Word of the Day

Word of the day

Monday, November 23, 2020

ingenious

[ in-jeen-yuhs ]

adjective

cleverly inventive or resourceful.

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What is the origin of ingenious?

Ingenious comes from late Middle English ingenious “intelligent, resourceful, quick-witted,” from Old French ingenïos, engeignos, from Latin ingeniōsus “clever, talented, gifted.” Ingeniōsus is a derivative of the noun ingenium “natural disposition, temperament, mood; natural ability, cleverness,” and the adjectival suffix –ōsus, the source via Old French and Anglo-French of the English suffix –ous. Ingenious entered English in the second half of the 15th century.

how is ingenious used?

She was an ingenious inventor who planted a seed that would blossom into some of today’s most ubiquitous technology, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, cordless phones and cell phones.

Alice George, "Thank This World War II-Era Film Star for Your Wi-Fi," Smithsonian, April 4, 2019

Yet as ingenious as this inventor was, their toy did not spark a societal revolution.

Cody Cassidy, "Who Invented the Wheel? And How Did They Do It?" Wired, May 6, 2020

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Sunday, November 22, 2020

regale

[ ri-geyl ]

verb (used with object)

to entertain lavishly or agreeably; delight.

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What is the origin of regale?

Regale “to entertain lavishly; delight” comes from the French verb régaler “to feast, entertain,” from the Old French noun regale, rigal(l)e, a derivative of gale “festivity, feast, lavish meal.” The prefix re– or ri– is borrowed from the verb (se) rigoler “to amuse (oneself)”; (se) rigoler in its turn is a derivative of galer “to make merry.” The French present participle of galer is galant, which in Middle English becomes galaunt, galant “merry, gay, gaily dressed,” English gallant. Regale entered English in the second half of the 17th century.

how is regale used?

It used to be that road-weary travelers would regale their nightly hosts with tales of rivers forded, vistas taken in, injuries sustained, and possibly even enemies vanquished.

Joe Pinsker, "What Airlines Don't Get About Delays," The Atlantic, April 23, 2015

One dinnertime, he regaled me with the story of how Lord Byron’s challenge to Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley to write a ghostly tale led to the creation of Frankenstein.

Morgan Jerkins, That Will Be My Undoing, 2018 

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Saturday, November 21, 2020

crankle

[ krang-kuhl ]

verb (used with or without object)

to bend; turn; crinkle.

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What is the origin of crankle?

The uncommon verb crankle “to bend, turn; crinkle” is a frequentative verb derived from crank “to rotate a shaft with a handle or crank.” A frequentative verb is one that expresses frequent or repeated action. In English such verbs end in –er (as flutter from float, slither from slide) and –le (as dazzle from daze, bobble from bob). English frequentatives are a closed set, that is, English no longer produces frequentatives with the suffixes –er and –le. Instead, modern English expresses the frequentative by the plain present tense, e.g., “I walk to school (habitually, usually),” as opposed to the present progressive “I am walking to school (right now).” Crankle entered English at the end of the 16th century.

how is crankle used?

Two miles down, the river crankles round an alder grove.

Henry Taylor, Philip van Artevelde, 1834

She pleaded with Dagda not to take her child, but her pleading was no more than the sound that a river makes when it crankles between stones.

Alexander McCall Smith, Dream Angus, 2006

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