Word of the Day

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

idoneous

[ ahy-doh-nee-uhs ]

adjective

appropriate; fit; suitable; apt.

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What is the origin of idoneous?

The adjective idoneous, “suitable, fit,” is now rare and archaic. It comes straight from Latin idōneous “suitable, appropriate, qualified, able”; it has no reliable Latin etymology. Idoneous has an even rarer derivative noun, idoneousness “fitness, suitability.”  Idoneous entered English in the first half of the 17th century; idoneousness is first recorded in English in the first half of the 18th century and was last recorded just over a century later, in the mid-19th.

how is idoneous used?

As far as benefices are concerned no one could be more idoneous, fitting or suitable than Martin, since he is an Anglican clergyman.

Patrick O'Brian, The Truelove, 1992

What is idoneous cannot be always or necessarily known in advance. 

Aseem Inam, Planning for the Unplanned: Recovering from Crises in Megacities, 2005

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Monday, April 13, 2020

quidnunc

[ kwid-nuhngk ]

noun

a person who is eager to know the latest news and gossip; a gossip or busybody.

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What is the origin of quidnunc?

Quidnunc comes from Latin quid nunc “what now?”  Readers of the Roman poet Horace might recognize quidnunc as a quote from one of his humorous and elegant Epistles: “Albius, frank judge of my Epistles, / What now shall I say you are doing …?” Horace’s two lines are a trope for someone who wants to hear all the latest gossip, like Horace, the second person narrator in his Epistle. Quidnunc entered English in the early 18th century.

how is quidnunc used?

It’s hard enough to get on with one’s life without the tittle-tattle of a quidnunc spotlighting your weaknesses.

James Tate, "Friends," Dreams of a Robot Dancing Bee, 2002

It is a restaurant with a loyal clientele and, as a quidnunc might put it, a place whose fame has been hushed about for seven years.

Craig Claiborne, "Restaurant on Review: Chinese Fare," New York Times, July 14, 1961

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Sunday, April 12, 2020

daffadowndilly

[ daf-uh-doun-dil-ee ]

noun

Chiefly British Dialect.

a daffodil.

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What is the origin of daffadowndilly?

Daffodil has given rise to many, many playful, fanciful variations: daffadowndilly, daffadoondilly, daffadilly, daffodilly, daffydowndilly. The Middle English word is affodil (also affadil and affedil) “asphodel,” the name of several plants, including the daffodil. Affodil comes from French affadille and Medieval Latin affodillus (also asfodillus), from Latin asphodelus, from Greek asphódelos “asphodel.” Spellings with and without initial d– have always existed side-by-side in English, but the initial d– in daffadowndilly (and daffodil) has never been satisfactorily explained. Daffadowndilly entered English in the 16th century.

how is daffadowndilly used?

With your kirtle of green and your gay yellow gown, Daffadowndilly.

Ellen Thorneycroft Fowler, "Daffadowndilly," Love's Argument and Other Poems, 1905

Growing in the vale / By the uplands hilly, / Growing straight and frail, / Lady Daffadowndilly.

Christina Rossetti, "Growing in the Vale," Sing-Song: A Nursery Rhyme Book, 1872

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