Word of the Day

Word of the day

Sunday, November 29, 2020

immemorial

[ im-uh-mawr-ee-uhl, -mohr- ]

adjective

extending back beyond memory, record, or knowledge.

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What is the origin of immemorial?

Immemorial “extending back beyond memory or knowledge” ultimately comes from the Medieval Latin adjective immemoriālis, equivalent to the Latin negative or privative prefix im-, a variant of –in, and (liber) memoriālis “record (book).” Immemorial entered English in the early 17th century.

how is immemorial used?

Practical foresters contend and can demonstrate that from time immemorial fire has been the salvation and preservation of our California sugar and white pine forests.

George L. Hoxie, "How Fire Helps Forestry," Sunset, August 1910

Perhaps the most esoteric of the European minority nations is the nation of Wales, Cymru in Welsh, which lives in the flank of England cherishing its own immemorial culture, squabbling and demanding more independence from the United Kingdom.

Jan Morris, "Druids for a Day, Bards Forever," Wall Street Journal, August 12, 2013

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Word of the day

Saturday, November 28, 2020

fussbudget

[ fuhs-buhj-it ]

noun

a fussy or needlessly fault-finding person.

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What is the origin of fussbudget?

Fussbudget “one who is fussy or needlessly faultfinding” is a transparent compound of the nouns fuss “bustle, commotion” and budget “itemized list of funds or expenses.” The word entered English in the early 20th century; it became associated with the character Lucy Van Pelt in the comic strip Peanuts in the 1960s.

how is fussbudget used?

He was a fussbudget. His interest in ideas didn’t match his interest in small, and often silly, facts. Much of the time he saw neither the forest nor the trees but only a bit of the undergrowth.

Richard Rovere, "The Magnificent Fussbudget," Harper's, June 1975

“Friends,” the ever-popular television comedy, has already directed the action away from Chandler, the fussbudget, and Ross, the whiny paleontologist, to Joey of the big biceps and unambiguous urges.

Ginia Bellafante, "Seeing a New Man Calling the Tune, Fashion Gets in Step," New York Times, January 22, 2002

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Friday, November 27, 2020

lagom

[ lo-gawm ]

noun

the principle of living a balanced, moderately paced, low-fuss life.

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What is the origin of lagom?

The uncommon English noun lagom “the principle of living a balanced, moderate life” comes from Swedish lagom, a fossil noun form in the dative plural used as an adverb meaning “just right, just the thing,” literally “according to custom or common sense.” Lagom comes from an unattested Old Norse plural neuter noun lagu “what is laid down,” which in Old Icelandic becomes lǫg “law, laws.” The Old Norse neuter plural noun lagu was taken into late Old English as a feminine singular noun lagu by the year 1000, becoming lawe in Middle English, and law in English. Lagom entered English in the mid-1930s.

how is lagom used?

In the bigger picture, the balance of lagom goes way beyond emotional wellbeing and interior design to become all about belonging and shared responsibility—not just fitting in, but being part of a greater entity.

Linnea Dunne, Lagom: The Swedish Art of Balanced Living, 2017

Many of the rituals, recipes and decoration ideas that filled out last year’s mountain of hygge books would fall outside the lagom threshold. To Swedes, they’d seem fussy, a bit much.

Richard Orange, "Calm down trendspotters—'lagom' is not the new hygge," The Guardian, February 6, 2017

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