• Word of the day
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    Monday, March 26, 2018

    genethliac

    adjective [juh-neth-lee-ak]
    Astrology. of or relating to birthdays or to the position of the stars at one's birth.
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    What is the origin of genethliac?

    If any word occurs exclusively in grad school seminars, papers, theses, and dissertations, genethliac is that word. The Latin adjective and noun genethliacus “pertaining to one’s hour of birth or a birthday; an astrologer who calculates such an hour or day,” is an extension of the Greek adjective genethliakós “pertaining to a birthday.” Latin also possesses a noun genethliacon “birthday poem,” derived from but not existing in Greek. Birthdays and birthday celebrations were bigger affairs among Roman men than among the Greeks because one’s birthday also involved the cult of the genius, the attendant spirit or “guardian angel,” so to speak, of every freeborn male but especially of the paterfamilias. Latin genethliaca “birthday poems” arose as a distinct genre in the first century b.c. Genethliac entered English in the 16th century.

    How is genethliac used?

    ... the mathematicians allow the very same horoscope to princes and to sots: whereof a right pregnant instance by them is given in the nativities of Æneas and Choræbus; the latter of which two is by Euphorion said to have been a fool; and yet had, with the former, the same aspects and heavenly genethliac influences. François Rabelais, The Third Book of Pantagruel, translated by John Ozell, 1738

    ... Augustine particularly insists on the case of twins, whose fates ought to be identical, if the genethliac theory were true ... Sir George Cornewall Lewis, An Historical Survey of the Astronomy of the Ancients, 1862

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  • Word of the day
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    Sunday, March 25, 2018

    ariose

    adjective [ar-ee-ohs, ar-ee-ohs]
    characterized by melody; songlike.
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    What is the origin of ariose?

    Ariose was first recorded in 1735–45. It is an Anglicized variant of Italian arioso.

    How is ariose used?

    He turned and looked at her, concern for her making his ariose voice a bit rougher than usual ... Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, A Feast in Exile, 2001

    ... he loosed the ariose floods of his voice, till a gusty song of the spring-time seemed to fill the garden. James Maurice Thompson, "The Mill of God," Scott's Monthly Magazine, July 1869

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  • Word of the day
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    Saturday, March 24, 2018

    oriflamme

    noun [awr-uh-flam, or-]
    any flag, banner, or standard, especially one that serves as a rallying point or symbol.
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    What is the origin of oriflamme?

    Originally an oriflamme was the banner or ensign that the French kings received before going into battle from the abbot of Saint-Denis, the site of a Benedictine abbey founded c626 in a city of the same name, located northeast of Paris, and named after Saint Denis, a martyr of the 3rd century who is venerated as a patron of the French people. Oriflamme means “golden flame” in Old French, from Latin aurea flamma “golden flame,” referring to the golden flames on the red background of the banner. Oriflamme entered English in the 15th century.

    How is oriflamme used?

    I was so afraid you might think we ought to sort of wave the oriflamme of our unfettered love. Mary Renault, Purposes of Love, 1939

    ... the huge and motley mass, throughout the Union, which marched under the oriflamme of the bank, had every where repeated and reiterated the same cry. Thomas Hart Benton, Thirty Years’ View, 1854

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  • Word of the day
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    Friday, March 23, 2018

    deracinate

    verb [dih-ras-uh-neyt]
    to isolate or alienate (a person) from a native or customary culture or environment.
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    What is the origin of deracinate?

    The root of deracinate “to uproot” is the Late Latin noun rādīcīna “root,” from Latin rādīx (stem rādīc-), from which English derives radical and eradicate. Latin rādīx comes from the Proto-Indo-European root wrād- (and its variants) “branch, root.” The noun wrādios becomes Latin rādius “staff, rod, beam, radius (of a circle), ray (of light),” from which, via French, English has ray (of light or energy). The suffixed form wrād-mo- becomes Latin rāmus “branch, twig,” from which English derives ramify and ramification. Proto-Indo-European wrād- becomes wrōt- in Germanic, from which Old Norse derives rōt, which becomes root in English. Deracinate entered English in the late 16th century.

    How is deracinate used?

    Our parents sent us to those schools to deracinate us, to obliterate our class markings. Malcolm Knox, Summerland, 2000

    In little more than a century, millions of human beings in Europe and America ... have undertaken to deracinate themselves from the natural continuum and all that it has to teach us of Man's relationship to the nonhuman more completely than ever before in the human past. Theodore Roszak, "Can We Survive the Artificial Environment?" The Rotarian, June 1971

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  • Word of the day
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    Thursday, March 22, 2018

    solitudinarian

    noun [sol-i-tood-n-air-ee-uh n, -tyood-]
    a person who seeks solitude; recluse.
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    What is the origin of solitudinarian?

    Solitudinarian was first recorded in 1685–95.

    How is solitudinarian used?

    She was such a warm, beautiful woman, so popular, so very full of love and verve and yet you, her only son, are an anthropofugal solitudinarian. David Foster, Sons of the Rumour, 2009

    ... Charron says that no one with a capacity for public good and usefulness ought to neglect that capacity. Thus, the able solitudinarian is to be severely censured. M. Andrew Holowchak, Thomas Jefferson: Moralist, 2017

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  • Word of the day
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    Wednesday, March 21, 2018

    disjune

    noun [dis-joon]
    Scot. Obsolete. breakfast.
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    What is the origin of disjune?

    The rare word disjune is formed from the Old French prefix des-, dis-, which comes from the Latin prefix dis- “apart, asunder, in two, in different directions” (the prefix dis- is related to the Latin numeral duo “two”). The Latin prefix may also be used like the English prefix un- to express the reverse or negative of the positive, e.g., untie, undo. Old French desjeün is thus an “unfast.” The Old French element -jun, -jeün comes from the Latin adjective jējūnus “hungry, fasting” and by extension “poor, barren.” In Medieval Latin the noun jējūnum (the neuter singular of the Latin adjective jējūnus) means “middle part of the small intestine,” so called because the jejunum was often found empty after death. The etymology of Latin jējūnus is unknown. The noun disjune entered English in the late 15th century; its use as a verb dates from the late 16th century.

    How is disjune used?

    Take a disjune of muscadel and eggs! Ben Jonson, The New Inn, 1629

    And when the two comrades were in the midst of their disjune the knight began to ask the monk (who knew everybody) about the barge he had seen the day before. Arthur Machen, "The Spigot Clerk's Second Tale," The Chronicle of Clemendy, 1888

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  • Word of the day
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    Tuesday, March 20, 2018

    pullulate

    verb [puhl-yuh-leyt]
    to breed, produce, or create rapidly.
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    What is the origin of pullulate?

    The English verb pullulate derives from the Latin verb pullulāre “to sprout, put forth shoots, bring forth,” a derivative of the noun pullus “young animal, foal.” The Latin words derive from the Proto-Indo-European root pau-, pōu-, pū- (with various suffixes) “little, small, few.” The suffixed forms pau-o- and pau-ko form Germanic (English) few and Latin paucus “small, slight,” respectively (the Latin adjective is also the source of Spanish and Italian poco). The suffixed form pō-los yields Greek pôlos “foal, young girl, young boy,” and Germanic (English) foal. The suffixed form pu-er- forms Latin puer “boy” and puella “girl” (from assumed puerla). Pullulate entered English in the early 17th century.

    How is pullulate used?

    Abundant foodstuffs, a benign climate, lack of natural enemies, high reproductive rate, minimal shooting pressure, and adequate habitat had all combined to allow the birds to pullulate wildly out of control--in fact to reach pestilential proportions. Stuart Williams, "Andean Doves Come High," Field & Stream, July 1972

    It is evident, for anyone with eyes to see, that for half a century, animals and people alike have tended to multiply, to proliferate, to pullulate in a truly disquieting proportion. Eugene Mouton, "The End of the World," 1872

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