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the principle of living a balanced, moderately paced, low-fuss life.
The uncommon English noun lagom “the principle of living a balanced, moderate life” comes from Swedish lagom, a fossil noun form in the dative plural used as an adverb meaning “just right, just the thing,” literally “according to custom or common sense.” Lagom comes from an unattested Old Norse plural neuter noun lagu “what is laid down,” which in Old Icelandic becomes lǫg “law, laws.” The Old Norse neuter plural noun lagu was taken into late Old English as a feminine singular noun lagu by the year 1000, becoming lawe in Middle English, and law in English. Lagom entered English in the mid-1930s.
In the bigger picture, the balance of lagom goes way beyond emotional wellbeing and interior design to become all about belonging and shared responsibility—not just fitting in, but being part of a greater entity.
Many of the rituals, recipes and decoration ideas that filled out last year’s mountain of hygge books would fall outside the lagom threshold. To Swedes, they’d seem fussy, a bit much.
freely bestowed; plentiful; abundant.
Bounteous comes from Middle English bountevous, bounteuous, bontivous (and other variant spellings) “good, worthy, virtuous; knightly, valiant; generous, liberal,” from Old French bontieus, bontif (masculine), bontive (feminine) “benevolent, full of goodness, from Old French bonté, bontet (source of Middle English bounte, English bounty “generosity, generous gift”), from Latin bonitās (stem bonitāt-) “goodness, excellence.” The spelling bounteous arose in the early 15th century as if the etymology were bounte plus the adjective suffix –ous. Bounteous entered English in the second half of the 14th century.
Let’s not give up on pies. Usually, there’s a lush and sweet array—a loud hurrah to end the bounteous feast.
Mesmerized by the bounteous displays of freshly harvested produce, artisanal breads, and locally raised meats, I salivated with greedy glee, thinking of the market-inspired menus I could prepare if I moved here.
exceptionally pleasing to taste or smell; especially delicious or fragrant.
The English adjective ambrosial comes from the Greek noun ambrosía “immortality; elixir of life, food of the gods.” (Néktar is “the drink of the gods, nectar”). The initial a– of ambrosía is a variant of the prefix an– meaning “not, without, lacking,” as in atheist or anarchy. The b in ambrosía is a glide consonant between the m and the r. The mro is a derivative of mŗ-, a variant of the very common Proto-Indo-European root mer-, mor-, mŗ– “to die.” The variant mŗ– is also the source of Latin mors (stem mort-) “death,” Morta “goddess of death,” and morī “to die,” Armenian mard “man,” Sanskrit mŗtá– “dead,” and Slavic (Polish) martwy “dead.” The root variant mŗ– regularly becomes mur– in the Germanic languages, yielding murder in English and Mord “murder” in German. The root variant mor– is the source of Greek mortós and Sanskrit márta– “human (being), mortal,” and Old Persian martiya– “mortal, man.” The root variant mer– is the source of Hittite mert “died.” Ambrosial entered English in the second half of the 16th century.
Her dishes were threaded through with the islands’ smoke and spice and with the ambrosial sweetness of tropical fruit …
He quickly sautes the preserved duck with wild onions, bathes it with a buttery white wine sauce, and tosses in the parboiled, bite-sized pasta and the glistening green fiddleheads. After a few ambrosial bites, I call it investigative journalism.
a heated discussion, debate, or argument; fuss; to-do.
All the authorities agree that pother “commotion, uproar; heated argument” has no reliable etymology; indeed, even the words that pother may be related to, like bother, have no trustworthy etymology. (The fact that an early citation of pother is spelled bother just makes things worse.) Pother originally rhymed with other and brother; it acquired its current pronunciation by the beginning of the 19th century.
Yet what a pother is there of pismires over a grain of sand. But that grain of sand is their whole world.
“I don’t know what’s so very extraordinary about it, or why there should be such a pother,” he began; and he knew that he was insolently ignoring abundant reasons for pother, if there had been any pother. “Yes, I’m engaged.”
cleverly inventive or resourceful.
Ingenious comes from late Middle English ingenious “intelligent, resourceful, quick-witted,” from Old French ingenïos, engeignos, from Latin ingeniōsus “clever, talented, gifted.” Ingeniōsus is a derivative of the noun ingenium “natural disposition, temperament, mood; natural ability, cleverness,” and the adjectival suffix –ōsus, the source via Old French and Anglo-French of the English suffix –ous. Ingenious entered English in the second half of the 15th century.
She was an ingenious inventor who planted a seed that would blossom into some of today’s most ubiquitous technology, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, cordless phones and cell phones.
Yet as ingenious as this inventor was, their toy did not spark a societal revolution.
verb (used with object)
to entertain lavishly or agreeably; delight.
Regale “to entertain lavishly; delight” comes from the French verb régaler “to feast, entertain,” from the Old French noun regale, rigal(l)e, a derivative of gale “festivity, feast, lavish meal.” The prefix re– or ri– is borrowed from the verb (se) rigoler “to amuse (oneself)”; (se) rigoler in its turn is a derivative of galer “to make merry.” The French present participle of galer is galant, which in Middle English becomes galaunt, galant “merry, gay, gaily dressed,” English gallant. Regale entered English in the second half of the 17th century.
It used to be that road-weary travelers would regale their nightly hosts with tales of rivers forded, vistas taken in, injuries sustained, and possibly even enemies vanquished.
One dinnertime, he regaled me with the story of how Lord Byron’s challenge to Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley to write a ghostly tale led to the creation of Frankenstein.
verb (used with or without object)
to bend; turn; crinkle.
The uncommon verb crankle “to bend, turn; crinkle” is a frequentative verb derived from crank “to rotate a shaft with a handle or crank.” A frequentative verb is one that expresses frequent or repeated action. In English such verbs end in –er (as flutter from float, slither from slide) and –le (as dazzle from daze, bobble from bob). English frequentatives are a closed set, that is, English no longer produces frequentatives with the suffixes –er and –le. Instead, modern English expresses the frequentative by the plain present tense, e.g., “I walk to school (habitually, usually),” as opposed to the present progressive “I am walking to school (right now).” Crankle entered English at the end of the 16th century.
Two miles down, the river crankles round an alder grove.
She pleaded with Dagda not to take her child, but her pleading was no more than the sound that a river makes when it crankles between stones.