• Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Monday, February 26, 2018

    hyetal

    adjective [hahy-i-tl]
    of or relating to rain or rainfall.
    Look it up

    Get to know dictionary.com

    SIGN UP FOR A VOCABULARY BOOST IN YOUR EMAIL
    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

    What is the origin of hyetal?

    The English adjective hyetal is very uncommon, used only in meteorology. The Greek noun hyetόs means “rain”; the noun hyetía means “rainy weather”; both nouns derive from the verb hýein “to rain.” In English and other languages (German, for example), verbs of weather and natural phenomena are impersonal (e.g., it is raining, es regnet; it is snowing, es schneit). In Greek, however, such verbs are personal, Zeus or another god being understood as the subject if not explicitly named; thus hýei means to a Greek not “it is raining,” but “Zeus is raining,” and neíphei “Zeus is snowing.” Hyetal entered English in the 19th century.

    How is hyetal used?

    What grand cause has operated to disturb the ordinary rate of hyetal precipitation ... is a question to be studied by climatologists. "The Drought and Smoky Days in Central New-York," New York Times, July 23, 1864

    Hyetal regions, mean annual cloudiness, co-tidal lines, cyclonic rotations, and progressive low pressure systems are not charming in themselves. Michael Innes, There Came Both Mist and Snow, 1940

    Get to know dictionary.com

    SIGN UP FOR A VOCABULARY BOOST IN YOUR EMAIL
    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Sunday, February 25, 2018

    mores

    plural noun [mawr-eyz, -eez, mohr-]
    Sociology. folkways of central importance accepted without question and embodying the fundamental moral views of a group.
    Look it up

    What is the origin of mores?

    The Latin noun mōrēs is the plural of mōs “custom, habit, usage, wont.” The Latin noun, whether singular or plural, has a wider range of usage than English mores has. Mōs may be good, bad, or indifferent: in Cicero’s usage the phrase mōs mājōrum “custom of our ancestors” is roughly equivalent to “constitution”; mōs sinister means “perverted custom," literally “left-handed”; and Horace used to walk along the Via Sacra as was his habit (mōs). Mores entered English in the late 19th century.

    How is mores used?

    ... as Lincoln now feared, with the passing of this noble generation, “if the laws be continually despised and disregarded, if their rights to be secure in their persons and property, are held by no better tenure than the caprice of a mob, the alienation of their affections from the Government is the natural consequence.” To fortify against this, Lincoln essentially proposed that the national mores of America—taught in every classroom, preached in every church, proclaimed in every legislative hall—must revolve around “reverence” to the laws ... David Bahr, "Abraham Lincoln's Political Menagerie," Forbes, June 29, 2017

    ... the artist has always considered himself beyond the mores of the community in which he lived. Philip Roth, The Ghost Writer, 1979

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Saturday, February 24, 2018

    tutti

    adjective [too-tee]
    Music. all; all the voices or instruments together.
    Look it up

    What is the origin of tutti?

    The Italian word tutti means “all,” i.e., all the instruments or voices of an orchestra together. Tutti is the masculine plural of tutto “all,” from Vulgar Latin tottus (unattested), from Latin tōtus. Tutti entered English in the 18th century.

    How is tutti used?

    He used to say that music could be either about almost nothing, one tiny strand of sound plucked like a silver hair from the head of the Muse, or about everything there was, all of it, tutti tutti, life, marriage, otherworlds, earthquakes, uncertainties, warnings, rebukes, journeys, dreams, love, the whole ball of wax, the full nine yards, the whole catastrophe. Salman Rushdie, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, 1999

    You will hear the very obvious difference in volume between the tutti notes and the immediately following music, which is still forte but is played by fewer instruments. Robert Nelson, Carl J. Christensen, Foundations of Music, 2006

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Friday, February 23, 2018

    Rasputin

    noun [ra-spyoo-tin, -tn]
    any person who exercises great but insidious influence.
    Look it up

    What is the origin of Rasputin?

    Grigori Efimovich Rasputin (c1871-1916) was a Russian peasant and self-proclaimed mystic and holy man (he had no official position in the Russian Orthodox Church). By 1904 Rasputin was popular among the high society of St. Petersburg, and in 1906 he became the healer of Alexei Nikolaevich Romanov, heir to the Russian throne and the hemophiliac son of Czar Nicholas II and his wife, Czarina Alexandra Feodorovna (a granddaughter of Queen Victoria and a carrier of hemophilia). In December 1916 Rasputin was murdered by Russian noblemen because of his influence over Czar Nicholas and the czarina.

    How is Rasputin used?

    ... the dynamics of the situation do not permit him to be a Rasputin, whispering in Nixon's ear. David Nevin, "Autocrat in the Action Arena," Life, September 5, 1969

    Others have described Isaacs as "a Rasputin or Svengali-like character in Kerner's life who exploited his undue influence over the governor and led him astray." Cynthia Grant Bowman, Dawn Clark Netsch: A Political Life, 2010

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Thursday, February 22, 2018

    fantasticate

    verb [fan-tas-ti-keyt]
    to make or render fantastic.
    Look it up

    What is the origin of fantasticate?

    Fantasticate was first recorded in 1590-1600.

    How is fantasticate used?

    Parallel universes are another trope borrowed from the repertory of science fiction. They are a marvelous convenience for authors who want to fantasticate at a high rpm without having to offer a rational explanation for the wonders they evoke. Thomas M. Disch, The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of, 1998

    She also fantasticates about food, and her Catholicism surfaces in her lingering on the cannibalism at the heart of the eucharist. Marina Warner, "From high society to surrealism: in praise of Leonora Carrington -- 100 years on," The Guardian, April 6, 2017

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Wednesday, February 21, 2018

    epigrammatic

    adjective [ep-i-gruh-mat-ik]
    terse and ingenious in expression; of or like an epigram.
    Look it up

    What is the origin of epigrammatic?

    In Greek epígramma means “inscription, commemorative or memorial inscription, short poem, written estimate of or demand for damages.” Probably the most famous epigram is that attributed to Simonides of Ceos (c566 b.c.–c468 b.c.) for the Spartans who fell at Thermoplylae (480 b.c.): “Stranger, report to the Spartans that we lie here in obedience to their orders,” which is spartan in its terseness. Epigrammatic entered English in the early 18th century.

    How is epigrammatic used?

    ... the dialogue is sanded and sharpened to an epigrammatic elegance ... Richard Brody, "'Phantom Thread': Paul Thomas Anderson's Furious Fusion of Art and Love," The New Yorker, December 27, 2017

    His is the sort of epigrammatic utterance to which there can be no rejoinder, the clean hit and quick-killing witticism: once over lightly and leave. Nicholas Delbanco, The Lost Suitcase, 2000

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Tuesday, February 20, 2018

    thewless

    adjective [thyoo-lis]
    lacking in mental or moral vigor; weak, spiritless, or timid.
    Look it up

    What is the origin of thewless?

    First recorded in 1300-50, thewless is from the Middle English word theweles.

    How is thewless used?

    For indeed they were but thewless creatures, pallid with the damp caves of the moors, and so starved that they seemed to have eaten grass like Nebuchadnezzar. S. R. Crockett, The Cherry Ribband, 1905

    Here I stand amid my clan / Spoiled of my fame a thewless man. J. Stuart Blackie, "Is the Gaelic Ossian a Translation from the English?" The Celtic Magazine, July 1876

    Previous Day Load More
SIGN UP FOR A VOCABULARY BOOST IN YOUR EMAIL
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.