• Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Sunday, May 27, 2018

    lateritious

    adjective [lat-uh-rish-uhs]
    of the color of brick; brick-red.
    See Full Definition

    Get to know dictionary.com

    Sign up for our Newsletter!
    Start your day with weird words, fun quizzes, and language stories.
    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

    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

    Get to know dictionary.com

    Sign up for our Newsletter!
    Start your day with weird words, fun quizzes, and language stories.
    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Saturday, May 26, 2018

    ferly

    noun [fer-lee]
    something unusual, strange, or causing wonder or terror.
    See Full Definition

    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

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Friday, May 25, 2018

    pasquinade

    noun [pas-kwuh-neyd]
    a satire or lampoon, especially one posted in a public place.
    See Full Definition

    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

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Thursday, May 24, 2018

    antemeridian

    adjective [an-tee-muh-rid-ee-uhn]
    occurring before noon.
    See Full Definition

    What is the origin of antemeridian?

    The Latin adverbial phrase ante merīdiem means “before midday, before noon.” The noun merīdiēs is a dissimilation of medīdiēs “middle of the day, midday, south,” formed from the adjective medius “middle, middle of” and the noun diēs “day.” The Roman polymath Varro (c116-c27 b.c.) wrote that he saw the archaic or dialectal form medīdiēs on a sundial in Praeneste (modern Palestrina), a town east southeast of Rome. Antemeridian entered English in the 16th century.

    How is antemeridian used?

    And what, pray tell, is the point of “Twitter”? Seriously, I don't “get” it. I meanest, I see what people use it for; I simply do not comprehend the urge to share publicly thy basest observations about celebrated thespians during ceremonies of awards and the quality of thy antemeridian coffee ... Teddy Wayne, "My Kingdom for an English Course!" New York Times, November 9, 2013

    In the first antemeridian hours there was a lull in the restless hotel night. Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita, 1955

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Wednesday, May 23, 2018

    flubdub

    noun [fluhb-duhb]
    pretentious nonsense or show; airs.
    See Full Definition

    What is the origin of flubdub?

    There is no etymology other than “fanciful coinage” or “of unknown origin” for flubdub. It is used as a common noun but first appears in print as a surname in 1885.

    How is flubdub used?

    He had, by intently listening to lawyers who had delivered him from justice in the 43 times he had stood prisoner before city and county courts, acquired an astonishing hash of legalistic flubdub. Meyer Berger, "Murder Inc.: Justice Overtakes the Largest and Most Cruel Gang of Killers in U.S. History," Life, September 30, 1940

    Next to seeing a ballgame, the best thing is to sit in the studio with Mr. Barber and watch and listen as he takes the skeletonized report of a game coming over the telegraph wire and wraps up the bare bones with flubdub and pads it out and feeds it to the customers so it sounds as though he, and they, were seeing the plays. Red Smith, "It's All Genuine, Although Synthetic," New York Herald Tribune, August 28, 1946

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Tuesday, May 22, 2018

    cynosure

    noun [sahy-nuh-shoor, sin-uh-]
    something that strongly attracts attention by its brilliance, interest, etc.: the cynosure of all eyes.
    See Full Definition

    What is the origin of cynosure?

    In Greek Kynósoura means “dog’s tail” and is also the name of the constellation Ursa Minor (also known as the Lesser Bear, Little Bear, and especially in American usage, the Little Dipper). The first element of Kynósoura is the genitive singular of the Greek noun kúōn “dog, bitch, shepherd dog, watchdog.” Greek kúōn (and its stem kun-) come a very wide spread Proto-Indo-European noun kúwōn (stems kwon-, kun-) “dog,” source of Sanskrit śvā́ (also śuvā́) (stem śun-), Old Prussian sunis, Germanic (German) Hund “dog,” (Old English) hund, (English hound). Greek ourā́ “tail” is akin to Greek órrhos “rump” (from orso-) comes from Proto-Indo-European orsos “buttocks, rump, tail,” source of Germanic (German) Arsch and English arse (ass in American English). Cynosure entered English at the end of the 16th century.

    How is cynosure used?

    The throne of the gods was the most famous institution in Atvatabar. It was the cynosure of every eye, the object of all adoration, the tabernacle of all that was splendid in art, science and spiritual perfection. William R. Bradshaw, The Goddess of Atvatabar, 1892

    ... the garden’s look will be substantially different, with 16 new pieces by artists including ... Katharina Fritsch, whose “Hahn/Cock,” an ultramarine rooster more than 20 feet tall, might challenge “Spoonbridge” as the garden’s cynosure. Robin Pogrebin and Randy Kennedy, "The New Cherries on Top of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden," New York Times, January 21, 2016

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Monday, May 21, 2018

    adultescent

    noun [ad-uhl-tes-uhnt, uh-duhl-]
    a young adult or middle-aged person who has interests, traits, etc., that are usually associated with teenagers.
    See Full Definition

    What is the origin of adultescent?

    The informal noun kidult, a combination of kid and adult, which dates from about 1960, has mostly been replaced by the equally informal noun adultescent (from adult and adolescent), which first appears in the mid-1990s.

    How is adultescent used?

    It almost seems as if we’re actively trying to raise a nation of “adultescents.” Elizabeth Kolbert, "Spoiled Rotten," The New Yorker, July 2, 2012

    Adultescent came of age in 2004, but only as a word. The adult it describes is too busy playing Halo 2 on his Xbox or watching SpongeBob at his parents' house to think about growing up. John Tierney, "Adultescent," New York Times, December 26, 2004

    Previous Day Load More
Sign up for our Newsletter!
Start your day with weird words, fun quizzes, and language stories.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.