The 2021 Word Of The Year is…
the condition of having an unusually vivid or precise memory.
Hypermnesia, a medical or psychological term meaning “the condition of having an unusually vivid or precise memory,” is composed of the familiar prefix hyper-, which usually implies excess or exaggeration, the Greek noun mnêsis “memory,” and the Greek abstract noun suffix –ia. Hypermnesia entered English in the late 19th century.
Psychologists have investigated some persons with exceptional memories – said to exhibit “hypermnesia”. The most famous of these was a Russian, code-named “S”, who could recall long random series of numbers or words without error, many years later.
This sharpened memory is called hypermnesia. A frequent experience in dreaming is a hypermnesia with regard to childhood scenes.
a platitude or trite saying.
The original meaning of bromide was “a chemical compound of two elements: bromine and a second element, such as potassium or sodium.” Potassium bromide and sodium bromide are used in medicine as sedatives and anticonvulsants. The extended use of bromide, “platitude or trite saying” (from its sedative effect), was originally an Americanism, first appearing in print in the early 20th century. Bromide entered English in the first half of the 19th century.
the work is its own reward. That may sound like just another bromide, but Gilbert’s love of creativity is infectious ….
I’m intrigued by the way in which his political success … contradicts bromides about the importance, professionally, of making friends and using honey instead of vinegar.
restless or frantic because of confinement, routine, etc.: I was stir-crazy after just two months of keeping house.
Feeling a little stir-crazy? Unpleasant though it may be, the restlessness that this familiar term calls to mind today is a far cry from the state of literal imprisonment it named upon entering English. A 1908 dictionary of unsavory terms called Criminal Slang defined stir-crazy (noun) as “a man whose mind has become affected by serving long sentences.” By the mid-1900s, stir-crazy was being used as an adjective to mean “mentally ill because of long imprisonment.” The stir in stir-crazy does not suggest movement or agitation, as one might presume based the verb stir “to move around briskly” or “to be emotionally affected”; here, stir is a slang term for prison. The origin of stir is uncertain, but some sources suggest it as a shortening of the Romani noun sturiben “prison” or verb staripen “to imprison”; others connect it to the Start, a nickname for the Newgate prison in London, which later broadened to mean prison more generally.
By now, let’s hope you’re safely ensconced at home—going a little stir-crazy, perhaps, but doing your part to “flatten the curve.”
You may be trying to work from home with your stir-crazy children, and all your previous rules about screen time may need to get tossed.