Word of the Day

Friday, November 30, 2018

modish

[ moh-dish ]

adjective

in the current fashion; stylish.

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What is the origin of modish?

The adjective modish is formed from the noun mode “fashion, current fashion” and the suffix -ish. Modish, very common in the 17th and 18th centuries, entered English in the 17th century.

how is modish used?

It’s a work both modish and antique, apparently postmodern in emphasis but fed by the exploratory energies of the Renaissance.

James Wood, "'Flights,' A Novel That Never Settles Down," The New Yorker, October 1, 2018

Describing hairstyles is not my forte, I lack the vocabulary, but there was something of the fifties film star to it, what my mother would call ‘a do’, yet it was modish and contemporary too.

David Nicholls, Us, 2014
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Thursday, November 29, 2018

keek

[ keek ]

verb

Scot. and North England. to peep; look furtively.

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What is the origin of keek?

Keek “to peep” is a verb used in Scotland and northern England. It does not occur in Old English but is related to, if not derived from, Middle Dutch and Middle Low German kīken “to look.” Keek dates from the late 14th century, first appearing in The Canterbury Tales.

how is keek used?

I will be near by him, and when he keeks round to spy ye, I will bring him such a clout as will gar him keep his eyes private for ever.

Alfred Ollivant, "Danny," Everybody's Magazine, Volume 6, January to June, 1902

And at that he keeks out o’ the wee back window, plainly fearing that old Hornie himself was on the tracks o’ him.

Michael Innes, From London Far, 1946
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

atelier

[ at-l-yey, at-l-yey ]

noun

a workshop or studio, especially of an artist, artisan, or designer.

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What is the origin of atelier?

The English noun atelier, not quite naturalized, comes from French atelier “workshop,” from Old French astelier “pile of wood chips, workshop, carpenter’s workshop,” a derivative of Old French astele “chip,” which comes from Late Latin astella “splinter,” a variant of astula, assula “splinter, chip,” diminutives of Latin assis, axis “plank, board.” Atelier entered English in the 19th century.

how is atelier used?

Upon his arrival she began by introducing him to her atelier and making a sketch of him.

Kate Chopin, The Awakening, 1899

The secret atelier is the pezzo forte of the place, a beautifully cluttered warren of objects, art pieces and ephemera.

Chiara Barzini, "The Secret Atelier Behind a Roman Boutique," New York Times Style Magazine, May 16, 2018
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

tsuris

[ tsoor-is, tsur- ]

noun

Slang. trouble; woe.

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What is the origin of tsuris?

Tsuris is from Yiddish tsures, tsores. This, in turn came from Hebrew ṣarā, plural ṣarōth meaning “troubles.” Tsuris entered English in the 1970s.

how is tsuris used?

Graham, I want Jack’s work in the show, don’t give me any tsuris on this.

Marc Olden, Wellington's, 1977

Initially, the series only broadly winked at the reasons for Jack’s slow-burning tsuris.

Manohla Dargis, "Patriarch Faces Future: Who to Lead Nutty Clan When He Is Gone?" New York Times, December 21, 2010
Monday, November 26, 2018

misinformation

[ mis-in-fer-mey-shuhn ]

noun

false information that is spread, regardless of whether there is intent to mislead: In the chaotic hours after the earthquake, a lot of misinformation was reported in the news.

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What is the origin of misinformation?

Misinformation simply means wrong or false information; it does not necessarily imply deception or lying. Indeed, it is often difficult to determine from the context whether the misinformation is simply a mistake or a deliberate lie. Misinformation is a compound formed from the Germanic prefix mis– (also miss-) “wrong, bad.” (Mis– does not occur in Latin or Greek: in Latin misinformation would be something like mala nuntiātiō; the Greek would be kakḕ angelía.) Information comes ultimately from Late Latin informātiō (stem informātiōn-), one of whose meanings is “instruction, teaching.” Disinformation on the other hand, is deliberately false and meant to deceive. English disinformation is a calque, a loan translation of Russian dezinformátsiya, which is based on the French verb désinform(er) “to misinform.” Misinformation entered English in the 16th century (disinformation entered English in the mid-20th century).

how is misinformation used?

Facebook and other social platforms have been fighting online misinformation and hate speech for two years.

Barbara Ortutay, AP News, November 3, 2018

We’ve got Pinkerton so full of misinformation now that he truly thinks General Lee has a million men under arms, and that we’re fixing to kidnap Lincoln.

Gore Vidal, Lincoln, 1984
Sunday, November 25, 2018

serry

[ ser-ee ]

verb

Archaic. to crowd closely together.

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What is the origin of serry?

The uncommon verb serry has always had a military sense “to press close together in ranks.” Serry comes from French serré, the past participle of serrer “to press together, crowd.” French serrer comes from Italian serrare “to close ranks,” from Vulgar Latin serrāre, from Latin serāre, “to lock, bolt.” Serry entered English in the 16th century.

how is serry used?

Serry your ranks, there,” said the Major amiably as they edged past.

Edmund Crispin, The Glimpses of the Moon, 1977

Fish laid to serry like roofing tiles, glinting in their own oils.

Gregory Maguire, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, 1999
Saturday, November 24, 2018

waggish

[ wag-ish ]

adjective

roguish in merriment and good humor; jocular; like a wag: Fielding and Sterne are waggish writers.

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What is the origin of waggish?

The origin of waggish is uncertain. It was first recorded in 1580–90.

how is waggish used?

He was always ready for either a fight or a frolic; but had more mischief than ill will in his composition, and, with all his overbearing roughness, there was a strong dash of waggish good humor at the bottom.

Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, 1820

They had recognized the goodness of his heart, the charm of his glance, his waggish temperament.

Fred Chappell, Look Back All the Green Valley, 1999

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