Word Of The Year
like or characteristic of Abraham Lincoln: a Lincolnesque compassion.
The uncommon adjective Lincolnesque can be used to refer to President Lincoln’s physical features, in particular his homely face with its deep furrows and his beard, or to qualities of his character and intellect. The adjectival suffix –esque “in the style or manner of” comes from French, from Italian –esco, from Vulgar Latin –iscus. The suffix –iscus is a borrowing from Germanic –iska-, source of German –isch, English –ish, and akin to Slavic –ski (-sky). The proper name Lincoln comes from the city of Lincoln, the county seat of Lincolnshire, England. The Latin name for the city is Lindum Colonia, from the Celtic noun lindo “pool, lake” (Welsh llyn); Colonia here means specifically a retirement community for veterans (in this case the Legio IX Hispana “9th Legion—Spanish,” which was stationed in the area from a.d. 43 on). Lincolnesque entered English in the first half of the 20th century.
… Captain America, the embodiment of a kind of Lincolnesque optimism, poses a direct question for me: Why would anyone believe in The Dream?
Given Mr. Obama’s particular fondness for Lincolnesque oratory, it’s surprising that he hasn’t adopted one of Lincoln’s favorite habits: quoting Shakespeare.
conveying or producing sound.
The adjective soniferous “conveying or producing sound” is Latinate but not Latin. The first two syllables, soni-, are a combining form of the Latin noun sonus “sound.” The second two syllables, –ferous “bearing, producing,” make a hybrid suffix from the Latin suffix –fer “carrying, bearing” (as in aquifer) and the English suffix –ous “possessing, full of,” which comes via Old French –ous, –eus, –eux from Latin –ōsus. Soniferous entered English in the early 18th century.
Since World War II biologists have learned much more about the characteristic sounds of many soniferous marine animals.
There is even an entire family of fishes, the Haemulidae or “grunts,” whose common name reflects their soniferous tendencies.
any of the postures in a yoga exercise.
The noun asana, “any of the postures in a yoga exercise,” comes from the Sanskrit noun āsanam “(act of) sitting, sitting position,” from the Sanskrit root ās– “to sit, be seated,” from the Proto-Indo-European root ēs– “to sit,” found only in Indo-Iranian, Greek, and Hittite: Sanskrit ā́ste, Avestan āste, Greek hēstai, and Hittite esa, esari all mean “he sits.” Asana entered English in the first half of the 19th century.
Getting in to the correct asana is good but you must also train your mind not to oscillate.
I can still do some asanas. And I never could get the hang of meditation, but I still can do an asana or two.
beloved one; darling; sweetheart.
The common noun jo, “darling, sweetheart,” is Scots, a variant of joy. Jo occurs in many noted Scots authors, including Robert Burns’s “John Anderson my jo!,” Sir Walter Scott, and Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Just twa o’ my old joes, my hinny dear” (“Just two of my old sweethearts, my honey dear”). Jo entered English in the first half of the 16th century.
… her ne’er-do-well jo had provided her with a rope-ladder during the forenoon service, by which she had descended into his arms when she believed the house to be all at rest …
John Anderson, my jo!
excessively decorative and sentimental, as the pictures or designs on some boxes of chocolate candy; prettified: decorous, chocolate-box paintings of Victorian garden parties.
The compound noun chocolate box dates from around 1865 and has the literal meaning “a package, box, or tin filled with chocolates.” Such packages or boxes are typically decorated in a showy, gaudy, sentimental style. By the end of the 19th century, the compound noun acquired the function of an attributive adjective, hyphenated as chocolate-box, meaning “excessively decorative and sentimental.”
It works best when everyone stops worrying about conjuring a chocolate-box version of the past and allows the duo’s raw talent to shine through.
But if it’s verdant folds, chocolate-box villages and a taste of eternal England that you want, try East Kent ….
the quality that makes a thing what it is; the essential nature of a thing.
Quiddity, with its conflicting senses, “the essential nature of a thing” and “a trifling nicety of subtle distinction,” ultimately comes from the Medieval Latin noun quidditās (stem quidditāt-), literally “whatness,” formed from the Latin interrogative pronoun quid “what” and the abstract noun suffix –itās, the source via Old French –ité of the English suffix –ity. Quiddity entered English at the end of the 14th century.
… that gift for creating idioms may be a clue to the quiddity of his genius.
If, argues he, we could only find out exactly what humour is ‘in its quiddity,’ we could keep ourselves humorous, or at any rate bring up our children to be so.
verb (used without object)
to shrink; flinch; quail: an unsteady eye that blenched under another's gaze.
The history of the verb blench is complicated. The uncommon Old English verb blencan “to cheat, deceive” is the direct source of Middle English blenchen, blenken, blinchen, blinken “to move suddenly, dodge, avoid, mislead, deceive.” The various Middle English forms yield both English blench “to shrink, flinch” and blink “to wink the eyes, be startled.”
But art historians should not blench at the sight of dreadful paintings, any more than doctors should blench at the sight of blood.
… the actor blenches as he reads the instruction ….