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[ hob-uhl-dee-hoi ] [ ˈhɒb əl diˌhɔɪ ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


an awkward, ungainly youth.

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More about hobbledehoy

Hobbledehoy “an awkward, ungainly youth,” a variant of hoberdyboy (among other spellings), is of unclear origin, and theories abound. The first part of hobbledehoy may stem from hob or hoberd, which are forms of Robert. The change from Robert to hob or hoberd is typical of rhyming in English name formation; just as Robert has the nickname Bob and is the source of surnames such as Dobbs and Hopkins, William has the nickname Bill and is the source of the surname Gilliam. Similar to the term hobgoblin, the hob element in hobbledehoy is a dialectal English term for “elf” that may be a variant of Robin (a diminutive of Robert), as in Robin Goodfellow, a folkloric fairy also known as Puck. Hobbledehoy was first recorded in English in the 1530s.

how is hobbledehoy used?

The jocose hobbledehoy whom Royce had noted on the occasion of his previous excursion sat upon a step of the long flight leading from the veranda to the lawn, surrounded by half a dozen little maidens, and, armed with a needle and a long thread, sewed industriously, rewarded by their shrieking exclamations of delight in his funniness every time he grotesquely drew out the needle with a great curve of his long arm, or facetiously but futilely undertook to bite the thread.

Charles Egbert Craddock, “The Juggler,” The Atlantic, July 1897

The true hobbledehoy is much alone, not being greatly given to social intercourse even with other hobbledehoys—a trait in his character which I think has hardly been sufficiently observed by the world at large. He has probably become a hobbledehoy instead of an Apollo, because circumstances have not afforded him much social intercourse; and, therefore, he wanders about in solitude.

Anthony Trollope, "The Small House at Allington," Cornhill Magazine, September 1862–April 1864
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[ in-spir-it ] [ ɪnˈspɪr ɪt ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling

verb (used with object)

to infuse spirit or life into; enliven.

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More about inspirit

Inspirit “to infuse life into” is a compound of the prefix in- and the noun spirit, the latter of which comes from Latin spīritus, which originally meant “a breathing.” Spīritus is based on the Latin verb spīrāre “to breathe,” much like how Ancient Greek psȳ́chein “to breathe, blow” is the source of psȳchḗ “a breath” and, from there, English psyche “the human soul, spirit, or mind.” Spīrāre (stem spīr-) gives rise to the English terms perspire, respiration, and even expire, and the verb can be found in the motto of the state of South Carolina: dum spīrō, spērō “while I breathe, I hope.” Inspirit was first recorded in English circa 1605.

how is inspirit used?

And there was the best reason for hastening into the house at once, since the snow was beginning to fall again, threatening an unpleasant journey for such guests as were still on the road. These were a small minority; for already the afternoon was beginning to decline, and there would not be too much time for the ladies who came from a distance to attire themselves in readiness for the early tea which was to inspirit them for the dance.

George Eliot, Silas Marner, 1861

The US women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe is calling for change. The OL Reign standout has fought for activism, equality and LGBTQIA+ rights her entire career …. Now, Rapinoe is looking to help people see politics in an engaging way …. While voter turnout is discouraging among young people, Rapinoe believes those who watch Seeing America could be inspirited to get involved in the civic process. “When we all vote, it’s amazing,” Rapinoe said.

“US Women’s Soccer Star Megan Rapinoe Is On a Mission to Make Politics Cool”, NBC Sports, July 30, 2020
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[ vol-tey-ik, vohl- ] [ vɒlˈteɪ ɪk, voʊl- ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


noting or pertaining to electricity or electric currents, especially when produced by chemical action, as in a cell; galvanic.

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More about voltaic

Voltaic “pertaining to electric currents” is the namesake of Alessandro Volta (1745–1827), an Italian physicist who experimented with electricity and is credited with inventing the battery. The Italian surname Volta has multiple possible origins, though many of the most popular hypotheses all circle back to the noun volta “turn; vault.” The noun volta ultimately comes from the Latin verb volvere “to roll, wrap,” which is the source of the elements containing vol- in evolution, involve, revolt, and volume. Another option is that the surname Volta derives from volpe “fox,” from Latin vulpēs. Voltaic was first recorded in English circa 1810.

how is voltaic used?

The gas battery’s real history begins in October 1842, when Grove, newly appointed professor of experimental philosophy at the London Institution, penned a brief note …. “I have just completed a curious voltaic pile which I think you would like to see,” he wrote …. Grove had invented a battery which turned hydrogen and oxygen into electricity and water.

Iwan Morus, “How a Victorian lawyer from Wales invented the hydrogen fuel cell,” Conversation, October 27, 2017

What really powers a battery is the difference in electronegativity between the materials its electrodes are made of. Take the voltaic pile, for example, the first battery in history, invented around 1800 by Alessandro Volta. The pile’s negative electrode is made of zinc (30) and the positive electrode is made of copper (29). Copper is slightly more electronegative than zinc. Thus, if you put the two metals next to each other (or if you connect them by a wire), some electrons will move from the zinc to the copper.

Davide Castelvecchi, “The Periodic Table, and Why Batteries Don't Work the Way You Think,” Scientific American, October 13, 2011
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