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of heartstrings?

The original meaning of heartstrings was physical, or anatomical to be precise. A heartstring was one of the nerves or tendons that supposedly support and brace the heart; heartstrings (the plural) referred to the aorta and pulmonary artery (no longer in scientific use). By the 16th century the heartstrings were conceived as the source of a person’s feelings and emotions. Heartstring in its original anatomical sense entered English in the 15th century.

how is heartstrings used?

Little kids singing and smiling never failed to tug at the heartstrings.

Susan Wiggs, Candlelight Christmas, 2013

There was no choice now, but to bear the pang of whatever heartstrings were snapt asunder, and that illusive torment … by which a past mode of life prolongs itself into the succeeding one.

Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Blithedale Romance, 1852
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.
Sunday, December 23, 2018

stodge

[ stoj ]

verb

to stuff full, especially with food or drink; gorge.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of stodge?

The adjective stodgy “thick, heavy, dull (of food, clothes, books, people)” is fairly common, but not so its source, the verb stodge “to stuff full, gorge; trudge along.” Stodgy appeared in the 19th century and applied to glutinous mud and roads; a quarter of a century later (in the 1850s), stodgy referred to heavy foods like porridge or potatoes; in the 1870s stodgy meant “dull, boring (of people, one’s own life).” The etymology of stodge is unknown; it entered English in the 17th century.

how is stodge used?

A “City man,” on the other hand … stodges his stomach with rich food three times a day …

T. Clifford Allbutt, "Nervous Diseases and Modern Life," Contemporary Review, February 1895

… as he cuts, bolts, and gulps, smacks, sniffs, and stodges, his eyes examine, his eyes observe, the ever-diminishing remnant upon the plate …

Alfred Döblin, Berlin Alexanderplatz, translated by Eugene Jolas, 1931
Saturday, December 22, 2018

turtledove

[ tur-tl-duhv ]

noun

a sweetheart or beloved mate.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of turtledove?

The turtle in turtledove has nothing to do with the aquatic and terrestrial reptile whose trunk is enclosed in a shell. The ultimate derivation of the reptilian turtle is Greek Tartaroûchos “controlling Tartarus, holding the nether world”; the word turtle entered English in the 17th century. Turtledove is a compound of Old English turtla, from Latin turtur “turtledove,” imitating the call of the bird. Dove comes from Old English dufe, dūfe and is related to the verb dive. Similar forms are found in other Germanic languages. Turtledove entered English in the 14th century.

how is turtledove used?

You look anything but miserable, my turtledove. In fact, I never saw you look so well.

E. F. Harkins, The Schemers, 1903

A whole new world was mine the day … I met my turtledove … for since we’ve been together … my heart has been in love.

Ben Burroughs, "Since We Met," Gettysburg Times, February 2, 1962

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.