Word of the Day

Word of the day

Tuesday, October 05, 2021

inculcate

[ in-kuhl-keyt, in-kuhl-keyt ]

verb (used with object)

to implant by repeated statement or admonition; teach persistently and earnestly.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of inculcate?

Inculcate “to implant by repeated statement or admonition” derives from the Latin verb inculcāre “to trample, impress, stuff in,” a combination of the preposition in “in” and the noun calx (stem calc-) “heel,” which is also the source of calcaneus, the bone found in the heel. Calx is easily confused with its unrelated homonym calx “limestone,” though descendants of both words are often found today in educational settings: while inculcate, from calx “heel,” can refer to a teaching style, derivatives of calx “limestone” include chalk and, through a diminutive form meaning “small stone,” calculus. Inculcate was first recorded in English in the mid-1500s.

how is inculcate used?

At an early age, when grammar school teachers were struggling to inculcate the lesson that effort was the main key to success in school, these future scribblers gave the obvious lie to this assertion. Where others read haltingly, they were plowing two grades ahead in the reading workbooks.

Megan McArdle, “Why Writers Are the Worst Procrastinators,” The Atlantic, February 12, 2014

Jericho Brown considers how poets traverse the often long and chilly days, weeks, or months between poems. He begins by thinking about how the ideas of happiness (a short lived sensation) and joy (longer, deeper, and irrational) were inculcated in him through the church where he grew up.

Harriet Staff, “Jericho Brown Covering Distance at Boston Review,” Poetry Foundation, May 2016

Listen to the word of the day

inculcate

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00
quiz icon
WHAT'S YOUR WORD IQ?
Think you're a word wizard? Try our word quiz, and prove it!
TAKE THE QUIZ
arrows pointing up and down
SYNONYM OF THE DAY
Double your word knowledge with the Synonym of the Day!
SEE TODAY'S SYNONYM

Get A Vocabulary Boost In Your Inbox

Get the Word of the Day every day!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Word of the day

Monday, October 04, 2021

Weltanschauung

[ velt-ahn-shou-oong ]

noun

a comprehensive conception or image of the universe and of humanity's relation to it.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of Weltanschauung?

Weltanschauung “a comprehensive conception or image of the universe” is a direct borrowing from German, in which the term is a compound of Welt “world” and Anschauung “perception.” Welt is a cognate of the English word world, and both come from a Germanic term, reconstructed as wer-ald-, that likely meant “age of man.” The first half of wer-ald- can be found today in werewolf, literally “wolf man,” and derives from the same Proto-Indo-European root as Latin vir “man,” the source of virile “manly” and triumvirate “a group of three men.” The second half of wer-ald- is related to old and elder and is distantly related to the first element of the recent Word of the Day alma mater. Weltanschauung was first recorded in English in the 1860s.

how is Weltanschauung used?

Holmes handles the tension successfully not only by applying his scientific principles to a case but also by seeing the case through the perspective of his Weltanschauung. He takes the crime, the criminal, the victim, the motive, the circumstances, and the other characters involved who gain or suffer from the crime, and he puts them all into the cauldron of his world-view. The product of that mixture emerges as his unique brand of justice.

Diane Gilbert Madsen, Cracking the Code of the Canon: How Sherlock Holmes Made His Decisions, 2016

The first immigrant organizations in my town—even before there was a church—were all Azorean Holy Ghost fraternal societies. That they still thrive is one of the things pointing to the century long love affair that Falmouth has had with the Azores and helps craft the Weltanschauung of the immigrants, their children, and even non-Portuguese in my town. It is a love affair that may not be symmetrical, but it is one that burns brightly from the side of those of us in Falmouth.

Dr. Miguel Moniz, “Drawing Lines around my Bairro. The Azores Unbound,” Herald News, September 22, 2021

Listen to the word of the day

Weltanschauung

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00

Word of the day

Sunday, October 03, 2021

fetching

[ fech-ing ]

adjective

charming; captivating.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of fetching?

Fetching “charming; captivating,” a participle of the verb fetch, derives from Old English fecc(e)an, a variant of fetian “to bring back; to take.” Fetian, in turn, comes from the Proto-Indo-European root ped- “foot,” or by extension, “to walk,” which is the source of dozens of words related to the lower extremities and how we use them. Because Proto-Indo-European p- and d- often become f- and t- in English and other Germanic languages, the root ped- is recognizable in the words foot, fetter, and (via German) foosball. By way of the Latin derivative pēs (stem ped-) “foot,” we have pedal, pedestrian, expedite, and impede, and via Ancient Greek poús (stem pod-) “foot,” we have octopus and podium. Fetching as an adjective was first recorded in English in the late 1870s, but the verb fetch, with the sense “to captivate,” was first recorded in the early 1600s.

how is fetching used?

Aphids, those sap-sucking foes of gardeners, come in a variety of colours. We usually think of them as green, but pea aphids sometimes wear a fetching red ensemble. That may not strike you as anything special; after all, lots of animals are red. But the aphid’s colour is unique in a couple of extraordinary ways.

Ed Yong, “Aphids got their colours by stealing genes from fungi,” National Geographic, April 30, 2010

“Audrey bought me this getup at the new mall in Roanoke Rapids. She says it’s the latest in fetching attire for elderly gents. Don’t tell me she’s wrong.” Mabry did his best to match the grin. “Not wrong at all.”

Reynolds Price, The Good Priest's Son, 2005

Listen to the word of the day

fetching

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00

Get A Vocabulary Boost In Your Inbox

Get the Word of the Day every day!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.