Word of the Day

Word of the day

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

muliebrity

[ myoo-lee-eb-ri-tee ]

noun

womanly nature or qualities.

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What is the origin of muliebrity?

Muliebrity “womanly nature or qualities” derives from Late Latin muliēbritās “womanhood,” from mulier “woman.” Mulier is of uncertain origin, though the most common theory connects the noun to the comparative adjective mollior “softer,” from mollis “soft, calm, gentle,” the source of the English verb mollify “to soften in feeling or temper.” Mulier was one of four primary Latin words that evolved into the terms for “woman,” “lady,” or “wife” in modern Romance languages; while mulier became Portuguese mulher and Spanish mujer, Latin fēmina “woman” became French femme and Spanish hembra, Latin domina “lady, mistress (of a household)” became French dame and Spanish doña, and Latin senior “older” became Portuguese senhora and Spanish señora. Muliebrity was first recorded in English in the late 1500s.

how is muliebrity used?

She is so much a woman that I forget there are tomorrows. She is a poem, an epic of muliebrity, in those satin slippers and light gowns, and rustling dresses, and with jewels in her ears ….. And when she wears them, I can’t think at all.

Audrey Borenstein, “The Natural History of a Friendship,” Evanescence, 2010

Unlike, say, Harry Styles or Billy Porter, both of whom have been known to flaunt gender ambivalence in their style choices, Bryan offers something more… suburban: machismo up top and muliebrity from the waist down.

Evan Ross Katz, "Can You Walk a Mile in Mark Bryan’s Louboutins?" Interview, March 2, 2021

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Word of the day

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

serotinal

[ si-rot-n-l, ser-uh-tahyn-l ]

adjective

pertaining to or occurring in late summer.

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What is the origin of serotinal?

Serotinal “pertaining to or occurring in late summer” describes the midpoint that neither estival “pertaining or appropriate to summer” nor autumnal “belonging to or suggestive of autumn” can completely cover. The term derives from the Latin adverb sērō “late,” from the adjective sērus “late, slow, tardy.” Sērō and the feminine form of sērus, sēra, later became the sources of the word for “evening” in many Romance languages, such as French soir, Italian sera, and Portuguese serão. Serotinal was first recorded in English in the late 1890s.

how is serotinal used?

Here in North America, the serotinal season is that marvelous time, in early September, when the monarch butterflies start to migrate, the lakes are still warm enough for swimming, and the resorts are empty. As Helen Hunt Jackson writes in her poem “September,” “By all these lovely tokens / September days are here, / With summer’s best of weather / And autumn’s best of cheer.”

Christopher Dewdney, 18 Miles: The Epic Drama of Our Atmosphere and Its Weather, 2018

Released this past summer, Beyond Eyes is an utterly gorgeous game that captures the very earliest stages of fall in a way few games even attempt, blending serotinal greens with the slow incursion of rusty reds. It’s still a rather summery-looking game, but depending on where you live in the world it may be a pretty darn accurate representation of your own experiences with fall.

Janine Hawkins, "10 Autumn Games For Your Virtual Leaf Peeping," Paste, October 5, 2015

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Word of the day

Monday, September 20, 2021

iridescent

[ ir-i-des-uhnt ]

adjective

displaying a play of lustrous colors like those of the rainbow.

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What is the origin of iridescent?

Iridescent “displaying a play of lustrous colors like those of the rainbow” is a combination of the Ancient Greek word îris (stem irid-) “rainbow” and the Latin inceptive infix -sc- “the process of becoming.” In Greek mythology, Iris was the goddess of rainbows and sometimes functioned as the messenger of the gods, serving as a link between the heavens and the mortal realm, similar to the rainbow bridge Bifrost in Norse mythology. Îris is often considered to derive from the Proto-Indo-European root wei- “to turn, twist,” which is also found in wire (from Old English) and Latin vītis “vine,” but other linguists have proposed a pre-Greek origin. Iridescent was first recorded in English in the 1790s.

how is iridescent used?

A halo of multicolored mist floats over an ominous storm. At first glance it looks like an angelic mural or even extraterrestrial activity. But this breathtaking photo is neither manipulated nor paranormal. It’s an iridescent cloud, a phenomenon occurring right in our own atmosphere.

Lara Sorokanich, “A Rare Look at an Iridescent Cloud,” National Geographic, July 18, 2013

The sun had just gone down outside a soundstage 40 miles north of Los Angeles when a shimmering celestial being appeared. With blond tendrils, iridescent lips, and an hourglass figure, she radiated power, wisdom, and kindness—Oprah Winfrey, in a dress covered with lights.

Rebecca Keegan, "Celestial Navigation," Vanity Fair, March 2018

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