Word of the Day

Word of the day

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

kith

[ kith ]

noun

acquaintances, friends, neighbors, or the like; persons living in the same general locality and forming a more or less cohesive group.

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What is the origin of kith?

Kith “persons living in the same general locality and forming a cohesive group” derives from Old English cȳththu “kinship, knowledge” and is related to couth, an archaic adjective meaning “known, acquainted with,” and uncouth “awkward, clumsy.” Old English cȳththu derives from the Proto-Indo-European root gnō- “to know,” which is the source of numerous knowledge- and ability-related terms, such as English can, cunning, and ken; Latin nōscere and cognōscere “to learn, get to know” (compare cognition, notice, and recognize) and ignōrāre (compare ignorant); and Ancient Greek gignṓskein “to know” (compare agnostic and diagnosis). Kith was first recorded in English before the 10th century.

how is kith used?

I learned something interesting today from Nanny. I asked what it meant when people talked about kith and kin. I know kin means family and Nanny said that kin means people who are blood relations to you or who are accepted as family even though they might not be blood relations, but kith is people that you are meant to be couth to. Nanny told me that the word comes from couth and uncouth, and that it is probably Anglo-Saxon.

Jane A. Adams, Kith and Kin, 2018

As far as the role of actors and performers went, quarantine viewing was characterized, too, by a kind of category confusion. Celebrities boldly crossed dividing lines between genres, mediums, and formats …. And what of actual reality-TV stars? They were being held to the same standards as the rest of the world, forced to confront political realities that were previously beyond their kith.

Naomi Fry, "The Year in Quarantine Viewing," The New Yorker, December 30, 2020
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Word of the day

Monday, December 27, 2021

inspissate

[ in-spis-eyt ]

verb (used with or without object)

to thicken, as by evaporation; make or become dense.

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What is the origin of inspissate?

Inspissate “to thicken, as by evaporation” derives from Latin inspissāre “to thicken,” from the adjective spissus “thick.Spissus is of uncertain ultimate origin but may be cognate to Ancient Greek spídios “wide” and spidnón “thick,” and its other descendants include English spissitude “the condition of a fluid thickened almost to a solid,” French épais “thick,” and Spanish espeso “dense.” Inspissate was first recorded in English in the 1620s.

how is inspissate used?

On the coast the principal ports and towns supply themselves with sea salt evaporated in the rudest way. Pits sunk near the numerous lagoons and back-waters allow saline particles to infiltrate; the contents, then placed in a pierced earthenware pot, are allowed to strain into a second beneath. They are inspissated by boiling, and are finally dried in the sun, when the mass assumes the form of sand.

Sir Richard Francis Burton, The Lake Regions of Central Africa: A Picture of Exploration, Vol. 2, 1860

Anna and I got as gussied up as grad students could and were soon seduced not only by the food at Maxim’s but also by the belle époque decor …. I remember having duck l’orange …. Dad had something with beef in it, Anna a lobster thermidor with a sauce so viscous that two George Foremans couldn’t have finished it. There was sauce on everything, all inspissated with butter, flour, crème fraîche. To me, it was all the hautest of haute, and delicious.

Jonathan Reynolds, "The Death of French Food, Part Deux," New York Times, August 6, 2000
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Word of the day

Sunday, December 26, 2021

enkindle

[ en-kin-dl ]

verb (used with or without object)

to kindle into flame, ardor, activity, etc.

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What is the origin of enkindle?

Enkindle “to kindle into flame, ardor, or activity” is a compound of the prefix en-, which serves as a transitive marker, and the verb kindle “to start (a fire); cause to begin burning.” Kindle derives from Old Norse kynda and is related to Old Norse kindill “torch, candle.” Despite the phonetic similarity, however, kindle is not related to candle, the latter of which is of Latin origin and comes from the same source as incandescent and incendiary. It is likely that kindle has been influenced in meaning and/or spelling by the unrelated homonym kindle “to bear (young),” which comes from the Old English noun gecynd “offspring.” Enkindle was first recorded in English in the 1540s.

how is enkindle used?

In the cold courts of justice the dull head demands oaths, and holy writ proofs; but in the warm halls of the heart one single, untestified memory’s spark shall suffice to enkindle such a blaze of evidence, that all the corners of conviction are as suddenly lighted up as a midnight city by a burning building, which on every side whirls its reddened brands.

Herman Melville, Pierre, 1852

Scents of Power is illuminating to the benighted, just as it is enlightening to the elite. In it, we identify an ideologue who isn’t a bohemian and one whose trajectory enkindles hope for voices on the fringe and the journalism practice itself. This well written book invites you to take more than a cursory look.

Henry Akubuiro, "The Amanze Obi phenomenon: Journalistic odyssey of a raconteur," Sun Nigeria, October 7, 2021
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