• Word of the day
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    Tuesday, February 05, 2019

    hoggery

    noun [haw-guh-ree, hog-uh-]
    slovenly or greedy behavior.
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    What is the origin of hoggery?

    Hoggery in its original (and still current) sense means “a place where hogs are kept.” The sense “swinish behavior, piggishness, greediness” dates from the 19th century. The latter sense is close to the Yiddish chazerei “piggery, filth, junk food, junk,” ultimately derived from Hebrew ḥazīr “pig.” Hoggery entered English in the 17th century.

    How is hoggery used?

    The culprits behind such acts of beach hoggery are said to range from unscrupulous umbrella operators hoping to bilk tourists, to eager sun seekers reserving space for friends and relatives. Barry Neild, "Italy fines tourists who hog beach spots," CNN, August 9, 2016

    Harry, this is game-hoggery of the worst kind. It has got to stop. I'm going to write my congressman. Durward L. Allen, "Fifty Million Bunnies," Boys' Life, October 1960

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  • Word of the day
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    Monday, February 04, 2019

    rigmarole

    noun [rig-muh-rohl]
    an elaborate or complicated procedure: to go through the rigmarole of a formal dinner.
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    What is the origin of rigmarole?

    Rigmarole, with many variant spellings in the 18th century, is probably a reduction of ragman roll, a long catalog or list, a sense dating from the early 16th century. In Middle English ragmane rolle was a roll or scroll of writing used in a game of chance in which players draw out an item hidden in the roll. This game of chance possibly arose from Ragemon le bon (Rageman the Good), an Anglo-French poem. The sense “confused, incoherent, foolish, or meaningless talk” dates from the 18th century; the sense “elaborate or complicated procedure” dates from the 19th.

    How is rigmarole used?

    He said he had a shack in Mill City and I would have all the time in the world to write there while we went through the rigmarole of getting the ship. Jack Kerouac, On the Road, 1957

    At the station, I went through the rigmarole of implied consent and told Father Grady I wanted him to take a Breathalyzer test. Jodi Picoult, Handle with Care, 2009

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  • Word of the day
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    Sunday, February 03, 2019

    hygge

    noun [hoog-uh]
    the feeling of coziness and contentment evoked by simple comforts, as being wrapped in a blanket, having conversations with friends or family, enjoying food, etc.: The holidays are a time of hygge for me and my family.
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    What is the origin of hygge?

    Hygge is still an unnaturalized word in English. It is a Danish noun meaning “coziness, comfort, conviviality.” Danish hygge comes from Norwegian hygge (also hyggje in Nynorsk), but the Norwegian word doesn’t have the same emotive force as the Danish. The further derivation of the Norwegian forms is uncertain, but they may derive from Old Norse (and Old Icelandic) hyggja “thought, mind, opinion, thoughtfulness, care.” Hygge entered English in the 20th century.

    How is hygge used?

    Hygge is about an atmosphere and an experience, rather than about things. It is about being with the people we love. Meik Wiking, The Little Book of Hygge, 2016

    ... “The Red Address Book” is just the sort of easy-reading tale that will inspire readers to pull up a comfy chair to the fire, grab a mug of cocoa and a box of tissues and get hygge with it. Helen Simonson, "Hygge and Kisses," New York Times, January 11, 2019

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  • Word of the day
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    Saturday, February 02, 2019

    prognosticate

    verb [prog-nos-ti-keyt]
    to forecast or predict (something future) from present indications or signs; prophesy.
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    What is the origin of prognosticate?

    English prognosticate comes from Medieval Latin prognōsticāt-, the inflectional stem of prognōsticātus “foretold, predicted,” the past participle of prognōsticāre. Prognōsticāre comes from the Greek adjective and noun prognōstikós “prescient, foreknowing; a prognostic, a sign of the future.” It is not common for Latin and Greek to agree so easily in their etymologies, but prognosticate is a good example. The basic meaning of the preposition and prefix prō, pro- in both languages means “forward, forth, in front of” and is akin to English for and forth. The root gnō- in Latin and Greek means “to know” and is akin to English know and Slavic (Polish) znać. Prognosticate entered English in the 15th century.

    How is prognosticate used?

    Indeed, during the year we are describing, it was known that all those visible signs which prognosticate any particular description of weather, had altogether lost their significance. William Carleton, The Black Prophet: A Tale of Irish Famine, 1847

    January is here, which means it’s time to prognosticate about the new year — and specifically, how we in the Bay Area will be eating over the next 12 months and beyond. Sarah Fritsche, "How the Bay Area will eat in 2019: Convenience, CBD, and more chicken," San Francisco Chronicle, January 4, 2019

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  • Word of the day
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    Friday, February 01, 2019

    sirenic

    [sahy-ren-ik]
    melodious, tempting, or alluring.
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    What is the origin of sirenic?

    English Siren (the mythical creature) comes from Greek Seirḗn, which has no reliable etymology. The Sirens first occur in the The Odyssey (book 12); there are only two of them, they are unnamed, and they live on an island yet sit in the middle of a flowery meadow surrounded by the moldering bones of the mortals they have beguiled. What the Sirens tempt Odysseus with is knowledge, irresistible for the curious, restless hero: “We know everything that happened at Troy, what the Argives (Achaeans, Greeks) and Trojans suffered at the will of the gods, and we know everything that happens on the all-nourishing earth.” Homer says nothing about the physical appearance of the Sirens—nothing about birds with the torso and arms of a woman, how many Sirens there were, their names and genealogy, all of which are later additions. The suffix -ic, however, has an excellent etymology: it comes from the Proto-Indo-European adjective suffix -ikos. The Greek form of this suffix is -ik ós, in Latin -icus (-ique in French). English -ic may come from the Greek, Latin, or French forms.

    How is sirenic used?

    She sang for an hour. I resigned myself to the spell of her voice--not alone to that sirenic power, but to the pleasure of being close beside her. E. W. Olney, "Mrs. Vanderduynck," The Galaxy, June 1876

    Seen in this context, good news of the kind Huffington now seeks to promulgate is a public menace. It’s sirenic, a call to blindness, a “happy” filter placed on a world that is often good but frequently not. Alexander Nazaryan, "The Bad News About Good News," Newsweek, February 27, 2015

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  • Word of the day
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    Thursday, January 31, 2019

    gibble-gabble

    noun [gib-uhl-gab-uhl]
    senseless chatter.
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    What is the origin of gibble-gabble?

    There is not much to say about gibble-gabble: it is usually explained as a reduplication of gabble with a variation of the vowel, except that the noun gabble appears in print in 1602, two years after gibble-gabble (the verb gabble first appears in print in the late 16th century).

    How is gibble-gabble used?

    They were always yapping at each other in some outlandish gibble-gabble. George R. R. Martin, Fevre Dream, 1982

    My friend, I can't understand that gibble-gabble. François Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel, 1532, translated by M. A. Screech, 2006

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  • Word of the day
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    Wednesday, January 30, 2019

    bootstrap

    verb [boot-strap]
    to help (oneself) without the aid of others: She spent years bootstrapping herself through college.
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    What is the origin of bootstrap?

    Bootstrap, originally spelled boot-strap, entered English in its literal sense in the second half of the 19th century. By about 1900 the idiom “to pull (oneself) up by (one's) bootstraps” was used to exemplify an impossible task, i.e., “Why can’t a man stand up by pulling on his bootstraps?”. By 1916 the idiom had also acquired the meaning “to better oneself by rigorous, unaided effort.” In the mid-20th century, bootstrap acquired the technical meaning "a fixed sequence of instructions for loading the operating system of a computer," i.e., the program loaded first would pull itself (and the others) up by the bootstrap, from a somewhat earlier usage in the mid-1940s in reference to electrical circuits.

    How is bootstrap used?

    From very humble beginnings, he bootstrapped himself into becoming an excellent trial lawyer. Karl Friedman, The Professor, 2000

    He bootstrapped himself during and after the war from woodworker at the bench to foreman, work superintendent, dispatcher, planner, and head of several technical bureaus at Sevuraltyazhstroi. Timothy J. Colton, Yeltsin: A Life, 2008

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