Word of the Day

Monday, March 11, 2019

myopic

[ mahy-op-ik, -oh-pik ]

adjective

unable or unwilling to act prudently; shortsighted.

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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
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Sunday, March 10, 2019

temporize

[ tem-puh-rahyz ]

verb

to be indecisive or evasive to gain time or delay acting.

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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
Saturday, March 09, 2019

eyewinker

[ ahy-wing-ker ]

noun

an eyelash.

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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

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