Word of the Day

Sunday, February 25, 2018

mores

[ mawr-eyz, -eez, mohr- ]

plural noun

Sociology. folkways of central importance accepted without question and embodying the fundamental moral views of a group.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of mores?

The Latin noun mōrēs is the plural of mōs “custom, habit, usage, wont.” The Latin noun, whether singular or plural, has a wider range of usage than English mores has. Mōs may be good, bad, or indifferent: in Cicero’s usage the phrase mōs mājōrum “custom of our ancestors” is roughly equivalent to “constitution”; mōs sinister means “perverted custom,” literally “left-handed”; and Horace used to walk along the Via Sacra as was his habit (mōs). Mores entered English in the late 19th century.

how is mores used?

… as Lincoln now feared, with the passing of this noble generation, “if the laws be continually despised and disregarded, if their rights to be secure in their persons and property, are held by no better tenure than the caprice of a mob, the alienation of their affections from the Government is the natural consequence.” To fortify against this, Lincoln essentially proposed that the national mores of America—taught in every classroom, preached in every church, proclaimed in every legislative hall—must revolve around “reverence” to the laws …

David Bahr, "Abraham Lincoln's Political Menagerie," Forbes, June 29, 2017

… the artist has always considered himself beyond the mores of the community in which he lived.

Philip Roth, The Ghost Writer, 1979
quiz icon
WHAT'S YOUR WORD IQ?
Think you're a word wizard? Try our word quiz, and prove it!
TAKE THE QUIZ
arrows pointing up and down
SYNONYM OF THE DAY
Double your word knowledge with the Synonym of the Day!
SEE TODAY'S SYNONYM

Get A Vocabulary Boost In Your Inbox

Get the Word of the Day every day!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Saturday, February 24, 2018

tutti

[ too-tee ]

adjective

Music. all; all the voices or instruments together.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of tutti?

The Italian word tutti means “all,” i.e., all the instruments or voices of an orchestra together. Tutti is the masculine plural of tutto “all,” from Vulgar Latin tottus (unattested), from Latin tōtus. Tutti entered English in the 18th century.

how is tutti used?

He used to say that music could be either about almost nothing, one tiny strand of sound plucked like a silver hair from the head of the Muse, or about everything there was, all of it, tutti tutti, life, marriage, otherworlds, earthquakes, uncertainties, warnings, rebukes, journeys, dreams, love, the whole ball of wax, the full nine yards, the whole catastrophe.

Salman Rushdie, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, 1999

You will hear the very obvious difference in volume between the tutti notes and the immediately following music, which is still forte but is played by fewer instruments.

Robert Nelson, Carl J. Christensen, Foundations of Music, 2006
Friday, February 23, 2018

Rasputin

[ ra-spyoo-tin, -tn ]

noun

any person who exercises great but insidious influence.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of Rasputin?

Grigori Efimovich Rasputin (c1871-1916) was a Russian peasant and self-proclaimed mystic and holy man (he had no official position in the Russian Orthodox Church). By 1904 Rasputin was popular among the high society of St. Petersburg, and in 1906 he became the healer of Alexei Nikolaevich Romanov, heir to the Russian throne and the hemophiliac son of Czar Nicholas II and his wife, Czarina Alexandra Feodorovna (a granddaughter of Queen Victoria and a carrier of hemophilia). In December 1916 Rasputin was murdered by Russian noblemen because of his influence over Czar Nicholas and the czarina.

how is Rasputin used?

… the dynamics of the situation do not permit him to be a Rasputin, whispering in Nixon’s ear.

David Nevin, "Autocrat in the Action Arena," Life, September 5, 1969

Others have described Isaacs as “a Rasputin or Svengali-like character in Kerner’s life who exploited his undue influence over the governor and led him astray.”

Cynthia Grant Bowman, Dawn Clark Netsch: A Political Life, 2010

Get A Vocabulary Boost In Your Inbox

Get the Word of the Day every day!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.