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
Monday, May 07, 2018

ocellated

[ os-uh-ley-tid, oh-sel-ey-tid ]

adjective

having eyelike spots or markings.

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What is the origin of ocellated?

The English adjective ocellated is a derivative of the Latin noun ocellus “(little) eye,” a diminutive of oculus “eye.” Ocellus is used especially in affectionate language, equivalent to “apple of my eye” or “darling.” As a horticultural term, ocellus means “incision made in the bark for inserting a bud or scion.” The only modern sense of ocellus does not occur in Latin; it is a zoological term meaning “simple eye or light-sensitive organ; a colored spot on birds’ feathers or butterflies” and dates from the 18th century.

how is ocellated used?

… Méline’s nose and eyes are such that you would swear you were looking at an ocellated butterfly, perching on a rosebud.

Éric Chevillard, On the Ceiling, translated by Jordan Stump, 2000

Fantasia was quick to push close the door behind them, although when doing so momentarily trapped the end of the cockbird’s ocellated or ‘eyed’ tail-feathers which, as a consequence, gave the signal for pandemonium to break loose.

Jeremy Mallinson, The Count's Cats, 2004
Sunday, May 06, 2018

sabulous

[ sab-yuh-luhs ]

adjective

sandy; gritty.

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What is the origin of sabulous?

The English adjective sabulous is a clear-cut borrowing from Latin sabulōsus ”gravelly, sandy,” a derivative of sabulum “coarse sand, gravel.” Sabulum comes from an assumed Italic psaflom. (Italic is the branch of the Indo-European language family that includes Latin, Oscan, Umbrian, and the modern Romance languages.) Psaflom comes from the same Proto-Indo-European root bhes- “to rub” as Greek psêphos “pebble” and Germanic sandam (Old English and English sand, German Sand). Sabulous entered English in the 17h century.

how is sabulous used?

But clearly the beach is also a stage, a studio, indeed an arena, sabulous or otherwise, at the heart of the culture.

Peter D. Osborne, Travelling light, 2000

The plants rose from the stones like a conjurer’s trick, working roots down into hidden pockets of sabulous soil …

Olivia Laing, To the River, 2011
Saturday, May 05, 2018

cinquefoil

[ singk-foil ]

noun

any of several plants belonging to the genus Potentilla, of the rose family, having yellow, red, or white five-petaled flowers, as P. reptans (creeping cinquefoil) of the Old World, or P. argentea (silvery cinquefoil) of North America.

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What is the origin of cinquefoil?

The English noun cinquefoil comes from Middle French cincfoille “five leaves.” Cincfoille corresponds to Latin quīnque folia, a translation of Greek pentáphyllon, literally “five leaves,” and the name of the creeping cinquefoil (Potentilla reptans) or the silvery cinquefoil (P. argentea). Cinquefoil entered English in the 15th century.

how is cinquefoil used?

Cinquefoil, with small yellow blossom, and ranunculus, with glossy yellow cup, edged the sunny roads …

Janet Lewis, The Trial of Sören Qvist, 1947

This was my curious labor all summer,–to make this portion of the earth’s surface, which had yielded only cinquefoil, blackberries, johnswort, and the like, before, sweet wild fruits and pleasant flowers, produce instead this pulse.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854
Friday, May 04, 2018

sith

[ sith ]

adverb, conjunction, preposition

since.

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What is the origin of sith?

In English sith is an archaic or dialect word whose functions as an adverb, preposition, and conjunction have been taken over by since. The Old English siththa is a variant of siththan (originally sīth thām “after that, subsequent to”), an adverbial and prepositional phrase formed from the comparative adverb sīth “subsequently, later” (akin to German seit “since”) and thām, the dative of the demonstrative pronoun, the phrase meaning “subsequent to that, after that.”

how is sith used?

… for ever sith the lord Clisson turned French, he never loved him.

Jean Froissart (1333?– c.1400), The Chronicles of Froissart, translated by John Bourchier, 1523–25

“Of course you see now, Sir Thomas, how ill a match Master John Feversham should have been for Blanche.” “Wherefore?” was the short answer. “Sith he is no longer the heir.”

Emily Sarah Holt, Clare Avery, 1876

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