Word of the Day

Monday, September 09, 2019

ikebana

[ ik-uh-bah-nuh; Japanese ee-ke-bah-nah ]

noun

the Japanese art of arranging flowers.

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What is the origin of ikebana?

Ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging, comes from the Japanese verb ikeru “to keep alive, make alive, arrange” and –bana, a variant used as a combining form of hana “flower.” Ikebana dates to the 6th century when offerings of flowers were placed at altars; later, flowers were also displayed in tokonomas (alcoves in private homes). Ikebana entered English at the beginning of the 20th century.

how is ikebana used?

… were you to consider the philosophy at the core of ikebana, grounded as it is in Japan’s ancient polytheism and its Buddhist traditions, you might find something quite relevant to the times we live in: an art that can expand your appreciation  of beauty.

Deborah Needleman, "The Rise of Modern Ikebana," New York Times, November 6, 2017

One must surpass and transcend concepts of traditional use and discover a “new face” in the material, and this “new face” is the primary focus of contemporary ikebana.

Shozo Sato, Ikebana: The Art of Arranging Flowers, 2012
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Sunday, September 08, 2019

embosom

[ em-booz-uhm, -boo-zuhm ]

verb (used with object)

to cherish; foster.

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What is the origin of embosom?

The verb embosom “to cherish, foster,” is a compound formed from the prefix em– meaning “to make (someone or something) be in (a place or condition),” a borrowing from Old French, from Latin in-, and the noun bosom (the variant imbosom is formed directly from the Latin prefix in-). Bosom comes from Old English bósm and has certain relatives only within Germanic, e.g., Old Frisian bósm, Old Saxon bósom, Old High German buosam, German Busen. The verb is poetic and rare, first appearing in Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene (1590).

how is embosom used?

The more thoroughly she is recognized in any University, and made to embosom the minds trained in it, interpenetrating with her Divine force all resources of Science, the more will she make that, in no common-place sense but truly, royally, the cherished mother of its students.

, "The True Success of Human Life," The New Englander, No. 41, February 1853

When the act of reflection takes place in the mind, when we look at ourselves in the light of thought, we discover that our life is embosomed in beauty.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Spiritual Laws," Essays, 1841
Saturday, September 07, 2019

rarefied

[ rair-uh-fahyd ]

adjective

extremely high or elevated; lofty; exalted: the rarefied atmosphere of a scholarly symposium.

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What is the origin of rarefied?

The adjective rarefied “elevated, lofty, exalted,” only first appears in this sense in English in the second half of the 17th century. In origin, rarefied is the past participle of the Middle English verb rarefien “to reduce the density of, thin, soften,” first recorded at the end of the 14th century. Rarefien comes from Old French rarefier, from Medieval Latin rārēficāre, from Latin rārēfacere “to make less solid, rarefy,” a Latin technical term occurring first and only in Lucretius’s Dē Rērum Nātūrā, a long Epicurean didactic poem aimed at freeing human beings from the scourge of superstition, religion, and the fear of death.

how is rarefied used?

The country gentry of old time lived in a rarefied social air: dotted apart on their stations up the mountain they looked down with imperfect discrimination on the belts of thicker life below.

George Eliot, Middlemarch, 1872

In his 30s, breathing rarefied air, Mr. Coppola made two decisions that changed his career’s trajectory.

R. T. Watson, "Francis Ford Coppola's New Visions," Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2019

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