Word of the Day

Sunday, May 13, 2018

minnie

[ min-ee ]

noun

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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Saturday, May 12, 2018

truthiness

[ troo-thee-nis ]

noun

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
Friday, May 11, 2018

cordillera

[ kawr-dl-yair-uh, -air-uh, kawr-dil-er-uh ]

noun

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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