Word of the Day

Sunday, October 21, 2018

humdinger

[ huhm-ding-er ]

noun

Informal. a person, thing, action, or statement of remarkable excellence or effect.

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What is the origin of humdinger?

The origin of humdinger is speculative. It was originally American slang, first appearing in print at the beginning of the 20th century and in British English about 1926.

how is humdinger used?

… Beethoven gave the Viennese a humdinger, something to make them sit up and take notice.

Michael Steinberg, The Concerto: A Listener's Guide, 1998

Streep, whose speeches are perfect, delivered a humdinger of a tribute to Emma Thompson, who was receiving the best-actress honor, for “Saving Mr. Banks.”

Michael Schulman, "Meryl Streep Pokes Back at Male Hollywood," The New Yorker, January 9, 2014
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Saturday, October 20, 2018

single-hearted

[ sing-guhl-hahr-tid ]

adjective

sincere and undivided in feeling or spirit; dedicated; not reflecting mixed emotions: He was single-hearted in his patriotism.

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What is the origin of single-hearted?

Single-hearted was first recorded in 1570–80.

how is single-hearted used?

Whatever becomes of me, I shall remember always this single-hearted devotion of yours, Margaret, and I shall thank God that I know of it and love you for it.

Edward Boltwood, "The Touchstone," The Smart Set, May 1910

… one gets what one goes after with single-hearted purpose, but otherwise not.

Anya Seton, The Turquoise, 1946
Friday, October 19, 2018

ploce

[ ploh-see ]

noun

Rhetoric. the repetition of a word or phrase to gain special emphasis or to indicate an extension of meaning, as in Ex. 3:14: “I am that I am.”

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What is the origin of ploce?

The uncommon English rhetorical term ploce comes via Late Latin plocē from Greek plokḗ, a noun with many meanings: “twining, twisting, braid; complication (of a dramatic plot); construction (of a syllogism); web, web of deceit; (in biology) histological structure; (in rhetoric) repetition of the same word in close succession in a slightly different sense or for emphasis” (e.g., “A man should act like a man”). Greek plokḗ comes from the verb plékein “to weave, braid, twine,” from the Proto-Indo-European root plek-, plok-, source of Latin plicāre “to fold, bend, roll, twine” and the combining form -plex, used in forming numerals, e.g. simplex, duplex, triplex (equivalent to English -fold). The Proto-Indo-European neuter noun ploksom becomes flahsam in Germanic and flax in English. In Slavic (Polish), plek- forms the verb pleść “to plait, weave.” Ploce entered English in the 16th century.

how is ploce used?

Ploce is the repetition of the same word under different forms or with different meanings in the same sentence…. as–“Judge not, that ye be not judged.”

James De Mille, The Elements of Rhetoric, 1878

There he found examples of such figures or tropes as synechdoche, metonymy, meiosis, amplification, ploce, polyptoton, etc., all designed to enhance the style of the would-be poet and preacher.

Donald E. Stanford, "Edward Taylor," Major Writers of Early American Literature, 1976

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