• Word of the day
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    Monday, May 14, 2018

    lollapalooza

    noun [lol-uh-puh-loo-zuh]
    Slang. an extraordinary or unusual thing, person, or event; an exceptional example or instance.
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    What is the origin of lollapalooza?

    Lollapalooza is an American word of unknown but fanciful origin, used by comic writers and humorists such as S.J. Perelman (1904-79) and P.G. Wodehouse (1881-1975). Lollapalooza entered English in the early 20th century.

    How is lollapalooza used?

    Miss Jeynes, that dance was a real lollapalooza. Suzanne North, Flying Time, 2014

    There will be a storm this evening, bet on it. It will be a lollapalooza. Roger Rosenblatt, Lapham Rising, 2006

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  • Word of the day
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    Sunday, May 13, 2018

    minnie

    noun [min-ee]
    Scot. and North England Informal. mother; mom.
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    What is the origin of minnie?

    The noun minnie is probably baby talk for northern English and Scottish mither “mother” or for mummy (mommy). Minnie is used in northern England and Scotland to mean “(one’s) mother.” Minnie entered English in the 17th century.

    How is minnie used?

    Whare are you gaun, my bonnie lass, Whare are you gaun, my hinnie? She answered me right saucilie, "An errand for my minnie." Robert Burns, "A Waukrife Minnie," 1789

    ... come and wake my minnie to me, for I canna ... S. R. Crockett, Deep Moat Grange, 1908

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  • Word of the day
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    Saturday, May 12, 2018

    truthiness

    noun [troo-thee-nis]
    the quality of seeming to be true according to one's intuition, opinion, or perception without regard to logic, factual evidence, or the like: the growing trend of truthiness as opposed to truth.
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    What is the origin of truthiness?

    Truthiness in the 19th century meant “truthfulness, veracity”; this sense is rare nowadays. Its current sense, “the quality of seeming to be true according to one's opinion without regard to fact,” was invented by the comedian Stephen Colbert in 2005.

    How is truthiness used?

    Truthiness is "truth that comes from the gut, not books," Colbert said in 2005. Katy Waldman, "The Science of Truthiness," Slate, September 3, 2014

    A Rovian political strategy by definition means all slime, all the time. But the more crucial Rove game plan is to envelop the entire presidential race in a thick fog of truthiness. Frank Rich, "Truthiness Stages a Comeback," New York Times, September 20, 2008

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  • Word of the day
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    Friday, May 11, 2018

    cordillera

    noun [kawr-dl-yair-uh, -air-uh, kawr-dil-er-uh]
    a chain of mountains, usually the principal mountain system or mountain axis of a large landmass.
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    What is the origin of cordillera?

    The English noun cordillera is a borrowing of Spanish cordillera “chain or ridge of mountains.” The Spanish noun is a diminutive of cuerda “rope, string,” from Latin chorda “chord, cord, intestine (as food)” itself a borrowing of Greek chordḗ “guts, sausage, string (of rope or of a lyre).” Cordillera originally applied to the Andes Mountains and later to the same mountain chain in Central America and Mexico. Cordillera entered English in the early 18th century.

    How is cordillera used?

    In the Western Hemisphere, the term Cordillera was first applied to the Cordillera de los Andes or Andes Mountains, which form a compact and continuous bundle of ranges along the western side of South America. Philip Burke King, Evolution of North America, 1959

    The dawn breaks high behind the towering and serrated wall of the Cordillera, a clear-cut vision of dark peaks rearing their steep slopes on a lofty pedestal of forest rising from the very edge of the shore. Joseph Conrad, Nostromo, 1904

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  • Word of the day
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    Thursday, May 10, 2018

    hypocorism

    noun [hahy-pok-uh-riz-uhm, hi-]
    a pet name.
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    What is the origin of hypocorism?

    The very rare English noun hypocorism comes from the equally rare Latin noun hypocorisma “a diminutive (word),” a direct borrowing of Greek hypokórisma “pet name, endearing name; diminutive (word),” a derivative of the verb hypokorízesthai “to play the child, call by an endearing name.” Hypokorízesthai is a compound formed from the prefix hypo-, here meaning “slightly, somewhat,” and korízesthai “to caress, fondle.” The root of korízesthai is the noun kórē “girl, maiden” or kóros “boy, youth.” The Greek nouns are from the same Proto-Indo-European root ker- “to grow” as the Latin Ceres, the goddess of agriculture, and its derivative adjective cereālis “pertaining to Ceres,” the source of English cereal. Hypocorism entered English in the 19th century.

    How is hypocorism used?

    Powsoddy, a now obsolete name for a pudding, was also used as a hypocorism in the late sixteenth century, paralleling the affectionate use of the word pudding itself in our own century, though lovers usually alter the pronunciation to puddin. Mark Morton, The Lover's Tongue, 2003

    The addition of diminutive or familiar prefixes and suffixes to the name of a saint to produce a 'pet name' or hypocorism, is common in the Celtic areas ... Karen Jankulak, The Medieval Cult of St Petroc, 2000

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  • Word of the day
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    Wednesday, May 09, 2018

    suborn

    verb [suh-bawrn]
    to bribe or induce (someone) unlawfully or secretly to perform some misdeed or to commit a crime.
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    What is the origin of suborn?

    The Latin verb subornāre, the ultimate source of English suborn, is composed of the prefix sub- “under, subordinate, near to, partially, secretly” and the verb ornāre “to prepare, equip, arrange.” Ornāre is from an assumed ordnāre, a derivative of the noun ordō (stem ordin-) “line, row, rank, grade.” Subornāre has several meanings: when the sense of the verb ornāre predominates, the compound means “to supply, furnish; to dress up (in costume or disguise); when the sense of the prefix sub-, meaning “secretly, covertly,” predominates, the compound means “to instigate secretly or underhandedly, prepare clandestinely.” An extension of this last sense, “to induce someone to commit a crime or perjury,” from suborner in Old and Middle French, is its current sense in English. Suborn entered English in the 16th century.

    How is suborn used?

    ... he had been concerned “because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals.” Elizabeth Olson, "Former C.I.A. Chief John Brennan to Become a Fellow at Fordham," New York Times, September 4, 2017

    ... I had been brought in as a spy, to help in betraying him, and Joyce had suborned him to the act of treachery. Bram Stoker, The Snake's Pass, 1890

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  • Word of the day
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    Tuesday, May 08, 2018

    infomania

    noun [in-fuh-mey-nee-uh, -foh-]
    Digital Technology. a. an obsessive need to constantly check emails, social media websites, online news, etc.: The fear of being out of the loop, not in the know, fuels infomania, especially among teens. b. the effects of this obsession, especially a decline in the ability to concentrate: She attributes her increasingly poor “life management skills” to infomania.
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    What is the origin of infomania?

    Infomania is a modern combination of information and mania. It entered English in the 1970s.

    How is infomania used?

    The Bagus Gran Cyber Cafés are Tokyo's grand temples of infomania. ... At first glance the spread looks officelike, but be warned: these places are drug dens for Internet addicts. Virginia Heffernan, "In Tokyo, the New Trend Is 'Media Immersion Pods'," New York Times, May 14, 2006

    Since then, he has led the charge at Intel to deal with "infomania," which he describes as a debilitating state of mental overload--caused by backlogs of e-mail, plus interruptions such as e-mail notifications, cell phones and instant messages. Stephanie Overby, "A Cure for Infomania," CIO, July 1, 2007

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