Word of the Day

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

inaugurate

[ in-aw-gyuh-reyt, -guh- ]

verb (used with object),

to induct into office with formal ceremonies; install.

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What is the origin of inaugurate?

“Well begun is half done” about sums up the verb inaugurate. Inaugurate derives from Latin inaugurātus, the past participle of inaugurāre “to consecrate by augury (as by observing the flight of birds).” The Romans were addicted to religion, law, farming, the military, and the accompanying rituals to ensure the successful beginning and completion of an undertaking. Inaugurāre is a derivative of the noun augurium “soothsaying, divination,” a derivative of augur, an official who observes and interprets the flight of birds. The Romans themselves interpreted augurium to be derived from avis “bird” (pronounced awis and thus resembling the first syllable of augurium). It is more likely that augur and its derivatives derive from the verb augēre “to make grow, increase (crops, cattle),” the source of augment and auction in English. Inaugurate entered English in the early 17th century.

how is inaugurate used?

As we prepare to turn the page on 2020, and inaugurate Joe Biden as president on 20 January 2021, the incoming administration has a climate mandate to listen to people across America—and keep fossil fuels in the ground.

Faith Spotted Eagle and Kendall Mackey, "Biden must be our 'climate president'. He can start by ending pipeline projects," The Guardian, December 23, 2020

In the coming months, after years of ground-laying, controversy, and anticipation, the United States will finally complete an imperfect civic process that, though heavily compromised by geography, logistics, and partisanship, will affect the life of every single American for years to come. Also, the country will inaugurate a new president.

Adam Chandler, "What I Saw as a 2020 Census Worker," The Atlantic, November 24, 2020

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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

mammonism

[ mam-uh-niz-uhm ]

noun

the greedy pursuit of riches.

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What is the origin of mammonism?

Mammonism “the greedy pursuit of riches,” derives from the Late Latin mammon (also mammōnas and mammōna) “wealth, personification of wealth,” from Greek mamōnâs, from Aramaic māmōn “riches, wealth, profit.” Mamōnâs occurs only in the Greek New Testament and is left untranslated, a usage that the Latin Vulgate also follows. By medieval times (for instance in the Old English Lindisfarne Gospels of the early 8th century) Mammon was a proper name for the Devil as the instigator of covetousness. In Piers Plowman (late 14th century), Mammon is the proper name for the devil of greed, and John Milton used Mammon as the name of one of the fallen Angels in Paradise Lost. Mammonism entered English in the first half of the 19th century.

how is mammonism used?

It is not so new, after all—this alliance of mammonism with epicurism—the mania for sudden wealth and the passion for a vulgar display of it in twenty-thousand-dollar banquets.

Addison Ballard, "Gust and Greed," New York Times, November 5, 1905

With our present system of individual Mammonism and Government by Laissez-faire, this Nation cannot live.

Thomas Carlyle, Past and Present, 1843

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Monday, January 18, 2021

inextricably

[ in-ik-strik-uh-blee ]

adverb

in a way that is unable to be separated or disentangled.

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What is the origin of inextricably?

All of the elements of the adverb inextricably, “in a way that cannot be disentangled,” come from Latin, except the final adverb suffix –ly. The adjective inextricable comes from Latin inextrīcābilis, clearly composed of the negative prefix in– (from the same Proto-Indo-European source as English un-, as in unclear) and the compound verb extrīcāre “to set free, loose, solve (a problem),” which is formed from the preposition and prefix ex, ex– “out, out of” and the plural noun trīcae “knot of problems; nonsense” (which has no definite etymology). The last element of inextrīcābilis is the adjective suffix -ābilis, completely naturalized in English -able. The English adverb suffix -ly comes from Middle English -li, -lich, -liche, from Old English -līce, an adverb suffix formed from the adjective suffix –līc. The suffix –līc is related to the Old English noun līc “a body (usually dead),” which survives in English lich gate, the roofed gate to a cemetery where the coffin is set for the arrival of the clergyman. In English, therefore, clearly means “with a clear body”; in Romance (French, for example), the usual adverb suffix is -ment, from Latin mente “(with the) mind”; so the French adverb clairement “clearly” literally means “with a clear mind.” Inextricably entered English at the end of the 16th century.

how is inextricably used?

many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny, and they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "I Have A Dream," delivered at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, August 28, 1963

The issue of national security, for any of these countries as well as the United States, is inextricably interlinked not only with immigration and border policies but also with food security.

Abrahm Lustgarten, "How Russian Wins the Climate Crisis," New York Times Magazine, December 16, 2020

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