Word of the Day

Thursday, June 11, 2020

klatsch

[ klahch, klach ]

noun

a casual gathering of people, especially for refreshments and informal conversation: a sewing klatsch.

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What is the origin of klatsch?

You usually associate klatsch “a casual party” with coffee klatsch “a casual gathering for gossiping and drinking coffee.” Coffee klatsch is a partial rendering of German Kaffeeklatsch (in English kaffee klatsch or kaffee klatch). Coffee and Kaffee need no explanation. Klatsch is informal German for “gossip, gossiping,” from the verb klatschen, of imitative origin. In German Klatsch also means “a slap, a crack (as of a bat), a clap (of the hands).” Klatsch (klatch) entered English in the 1950s.

how is klatsch used?

Maybe they didn’t have anything in common and that was the point, was the thing that made the klatsch interesting, hearing the various perspectives people had.

Sam Savage, "Klatsch," An Orphanage of Dreams, 2019

At coffee-break time, Billy made a nice addition to our little klatsch.

Jim Windolf, "My Associate," The New Yorker, May 7, 2001

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Wednesday, June 10, 2020

skulduggery

[ skuhl-duhg-uh-ree ]

noun

dishonorable proceedings; mean dishonesty or trickery: bribery, graft, and other such skulduggery.

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What is the origin of skulduggery?

Skulduggery was originally an Americanism, a variant of Scottish sculduddery “fornication, lewd conduct, obscenity.” In American usage, skulduggery has cleaned up its act and means only “dishonorable dealings, trickery.” Neither sculduddery nor skulduggery has a reliable etymology. Sculduddery entered English in the first half of the 18th century, skullduggery in the second half.

how is skulduggery used?

corporate malfeasance is too often hidden in quarterly reports and harder for most people to follow. Political skulduggery is done in the open—and on C-Span—and is easier to portray.

Alessandra Stanley, "Pol Watchers: Everyone's a Bad Guy," New York Times, April 11, 2013

the club was a renowned haunt of maverick sea captains, wily eccentrics, and semi-alcoholic miscreants up to their necks in all manner of skulduggery.

Jason Lewis, The Seed Buried Deep, 2014

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Tuesday, June 09, 2020

osmatic

[ oz-mat-ik ]

adjective

of or relating to the sense of smell.

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What is the origin of osmatic?

Osmatic, “relating to the sense of smell or to animals with a keen sense of smell,” is a borrowing from French osmatique, which was coined by the 19th-century French surgeon and anthropologist Paul Broca in 1878. Osmatique derives from the Greek noun osmḗ (also odmḗ) “smell, odor, scent” and the French adjectival suffix -atique, from the same source as the English suffix –atic. Osmḗ is the classical Attic form of earlier and dialectal odmḗ, from a root od- “to smell” and is closely related to Latin odor “a smell, odor, whiff, hint.” Osmatic entered English in 1880.

how is osmatic used?

Each of our senses diminish their acuity at a slightly different rate as we fall off to sleep. Our auditive, osmatic, thermal, and tactile responses become seemingly dormant …

Richard Neutra, Nature Near: The Late Essays of Richard Neutra, 1989

Osmatic messages permit recognition of others as individuals or as members of a social category, or signal a certain emotional state.

Guy Ankerl, Experimental Sociology of Architecture, 1981

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