Word of the Day

Saturday, August 15, 2020

jubilee

[ joo-buh-lee, joo-buh-lee ]

noun

the celebration of any of certain anniversaries, especially the fiftieth (golden jubilee).

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What is the origin of jubilee?

Jubilee comes from Middle English jubilee, jeubile, from Old French jubilee, jubilé, from Late Latin (annus) jūbilaeus “(year) of jubilee,” from the Greek adjective iōbēlaîos, from the noun iṓbēlos “jubilee,” from the Hebrew noun yōbhēl “ram’s horn, jubilee.” The change of the expected Latin spelling jōbēlaeus to jūbilaeus is due to the Latin verb jūbilāre “to shout for joy.” Jubilee first appears in John Wycliffe’s translation of the Bible in 1382.

how is jubilee used?

Few British monarchs have reached the 50-year milestone. King George III and Queen Victoria marked their golden jubilees with huge celebrations.

Ceylan Yeginsu, "Queen Elizabeth II’s Sapphire Jubilee Takes On Low-Key Tone," New York Times, February 6, 2017

To mark our silver jubilee, we look back at some of the biggest, brightest moments of the past 9,131 days.

"2008: Rachel Maddow Becomes First Queer Woman to Host Prime-Time News," Out, September 29, 2017

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Friday, August 14, 2020

de facto

[ dee fak-toh, dey ]

adverb, adjective

in fact; in reality: Although his title was prime minister, he was de facto president of the country.

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What is the origin of de facto?

The English adjective and adverb de facto, “in fact, really, in actuality (whether legal or illegal),” comes from the Latin phrase dē factō, from the preposition “of, from” and the noun factum “deed, act.” De facto is frequently contrasted with de jure, from the Latin phrase dē jūre “according to law, legally.” De facto entered English in the early 17th century.

how is de facto used?

Teachers will be safe at home, Hicks-Maxie noted. She doesn’t blame them. But she said that will leave child care workers as de facto teachers—at half the pay.

Nina Shapiro, "Hobbled by 1,000 closures, Washington's child care industry thrust into de facto teaching," Seattle Times, August 9, 2020

By choosing her as his political partner, Mr. Biden, if he wins, may well be anointing her as the de facto leader of the party in four or eight years.

Alexander Burns and , "Kamala Harris Is Biden's Choice for Vice President," New York Times, August 11, 2020

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Thursday, August 13, 2020

sinistrality

[ sin-uh-stral-i-tee ]

noun

left-handedness.

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What is the origin of sinistrality?

There is nothing sinister about sinistrality: the word simply means “left-handedness” (as opposed to right-handedness) or “left-sidedness.” Sinistrality is a derivation of the adjective sinistral, whose current sense is “on the left-hand side, left” (in Middle English sinistralle meant “unlucky, adverse”). Sinistrality entered English in the mid-19th century.

how is sinistrality used?

Kermit’s sinistrality leapt right off the page at me as soon as I saw the photograph of him with Bret McKenzie that accompanies Adam Sternbergh’s feature in this week’s magazine.

David Vecsey, "How About a Hand for the Muppets!" New York Times, November 18, 2011

There are reports of editors being 31 per cent lefty and of graduates of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in math and science showing 45 per cent sinistrality.

Conrad Chyatte, "Sinistrality Unmasked at Last," American Bar Association Journal, May 1975

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