Word of the Day

Thursday, May 21, 2020

jawbone

[ jaw-bohn ]

verb (used with or without object)

to attempt to influence or pressure by persuasion rather than by the exertion of force or one's authority, as in urging voluntary compliance with economic guidelines.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of jawbone?

The slang use of jawbone, “to attempt to influence or pressure by persuasion rather than by force or authority as in urging voluntary compliance with economic guidelines,” originated in the U.S. Students of political history will associate it Lyndon Baines Johnson, who was a master of jawboning when he was Senate majority leader. Jawbone, a compound of jaw and bone meaning “a bone of the jaw,” entered English in the late 15th century.

how is jawbone used?

Johnson had a legendary ability to “jawbone” members of Congress into accepting his positions ….

Donald M. Snow, Patrick J. Haney, U. S. Foreign Policy: Back to the Water's Edge, 5th edition, 2018

And if we think one goes too far, we initially try to jawbone the governors into rolling them back or adjusting them.

Attorney General William Barr, as reported in, "Lawsuits Pile Up Against Coronavirus," Wall Street Journal, April 25, 2020

Listen to the word of the day

jawbone

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.
Wednesday, May 20, 2020

eftsoons

[ eft-soonz ]

adverb

Archaic.

soon after.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of eftsoons?

For some of us, our first (and only) encounter with eftsoons is in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798), line 12, to be exact (if you get that far): “Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!” Eftsoons his hand dropt he.” Eftsoons (also eftsoon), a very rare word, is a compound of the archaic adverb eft “again, a second time” and the adverb soon, expanded by the adverbial genitive -s (as in backwards and forwards). Eftsoons entered English before 1000.

how is eftsoons used?

Eftsoons he made known his wants to the churl behind the desk, who was named Gogyryan. And thus he spake: “Any rooms?”

Robert Benchley, "Suppressing 'Jurgen,'" Love Conquers All, 1922

I am of this mind with Homer, that as the snail that crept out of her shell was turned eftsoons into a toad, and thereby was forced to make a stool to sit on disdaining her own house, so the traveller that straggleth from his own country is in short time transformed into so monstrous a shape that he is fain to alter his mansion with his manners, and to live where he can, not where he would.

John Lyly, Euphes and His England, 1580, edited by Leah Scragg, 2003

Listen to the word of the day

eftsoons

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00
Tuesday, May 19, 2020

indemnity

[ in-dem-ni-tee ]

noun

compensation for damage or loss sustained.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of indemnity?

Indemnity comes from Middle French indemnité, from Late Latin indemnitās (inflectional stem indemnitāt-) “security from financial loss.”  Indemnitās is first recorded in the writings of the Imperial Roman jurists Sextus Pomponius and Ulpian. The root word of indemnitās is the noun damnum “financial loss, deprivation of possessions or property, a sum to be paid in restitution.” Damnum comes from an unrecorded dapnom, a noun derivative of the extended root dap-, from the Proto-Indo-European root – “to apportion in exchange.” The same root yields Latin daps “sacrificial meal, banquet,” Old Norse tafn “sacrificial animal, meal” (also from dapnom), Greek dapánē “cost, expenditure” and dáptein “to devour, consume,” Sanskrit dāpayate “he divides,” and Armenian tawn “feast” (from dapni-). Indemnity entered English in the 15th century.

how is indemnity used?

I promise you indemnity for your loss, and an apology that shall, I trust, satisfy your feelings ….

George Meredith, The Ordeal of Richard Feverel, 1859

On his arrival, as an indemnity for alleged insults offered to the flag of his country, he demanded some twenty or thirty thousand dollars to be placed in his hands forthwith ….

Herman Melville, Typee, 1846

Listen to the word of the day

indemnity

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.