Word of the Day

Friday, December 14, 2018

luculent

[ loo-kyoo-luhnt ]

adjective

convincing; cogent.

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What is the origin of luculent?

English luculent comes straight from the Latin adjective lūculentus, a derivative of lux (stem lūc-) “light,” from a very widespread Proto-Indo-European root leuk-, louk-, luk- “light, bright.” (The suffixed form leuktom becomes leuhtan in Germanic, lēoht in Old English, and light in English.) Latin lūculentus and English luculent are not much used in their literal senses but have a metaphorical sense like splendid and the colloquial British brilliant. Luculent entered English in the 15th century.

how is luculent used?

The thundering acclamations, which greeted the close of that luculent and powerful exposition, the zeal with which the concourse hailed him unanimously Savior of Rome and Father of his country …

Henry William Herbert, The Roman Traitor, 1846

… now he would favour us with a grace … expatiating on this text with so luculent a commentary, that Scott, who had been fumbling with his spoon long before he reached his Amen, could not help exclaiming as he sat down, ‘Well done, Mr. George!”

John Gibson Lockhart, The Life of Sir Walter Scott, 1837–1838
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Thursday, December 13, 2018

nummary

[ nuhm-uh-ree ]

adjective

of or relating to coins or money.

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What is the origin of nummary?

The adjective nummary comes straight from Latin nummārius “pertaining to coins or money,” a derivative of nummus (also nūmus), the name of several silver or gold coins. The Latin nouns come from noûmmos “current coin” in a western Doric Greek dialect spoken in southern Italy and Sicily and equivalent to Greek nómos “law, custom, something in customary or habitual use.” Nummary entered English in the early 17th century.

how is nummary used?

… Re-coinages, which had the same Effect in depreciating nummary Denominations in France, that frequent and large Emissions of Paper-Money have in our Colonies …

William Douglass, "A Discourse Concerning the Currencies of the British Plantations in America," 1740

His capital does not have a numerical or nummary value, but it nonetheless has a value, if only in the sustenance he gets out of putting it to productive use.

Manu Saadia, Trekonomics, 2016
Wednesday, December 12, 2018

lardy-dardy

[ lahr-dee-dahr-dee ]

adjective

Chiefly British Slang. characterized by excessive elegance.

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What is the origin of lardy-dardy?

Pity that one doesn’t see as many lardy-dardy types as formerly—affected swells, languid fops, chichi dandies lounging about music halls and theaters. Lardy-dardy entered English in the 1850s, at the height of the Victorian era. It is often said to be the British aristos’ non-rhotic (“r-less”) Received Pronunciation of la-di-da—a nice story except that lardy-dardy predates la-di-da by nearly 20 years.

how is lardy-dardy used?

“Good afternoon!” — in rather lardy-dardy, middle-class English. “I wonder if I may see your things in your studio.”

D. H. Lawrence, The Captain's Doll, 1923

It was exaggerated flattery he always felt provoked and disgusted with. Such absurd palaver, and lardy-dardy talk as that of his grand mover and seconder.

F. A. J., "Greaswick for Coalheavers': or, The Alderman's Election" The Amateur's Magazine, 1859

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