Word of the Day

Word of the day

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

minimoon

[ min-ee-moon ]

noun

a short, usually inexpensive honeymoon, often followed by a longer honeymoon later on: They left the courthouse after the ceremony and had a weekend minimoon at The Plaza.

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What is the origin of minimoon?

Minimoon is an obvious blend of the combining form mini– and honeymoon. Minimoon entered English between 2005 and 2010.

how is minimoon used?

She always knew she would take a mini-moon followed by a second, more-elaborate trip because of the sheer effort involved in planning her 500-guest wedding.

Christina Valhouli, "A Little Getaway After the Big Event," New York Times, October 18, 2013

Bask in post-wedding bliss with a brief off-the-grid vacation that’s close to home, then follow it up a few months later with an epic, far-flung adventure that complements your minimoon experience.

Merritt Watts, "The New Way to Honeymoon," Vogue, October 5, 2015
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Word of the day

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

venal

[ veen-l ]

adjective

open to bribery; mercenary.

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What is the origin of venal?

The English adjective venal comes from Latin vēnālis “for sale, for hire, susceptible to or obtainable by bribery,” a derivative of vēnus “sale.” Vēnus comes from an unattested noun wesno-, a Latin derivation of wes– (a variant of the Proto-Indo-European root wes-, wos– “to buy, sell”) and the noun suffix –no. Wes– also appears in Hittite washti “thou buyest.” From the variant wos-, Greek (Attic) has the noun ōnḗ “purchase, purchase price” (Homeric Greek has ônos, Aeolic ónna), all from an unrecorded wosnā. Sanskrit vasná “purchase price, wage” may come from either wes– or wos-. Venal entered English in the 17th century.

how is venal used?

… the perfectly balanced tool in his hands that could be used for the bribing of venal politicians, with a limitless fund for the bribery ….

Katherine MacLean, The Man Who Staked the Stars, 1952

Four years after the street protests that ousted the notoriously venal President Viktor Yanukovych, corruption is the wound that won’t stop bleeding.

Daria Kaleniuk and Melinda Harin, "The spirit of reform lives on in Ukraine—but not because of the president," Washington Post, June 27, 2018

Word of the day

Monday, June 24, 2019

ex cathedra

[ eks kuh-thee-druh, kath-i-druh ]

adjective, adverb

from the seat of authority; with authority.

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What is the origin of ex cathedra?

The relatively uncommon English adjective and adverb ex cathedra “from the seat (of authority), with authority” comes directly from the Latin phrase ex cathedrā. Latin cathedra “armchair with cushions, easy chair (especially for women), a teacher’s or professor’s chair, a sedan chair” is a loanword from Greek kathédra “seat, sitting posture, teacher’s or professor’s chair, imperial throne.” From cathedra Medieval Latin derived the adjective cathedrālis “pertaining to the chair or throne (of a bishop)”; the bishop’s church, where his throne was located, was called a cathedral church and later just cathedral. Ex cathedra entered English in the 17th century.

how is ex cathedra used?

There’s no way to maintain an ex cathedra advantage when you’re cavorting in a circus ring.

Virginia Heffernan, "When TV tries out new media, everyone can be a star," New York Times, January 1, 2009

Pope John once said, “I am not infallible. I am infallible only when I speak ex cathedra. But I shall never speak ex cathedra.”

Kati Marton, "The Paradoxical Pope," The Atlantic Monthly, May 1980

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