Word of the Day

Word of the day

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

inimical

[ ih-nim-i-kuhl ]

adjective

unfriendly; hostile.

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What is the origin of inimical?

Inimical “unfriendly, hostile” comes from the Late Latin adjective inimīcālis, first used by the 5th-century Christian author Sidonius Apollinaris, a major political, diplomatic, literary, and religious figure of Gaul (now France, more or less)—indeed, of the Western Roman Empire. Sidonius Apollinaris had the delicate task of balancing the waning power of the Roman emperor against the rising power of the new Gothic kingdom comprising most of France and Spain, while at the same time also avoiding religious controversy. Inimīcālis is a derivative of the noun inimīcus, a compound of the negative prefix in– “not, un-” and a form of amīcus “friend”; unsurprisingly an inimīcus is an “unfriend.” Inimical entered English in the second half of the 17th century.

how is inimical used?

I rolled over and tried to get back to sleep, but I kept seeing faces—the highway robber’s inimical glare, the kid’s grin, the mother’s distorted mouth and wild eyes.

Barbara Michaels, The Dancing Floor, 1997

In 1960, the CIA said 6,500 objects had been reported to the U.S. Air Force over the prior 13 years. The Air Force concluded there was no evidence those sightings were “inimical or hostile” or related to “interplanetary space ships,” the CIA said.

Nomaan Merchant and Calvin Woodward, "'There is stuff': Enduring mysteries trail US report on UFOs," Associated Press, June 5, 2021

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Word of the day

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

farraginous

[ fuh-raj-uh-nuhs ]

adjective

heterogeneous; mixed.

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What is the origin of farraginous?

The adjective farraginous “heterogeneous; mixed” ultimately comes from the Latin noun farrāgō (inflectional stem farrāgin-) “mixed grains” (used for animal feed). Farrāgo is a compound of far (inflectional stem farr-) “husked wheat, emmer” and the noun-forming suffix –āgō (stem āgin-). Other derivatives of far include farīna “meal, flour” (English farina) and its adjective farīnāceus (English farinaceous). Far comes from the Proto-Indo-European root bhers– or bhares– “barley,” source of Old Icelandic barr “grain, barley” and Old English bere, which forms the first syllable of modern English barley. Farraginous entered English in the first half of the 17th century.

how is farraginous used?

In general we suspect that the simpler the pasta dish, the more successful it is likely to be. … But fancier linguine alla grana (whole wheat pasta) was a disaster, a farraginous mound with bits of filet mignon and mushrooms in a fatty brown sauce.

M. H. Reed, "Where the Appetizers Take Center Stage," New York Times, November 5, 1995

For being a confusion of knaves and fools, and a farraginous concurrence of all conditions, tempers, sexes, and ages, it is but natural if their determinations be monstrous and many ways inconsistent with truth.

Sir Thomas Browne, Vulgar Errors, 1646

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Word of the day

Monday, June 21, 2021

estivate

[ es-tuh-veyt ]

verb (used without object)

to spend the summer, as at a specific place or in a certain activity.

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What is the origin of estivate?

Estivate has two main senses: “to spend the summer at a specific place or in a certain activity” (as at the beach or in the mountains), and a zoological sense, “to spend a season in a dormant state, as certain reptiles and small mammals” (the “opposite,” as it were, of hibernate). Estivate comes from Latin aestīvātus, the past participle of aestīvāre “to reside during the summer.” Aestīvāre is a derivative of the adjective aestīvus “of or relating to summer; summery,” itself a derivative of the noun aestās “summer.” The Proto-Indo-European root behind the Latin words is ai– “to burn,” which is also the source of Latin aestus “heat, hot weather, hot season,” aedēs “dwelling place, abode, home” (because it was heated), and aedificium “a building” (English edifice). Two other derivatives, aedificāre “to erect a building,” and aedificātiō “the act or process of erecting a building; the building itself,” in Christian Latin developed the senses “to develop spiritually, improve the soul” (and “spiritual growth” for the noun), in current English edify and edification, which nowadays have nothing at all to do with the building trades. Estivate entered English in the first half of the 17th century.

how is estivate used?

The curious thing is that Long Island, even for those who estivate there, does not have the glamour of a goingaway place. When I ask friends what they are going to do for the summer, some say that they are going to the mountains, or to the country, or to New England. But there is a certain hesitancy about describing the Island.

Richard F. Shepard, "About Long Island," New York Times, May 30, 1976

There are three theories which serve partially—only partially—to explain the remoteness of Dulles International Airport. … The second is that the Kennedy clan, who estivate in or near Middleburg, Va., can come galloping more conveniently over the hills with Caroline to see relatives off.

Dan Howe, "Dulles Airport is 'Way Out'," Sarasota Journal, February 26, 1963

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