• Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    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.
    Look it up

    Get to know dictionary.com

    Sign up for our Newsletter!
    Start your day with new words, fun quizzes, and language stories.
    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

    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

    Get to know dictionary.com

    Sign up for our Newsletter!
    Start your day with new words, fun quizzes, and language stories.
    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Saturday, February 02, 2019

    prognosticate

    verb [prog-nos-ti-keyt]
    to forecast or predict (something future) from present indications or signs; prophesy.
    Look it up

    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

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Friday, February 01, 2019

    sirenic

    [sahy-ren-ik]
    melodious, tempting, or alluring.
    Look it up

    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

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Thursday, January 31, 2019

    gibble-gabble

    noun [gib-uhl-gab-uhl]
    senseless chatter.
    Look it up

    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

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Wednesday, January 30, 2019

    bootstrap

    verb [boot-strap]
    to help (oneself) without the aid of others: She spent years bootstrapping herself through college.
    Look it up

    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

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Tuesday, January 29, 2019

    synecdoche

    noun [si-nek-duh-kee]
    Rhetoric. a figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole or the whole for a part, the special for the general or the general for the special, as in ten sail for ten ships or a Croesus for a rich man.
    Look it up

    What is the origin of synecdoche?

    Synecdoche, “a figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole or the whole for a part, the special for the general or the general for the special,” comes via Latin synecdochē, from Greek synekdochḗ “understanding one thing through another.” The funny thing is that the word first appears in the works of the great, commonsensical Roman rhetorician Quintilian (c35-c95 a.d.). The formation of synecdoche is simple enough: the Greek preposition and prefix syn, syn- is well known in English; the noun ekdochḗ “receiving from another in succession” later acquires the meaning “interpretation.” Synecdoche first appears in English in the 15th century.

    How is synecdoche used?

    ... our current cultural circumstance, for which the internet stands as synecdoche, makes us belatedly ache with a longing for a lost coherence. Michael Joyce, "The Persistence of the Ordinary," Moral Tales and Meditations, 2001

    In this way, the trumpet is a kind of synecdoche for Chance’s ramplike gift: in the course of a verse, a song, or, here, the ecstatic whole of an album, he always seems to be stretching toward something new, something else. Vinson Cunningham, "The Sound of Hope: Chance the Rapper," The New Yorker, May 24, 2016

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Monday, January 28, 2019

    plexus

    noun [plek-suhs]
    any complex structure containing an intricate network of parts: the plexus of international relations.
    Look it up

    What is the origin of plexus?

    Plexus is a straightforward borrowing of Latin plexus “twining, braid, plaiting,” a very rare noun that appears first (and only) in the Roman poet and astrologer Marcus Manilius (1st century a.d.), who wrote a long, tedious poem on astronomy. Plexus is a derivative of the verb plectere “to twine, plait,” from the Proto-Indo-European root plek, plok- “to braid, plait,” from which Greek derives plékein “to twine, plait” and plokḗ “a twining, twisting.” The root plek-, plok- regularly becomes fleh-, flah- in Germanic, which, with the addition of the suffix -s, becomes fleax in Old English (English flax). Plexus entered English in the 17th century.

    How is plexus used?

    ... as he thrust his bold hand into the plexus of the money-market, he was delightedly unaware of how he shook the pillars of existence ... Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne, The Wrecker, 1891

    ... wearing jeans and a loose flannel shirt revealing a dark plexus of tattoos on his chest and arms, Rosenberg intently fielded questions about “Confessions of the Fox.” Peter Haldeman, "The Coming of Age in Transgender Literature," New York Times, October 24, 2018

    Previous Day Load More
Sign up for our Newsletter!
Start your day with new words, fun quizzes, and language stories.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.