• Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Monday, March 11, 2019

    myopic

    adjective [mahy-op-ik, -oh-pik]
    unable or unwilling to act prudently; shortsighted.
    See Full Definition

    Get to know dictionary.com

    Sign up for our Newsletter!
    Start your day with weird words, fun quizzes, and language stories.
    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

    What is the origin of myopic?

    Myopic ultimately comes from the Greek noun myōpía “nearsightedness,” which in Greek has no extended or metaphorical meaning. (The suffix -ic is English, not Greek, i.e., there is no Greek adjective myōpikós.) Myōpía is a compound formed of the verb mýein “to close the eyes or mouth,” which is close kin to the Latin mūtus “inarticulate, dumb, silent” (English mute). The same mýein appears in the noun mystḗrion “secret, secret rite” (English mystery) and its adjective mystikós “connected with the mysteries” (English mystic). The second element of myopia, -ōpía, is a combining form of ṓps (stem ōp-) “eye, face, countenance." Myopic in its original sense entered English at the end of the 18th century; the sense “unable or unwilling to act prudently” developed in English at the end of the 19th century.

    How is myopic used?

    The belief that simply running a data set will solve for every challenge and every bias is problematic and myopic. Yael Eisenstat, "The Real Reason Tech Struggles With Algorithmic Bias," Wired, February 12, 2019

    Science provides us with a new perspective on our place in the cosmos and a better understanding of ourselves as human beings. It helps us overcome our otherwise myopic preconceptions about how the world works. Lawrence M. Krauss, "What Is Science Good For?" The New Yorker, April 21, 2017

    Get to know dictionary.com

    Sign up for our Newsletter!
    Start your day with weird words, fun quizzes, and language stories.
    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Sunday, March 10, 2019

    temporize

    verb [tem-puh-rahyz]
    to be indecisive or evasive to gain time or delay acting.
    See Full Definition

    What is the origin of temporize?

    The current, somewhat negative, meaning of temporize, “to be indecisive or evasive to gain time or delay acting,” is a relatively modern development of Middle French temporiser “to pass the time, await one’s time,” from Medieval Latin temporizāre “to delay,” equivalent to Medieval Latin temporāre “to delay, put off the time.” All of the medieval words are derivatives of Latin tempor-, the inflectional stem of tempus “time,” which has no certain etymology. Temporize entered English in the 16th century.

    How is temporize used?

    I'll temporise till we are all dead and buried. Charles Reade, A Perilous Secret, 1884

    He is as likely as any man I know to temporize—to calculate what will be likely to promote his own reputation and advantage ... Alexander Hamilton to James A. Bayard, January 16, 1801, in Letters of Alexander Hamilton, Volume 25, 1977

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Saturday, March 09, 2019

    eyewinker

    noun [ahy-wing-ker]
    an eyelash.
    See Full Definition

    What is the origin of eyewinker?

    Eyewinker is a very rare noun, originally Scottish and now mostly an American regionalism. Eye needs no explanation; winker has several meanings: "eyelash, eyelid, eye, something that gets in the eye and makes one blink." Eyewinker entered English in the early 19th century.

    How is eyewinker used?

    "Last nightat dinner"Mrs. Appel eyed him accusingly"I foundan eyewinkerin the hard sauce." Caroline Lockhart,  The Dude Wrangler, 1921

    Not even an eyewinker was left to her. Stewart Edward White, Gold, 1913

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Friday, March 08, 2019

    regina

    noun [ri-jahy-nuh, -jee-]
    queen.
    See Full Definition

    What is the origin of regina?

    The Latin noun rēgīna “queen” is obviously related to the Latin noun rēx (inflectional stem rēg-) “king,” but how rēgīna is derived from rēx is tricky. There is also a deceptive resemblance between rēx and rēgīna and Sanskrit rā́jan- “rajah, king” and rā́jñī- “queen, ranee” (rēgīna and rā́jñī- are not directly related). There is a definite connection, however, between Latin rēx (rēg-), rēgīna and the Celtic words for king, e.g., Old Irish (from rīks), and its stem ríg (from rīg-os). Rígain, the Old Irish word for queen, is cognate with rēgīna. Regina dates from Old English times.

    How is regina used?

    He represented the rule of law, and in Miromara the law bowed to no one, not even the regina herself. Jennifer Donnelly,  Sea Spell, 2016

    "Mother of heaven, regina of the clouds ... ." Wallace Stevens, "Le Monocle de Mon Oncle,"  Others, 1918

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Thursday, March 07, 2019

    Heiligenschein

    noun [hahy-li-guhn-shahyn] German.
    a ring of light around the shadow cast by a person's head, especially on a dewy, sunlit lawn, caused by reflection and diffraction of light rays; halo.
    See Full Definition

    What is the origin of Heiligenschein?

    Heiligenschein in German means “halo (around a saint’s head), nimbus, aureole,” literally, “saint's shining, saint’s light.” The optical effect is also called Cellini’s halo, after the Italian artist and writer Benevenuto Cellini (1500-71) who first described the phenomenon. Heiligenschein entered English in the 20th century.

    How is Heiligenschein used?

    The dark figure outlined on the mountain mist may have had a glory around its head, or at least a Heiligenschein, and seemed like ghost to the mountaineer who saw it. Elizabeth A. Wood,  Science from Your Airplane Window, 1968

    You may sometimes have noticed a faint sheen, or increased brightness, around the shadow of your head when this falls on a grass lawn, particularly when the Sun is low, and you cast a long shadow. This sheen is known as a heiligenschein, a German word meaning 'holy glow.' John Naylor,  Out of the Blue: A 24-hour Skywatcher's Guide, 2002

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Wednesday, March 06, 2019

    nice-nellyism

    noun [nahys-nel-ee-iz-uhm]
    a euphemism: an evasive style of writing, full of circumlocutions and nice-nellyisms.
    See Full Definition

    What is the origin of nice-nellyism?

    Nice-nellyism is an Americanism dating from the early 1930s. It is a contemptuous derivative of the contemptuous noun and adjective nice nelly (also nice Nelly) “prudish; prudish person,” which dates from the nearly 1920s.

    How is nice-nellyism used?

    This denial was at least partly a nice-Nellyism from the past, I think. Kurt Vonnegut, Slapstick; or, Lonesome No More!, 1976

    ... it had been one of the running jokes of the campus, an exercise in innuendo, misinformation and Victorian nice-nellyism. T. C. Boyle,  The Inner Circle, 2004

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Tuesday, March 05, 2019

    voluble

    adjective [vol-yuh-buhl]
    characterized by a ready and continuous flow of words; fluent; glib; talkative: a voluble spokesman for the cause.
    See Full Definition

    What is the origin of voluble?

    Voluble ultimately comes from the Latin adjective volūbilis “rolling, rotating, spinning (on an axis); (of speech or speakers) fluent.” Volūbilis is a derivative of the verb volvere “to roll, roll over, roll around, grovel; to bring around (seasons, events).” Compounds of volvere are common in Latin and English: ēvolvere “to unroll, open” (English evolve), dēvolvere “to roll down, roll off, sink back” (English devolve), involvere “to roll up, roll in” (English involve), and revolvere “to roll back (something to its source), unroll (a scroll for reading” (English revolve). Other Latin derivatives from the same root include volūmen “roll, papyrus roll” (English volume), volūta “scroll (on a column) (English volute),” vulva, volva “womb, vulva” (English vulva). Voluble entered English in the 16th century.

    How is voluble used?

    But Wolf Larsen seemed voluble, prone to speech as I had never seen him before. Jack London, The Sea-Wolf, 1904

    And he aged into a voluble and distinctive public character, a roguish charmer in a kufi, operating out of a packed storefront studio, tooling around Memphis in a plush old sedan. Christopher Bonanos, "The Civil Rights Movement Photographer Who Was Also an F.B.I. Informant," New York Times, January 18, 2019

    Previous Day Load More
Sign up for our Newsletter!
Start your day with weird words, fun quizzes, and language stories.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.