Word of the Day

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

hebdomadal

[ heb-dom-uh-dl ]

adjective

taking place, coming together, or published once every seven days; weekly.

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What is the origin of hebdomadal?

Hebdomadal, “occurring or published every seven days; a weekly publication,” comes via the Late Latin adjective hebdomadālis “weekly,” from Greek hebdomás (inflectional stem hebdomád-) “a group of seven, a seven-day cycle, a week, a fever recurring every seven days.” Hebdomás is a derivative of the adjective hébdomos (also hébdemos) “seventh,” a complicated but regular derivative of the cardinal number heptá “seven.” Original Proto-Indo-European s is lost before a vowel in Greek, becoming h; heptá is the Greek result of Proto-Indo-European septṃ, which becomes septem in Latin, sapta in Sanskrit, secht in Old Irish, sibun in Gothic, seofon in Old English, seven in English, septynì in Lithuanian, sedm in Czech, sedem in Slovak, and siedem in Polish. Hebdomadal entered English in the first half of the 17th century.

how is hebdomadal used?

A little solace came at tea-time, in the shape of a double ration of bread—a whole, instead of a half, slice—with the delicious addition of a thin scrape of butter: it was the hebdomadal treat to which we all looked forward from Sabbath to Sabbath.

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre, 1847

Thirty-six years had passed since. And still he remembered the Sunday evening, the hebdomadal get-together of his parents’ circle of friends.

Rohinton Mistry, Family Matters, 2002

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Tuesday, June 01, 2021

interlard

[ in-ter-lahrd ]

verb (used with object)

to diversify by adding or interjecting something unique, striking, or contrasting.

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What is the origin of interlard?

The verb interlard, “to diversify by adding something striking or contrasting,” comes from the Middle English verb interlarden, enterlard(e) “to mix fat into,” from Old French entrelarder. The Old French verb is a compound of the preposition entre “between” and the verb larder “to cook with lard or bacon fat.” Entre, which appears in English entre nous “between ourselves, confidentially,” is a regular development from Latin inter “between,” which (unlike entre) is thoroughly naturalized in English, as in international, interstate, intercity. The verb larder “to cook with lard or bacon fat,” comes from the Latin noun lāridum, lardum “bacon, salted meat.” The Greek adjective larinós “fattened, fat” is related to lāridum, lardum; Greek also borrowed lardum as lárdos “salted meat.” Interlard entered English in the mid-15th century.

how is interlard used?

More than by the tone was Andre-Louise startled by the obscenities with which the Colossus did not hesitate to interlard his first speech to a total stranger. He laughed outright. There was nothing else to do.

Rafael Sabatini, Scaramouche, 1921

The modern Old Farmer’s Almanac, though it contains a lot of hooey interlarded with its tables of sun declination and length of day, is much less a remnant of our degraded information ecosystem than a harbinger of it.

Scott Huler, "What does the pseudoscience of the Old Farmer's Almanac say about today's climate?" Washington Post, December 28, 2017

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Monday, May 31, 2021

remembrancer

[ ri-mem-bruhn-ser ]

noun

a reminder; memento; souvenir.

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What is the origin of remembrancer?

Remembrancer, “a reminder; memento; souvenir,” comes from Middle English remembrauncer, the title of one of the royal officers responsible for recording and collecting debts owed to the crown, one of the current senses of the word, used in British royal finances. In Middle English remembrauncer also referred to death, the one who enforces our obligation to die on the due date. Remembrancer entered English in the 14th century.

how is remembrancer used?

And on the few surviving steamboats—those lingering ghosts and remembrancers of great fleets that plied the big river in the beginning of my water-career … there are still findable two or three river-pilots who saw me do creditable things in those ancient days …

Mark Twain, Is Shakespeare Dead?, 1909

I must do this as a precaution, you understand, lest the keys should fall into improper hands; into the hands of designing and unscrupulous persons, who have no claim on my brother whatever, and no right to expect more than a book or a teacup as a remembrancer.

S. Baring-Gould, The Pennycomequicks, 1889

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