Word of the Day

Thursday, May 10, 2018

hypocorism

[ hahy-pok-uh-riz-uhm, hi- ]

noun

a pet name.

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What is the origin of hypocorism?

The very rare English noun hypocorism comes from the equally rare Latin noun hypocorisma “a diminutive (word),” a direct borrowing of Greek hypokórisma “pet name, endearing name; diminutive (word),” a derivative of the verb hypokorízesthai “to play the child, call by an endearing name.” Hypokorízesthai is a compound formed from the prefix hypo-, here meaning “slightly, somewhat,” and korízesthai “to caress, fondle.” The root of korízesthai is the noun kórē “girl, maiden” or kóros “boy, youth.” The Greek nouns are from the same Proto-Indo-European root ker- “to grow” as the Latin Ceres, the goddess of agriculture, and its derivative adjective cereālis “pertaining to Ceres,” the source of English cereal. Hypocorism entered English in the 19th century.

how is hypocorism used?

Powsoddy, a now obsolete name for a pudding, was also used as a hypocorism in the late sixteenth century, paralleling the affectionate use of the word pudding itself in our own century, though lovers usually alter the pronunciation to puddin.

Mark Morton, The Lover's Tongue, 2003

The addition of diminutive or familiar prefixes and suffixes to the name of a saint to produce a ‘pet name’ or hypocorism, is common in the Celtic areas …

Karen Jankulak, The Medieval Cult of St Petroc, 2000
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Wednesday, May 09, 2018

suborn

[ suh-bawrn ]

verb

to bribe or induce (someone) unlawfully or secretly to perform some misdeed or to commit a crime.

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What is the origin of suborn?

The Latin verb subornāre, the ultimate source of English suborn, is composed of the prefix sub- “under, subordinate, near to, partially, secretly” and the verb ornāre “to prepare, equip, arrange.” Ornāre is from an assumed ordnāre, a derivative of the noun ordō (stem ordin-) “line, row, rank, grade.” Subornāre has several meanings: when the sense of the verb ornāre predominates, the compound means “to supply, furnish; to dress up (in costume or disguise); when the sense of the prefix sub-, meaning “secretly, covertly,” predominates, the compound means “to instigate secretly or underhandedly, prepare clandestinely.” An extension of this last sense, “to induce someone to commit a crime or perjury,” from suborner in Old and Middle French, is its current sense in English. Suborn entered English in the 16th century.

how is suborn used?

… he had been concerned “because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals.”

Elizabeth Olson, "Former C.I.A. Chief John Brennan to Become a Fellow at Fordham," New York Times, September 4, 2017

… I had been brought in as a spy, to help in betraying him, and Joyce had suborned him to the act of treachery.

Bram Stoker, The Snake's Pass, 1890
Tuesday, May 08, 2018

infomania

[ in-fuh-mey-nee-uh, -foh- ]

noun

Digital Technology. a. an obsessive need to constantly check emails, social media websites, online news, etc.: The fear of being out of the loop, not in the know, fuels infomania, especially among teens. b. the effects of this obsession, especially a decline in the ability to concentrate: She attributes her increasingly poor “life management skills” to infomania.

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What is the origin of infomania?

Infomania is a modern combination of information and mania. It entered English in the 1970s.

how is infomania used?

The Bagus Gran Cyber Cafés are Tokyo’s grand temples of infomania. … At first glance the spread looks officelike, but be warned: these places are drug dens for Internet addicts.

Virginia Heffernan, "In Tokyo, the New Trend Is 'Media Immersion Pods'," New York Times, May 14, 2006

Since then, he has led the charge at Intel to deal with “infomania,” which he describes as a debilitating state of mental overload–caused by backlogs of e-mail, plus interruptions such as e-mail notifications, cell phones and instant messages.

Stephanie Overby, "A Cure for Infomania," CIO, July 1, 2007

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