Word of the Day

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

lenity

[ len-i-tee ]

noun

the quality or state of being mild or gentle, as toward others.

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What is the origin of lenity?

The English noun lenity is a borrowing of Old French lenité or Latin lēnitat-, the stem of lēnitās “softness, smoothness, gentleness,” a derivative of the adjective lēnis, from which English has lenient and lenition. Lenity entered English in the mid-16th century.

how is lenity used?

He confined the knowledge of governing within very narrow bounds, to common sense and reason, to justice and lenity, to the speedy determination of civil and criminal causes …

Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels, 1726

… I have relaxed, as I believe I may depend on her observing the rules I have laid down for their discourse. But do not imagine that with all this lenity I have for a moment given up my plan of her marriage …

Jane Austen, Lady Susan, 1871
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Tuesday, February 06, 2018

cerebrate

[ ser-uh-breyt ]

verb

to use the mind; think or think about.

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What is the origin of cerebrate?

The verb cerebrate is a back formation from the noun cerebration, which is a derivative of the Latin noun cerebrum “brain, understanding.” Cerebrum is a derivative of a very widespread, very complicated Proto-Indo-European root ker- “uppermost part of the body, head, horn, nail (of the finger or toe).” This root has many variant forms and is related to the Latin noun crābro “hornet” (English hornet comes from the same root), Greek kár “head” and kéras “horn,” and German Hirn “brain.” Cerebrate entered English in the 19th century.

how is cerebrate used?

To think, then, is to cerebrate. To worry is to cerebrate intensely.

George Wharton James, Quit Your Worrying!, 1917

If you simply retire to your own room, shove your backside into an excessively sprung easy chair, and there grimly cerebrate, the chances are that you will eventually do no more than crawl into bed — to wake up six to eight hours later with an unsolved conundrum and a filthy headache.

Michael Innes, An Awkward Lie, 1971
Monday, February 05, 2018

crump

[ kruhmp, kroo mp ]

verb

to make a crunching sound, as in walking over snow, or as snow when trodden on.

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What is the origin of crump?

Crump was first recorded in 1640-50. It is imitative of the sound of something crunching underfoot.

how is crump used?

With the new snow flattening sounds he felt almost deaf or dreaming. His boots crumped down into it.

Adam Foulds, The Quickening Maze, 2009

The horses’ hooves crunched in the snow, the wagon wheels creaked through it and, behind, the march of several hundred feet crumpcrumped along.

Janet Paisley, White Rose Rebel, 2007

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