Word of the Day

Word of the day

Sunday, May 27, 2018

lateritious

[ lat-uh-rish-uhs ]

adjective

of the color of brick; brick-red.

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What is the origin of lateritious?

The very rare adjective lateritious comes from Latin latericius (also lateritius) “made of brick,” a derivative of the noun later “brick, tile, block, ingot.” In English lateritious is used in medicine, biology, and geology to describe the color of urine, sediment, or stone. Lateritious entered English in the 17th century.

how is lateritious used?

He scanned the sooted pillars and lateritious stone, and her spark began to fade for him.

David Whellams, Walking Into the Ocean, 2012

The powders made from this bark are at first of a light brown, tinged with a dusky yellow; and the longer they are kept, the more they incline to a cinnamon or lateritious colour, which he believed was the case with the Peruvian bark and powders.

Reverend Edward Stone, "On the Success of the Bark of the Willow in the Cure of Agues," April 25, 1763, The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Vol. XII, 1763–1769
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Word of the day

Saturday, May 26, 2018

ferly

[ fer-lee ]

noun

something unusual, strange, or causing wonder or terror.

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What is the origin of ferly?

Nowadays ferly is used only in Scottish English as a noun meaning “a wonder, a marvel,” and a verb “to wonder.” The Old English source is the adjective fǣrlīc “sudden,” a derivative of the noun fǣr “fear” (akin to German Gefahr “danger” and gefährlich “dangerous”).

how is ferly used?

As on a May morning, on Malvern hills, / Me befell a ferly of fairy, methought.

William Langland (c1330–c1400), The Vision of Piers Plowman, 1360–99

Many a ferly fares to the fair-eyed …

William Morris, Child Christopher and Goldilind the Fair, 1895

Word of the day

Friday, May 25, 2018

pasquinade

[ pas-kwuh-neyd ]

noun

a satire or lampoon, especially one posted in a public place.

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What is the origin of pasquinade?

English pasquinade comes via French pasquinade from Italian pasquinata “a satire, lampoon,” a derivative of Pasquino, supposedly the name of a local Roman schoolmaster (or tailor, or shoemaker, or barber), and the nickname given to a 3rd-century b.c. fragment of statuary discovered in 1501 (now known to be Menelaus carrying the body of Patroclus). Cardinal Oliviero Carafa (1430-1511), an Italian cleric and diplomat, set the fragment up at the corner of his palace (the Palazzo Orsini, now the Palazzo Braschi), near the Piazza Navona, and began or encouraged the yearly custom to “restore” the fragment on the feast of St. Mark (April 25th) and clothe it in the costume of a mythological or historical character. University professors and their students paid “homage” to the statue by posting Latin verses (pasquinate) on the fragment. Over time these verses became anonymous satires written in Romanesco (the Italian dialect of Rome). Pasquinade entered English in the 17th century.

how is pasquinade used?

When Michaelis’s testimony at the inquest brought to light Wilson’s suspicions of his wife I thought the whole tale would shortly be served up in racy pasquinade

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, 1925

There are several pasquinades up now, commenting on Berlusconi’s recent visit to Washington and his subsequent defense in the Italian Parliament of Italy’s support for the war in Iraq.

, "Ask Pasquino," The New Yorker, June 7, 2004

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