Word of the Day

Saturday, July 13, 2019

infare

[ in-fair ]

noun

Older Use.

a party or reception for a newly married couple.

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What is the origin of infare?

Infare comes from the Old English noun infǣr “a going in, entrance.” In Scots and Ulster English, infare also meant “a party or reception for a newly married couple,” a sense that the Scotch-Irish brought to the U.S. by the late 18th century.

how is infare used?

There could be no wedding in a Hoosier village thirty or forty years ago without an infare on the following day.

Edward Eggleston, Roxy, 1878

Dr. Graham, an entertaining Kentucky centenarian now living, describes the wedding of Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks, and also the “infare” that followed it—a Homeric marriage feast to which everybody was bidden ….

E. G. J., "New Light on Lincoln's Life," The Dial, March 16, 1900
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Friday, July 12, 2019

federalese

[ fed-er-uh-leez, -lees ]

noun

awkward, evasive, or pretentious prose said to characterize the publications and correspondence of U.S. federal bureaus.

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What is the origin of federalese?

Federalese is the youngest of an unlovely trio, dates to 1944, and has the narrowest reference, being restricted to the federal government. The equally ugly bureaucratese also dates to World War II (1942) and is broader in scope, including state and municipal government. The oldest and most comprehensive term, officialese, dates to 1884. In English the suffix -ese forms derivative adjectives and nouns from names of countries, their inhabitants, and their languages (such as Chinese, Faroese, Portuguese, Japanese, and Brooklynese, too). By analogy with this usage, –ese is used jocularly or disparagingly to form words designating the diction of people or institutions accused of writing in a dialect of their own invention (such as journalese, officialese, bureaucratese, and federalese).

how is federalese used?

The C.D. program echoes the 1950s mania for bomb shelters, but the 1982 version incorporates a new idea. In federalese, it’s called “crisis relocation,” and, like bomb shelters, a lot of it is laughable.

Michael Kramer, "The Fate of the Freeze," New York, June 14, 1982

The language used is bureaucratic gobbledygook, jargon, double talk, a form of officialese, federalese and insurancese, and doublespeak.

Jack Weinstein, as quoted in "Gobbledygook," ABA Journal, November 1984
Thursday, July 11, 2019

peccable

[ pek-uh-buhl ]

adjective

liable to sin or error.

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What is the origin of peccable?

Peccable comes from Old French from the Medieval Latin adjective peccābilis “capable of sin, susceptible to sin,” formed from the Latin verb peccāre “to go wrong, make a mistake, act incorrectly, commit a moral or sexual offense.” Peccable was formed on the model of impeccable, which dates from the first half of the 16th century. Peccable entered English in the early 1600s.

how is peccable used?

In his thought at that sharp moment he blasphemed even against all that had been left of his faith in the peccable Master.

Henry James, The Lesson of the Master, 1888

And Mrs. Hancock delivers Mrs. Malaprop’s peccable usages with impeccable aplomb. Nothing offends this lady so much as having someone cast ”an aspersion upon my parts of speech.”

Walter Goodman, "A Comedy of Manners by Sheridan," New York Times, August 10, 1989

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