Word of the Day

Monday, April 02, 2018

inscape

[ in-skeyp ]

noun

the unique essence or inner nature of a person, place, thing, or event, especially depicted in poetry or a work of art.

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What is the origin of inscape?

It is likely that the English poet and Jesuit priest Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-89) coined the noun inscape. The obsolete noun inshape (i.e., internal form or inward shape) was a probable model. Hopkins also coined sprung rhythm and instress (i.e., the force sustaining an inscape). Inscape entered English in 1868.

how is inscape used?

Spanish chestnuts: their inscape here bold, jutty, somewhat oaklike, attractive, the branching visible and the leaved peaks spotted so as to make crests of eyes.

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–1889), "Journal for 1868," The Collected Works of Gerard Manley Hopkins, 2015

What we wanted to do was to marry the meaning with the “inscape” of the poem.

Colum McCann, Author's note on "An Ode to Curling," The New Brick Reader, 2013
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Sunday, April 01, 2018

shavie

[ shey-vee ]

noun

Scot. a trick or prank.

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What is the origin of shavie?

Shavie is a rare word used in Scottish poetry, first appearing in English in the 18th century and current for just a little more than a century after that.

how is shavie used?

But urchin Cupid shot a shaft / That play’d a dame a shavie

Robert Burns, "The Jolly Beggars," 1785

‘Twas then that Love played him a shavie, / And strak his dart in donsie Davie.

William Nicholson, "The Country Lass," Tales in Verse and Miscellaneous Poems: Descriptive of Rural Life and Manners, 1814
Saturday, March 31, 2018

kosher

[ koh-sher ]

adjective

Informal. a. proper; legitimate. b. genuine; authentic.

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What is the origin of kosher?

Kosher is one of the most common words of Yiddish origin in American English. Yiddish kosher comes from Hebrew kosher (Ashkenazi pronunciation), from Hebrew kāshēr “right, fit, proper.” Kosher as an adjective “pertaining to foods prepared according to Jewish dietary law” dates from the mid-19th century; the sense “proper, legitimate” dates from the late 19th century. Kosher as a noun “kosher food, kosher store” dates from the late 19th century.

how is kosher used?

This is kosher. I’m an officer of the court requesting assistance from a citizen.

Loren D. Estleman, King of the Corner, 1992

Forsyth knew that was all a cover story. He knew the whole setup wasn’t kosher.

Michael Savage, Abuse of Power, 2011

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