Word of the Day

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

mythoclast

[ mith-uh-klast ]

noun

a destroyer or debunker of myths.

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What is the origin of mythoclast?

English mythoclast comes from two familiar Greek words. The Greek noun mŷthos has many meanings: “speech, word, public speech, unspoken word, matter, fact,” as in mythology, “a set of stories, traditions, or beliefs.” The Greek combining form -klastēs “breaker” is most familiar in iconoclast “one who breaks images or statues” (literally and figuratively). A mythoclast is one who breaks or destroys a myth or myths in general. Mythoclast entered English in the late 19th century.

how is mythoclast used?

Tommy Moore, a life-long friend, an insatiable consumer of history, and a fellow mythoclast by constitution, accompanied me to the field on several occasions, and read sections of the working manuscript.

Scott Stine, A Way Across the Mountain, 2015

… right now I reckon him a mythoclast, the sort of man you wouldn’t trust with the Glastonbury Thorn, the Devil’s Arrows at Boroughbridge, or Father Christmas.

John Hillaby, "What's under York Minster?" New Scientist, March 29, 1973
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Tuesday, April 03, 2018

anecdata

[ an-ik-dey-tuh, -dat-uh, -dah-tuh ]

noun

anecdotal evidence based on personal observations or opinions, random investigations, etc., but presented as fact: biased arguments supported by anecdata.

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What is the origin of anecdata?

Anecdata is a reworking of anecdotal data. Anecdotal comes from the Greek adjective anékdotos “unpublished,” formed from the negative prefix an-, a-, the preposition and prefix ex-, ek- “out of,” and the past participle dotós “given, granted.” Each of the three Greek elements corresponds in form, origin, and meaning to Latin inēditus “unpublished” (the negative prefix in-, the preposition and prefix ex-, ē-, and the past participle datus “given.” Data is the neuter plural of datus used as a noun, “things given.” Anecdata entered English in the late 20th century.

how is anecdata used?

Please. Stop letting yourself get carried away based on random anecdata from the Internet.

Julie Lawson Timmer, Five Days Left, 2014

Again, industry stats support the anecdata. Publishers are reporting declining ebook sales but growing audiobook revenues, with audio filling the digital revenue gap that ebooks left.

Antonio Garcia Martinez, "The Veni, Vidi, Vici of Voice," Wired, February 28, 2018
Monday, April 02, 2018

inscape

[ in-skeyp ]

noun

the unique essence or inner nature of a person, place, thing, or event, especially depicted in poetry or a work of art.

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What is the origin of inscape?

It is likely that the English poet and Jesuit priest Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-89) coined the noun inscape. The obsolete noun inshape (i.e., internal form or inward shape) was a probable model. Hopkins also coined sprung rhythm and instress (i.e., the force sustaining an inscape). Inscape entered English in 1868.

how is inscape used?

Spanish chestnuts: their inscape here bold, jutty, somewhat oaklike, attractive, the branching visible and the leaved peaks spotted so as to make crests of eyes.

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–1889), "Journal for 1868," The Collected Works of Gerard Manley Hopkins, 2015

What we wanted to do was to marry the meaning with the “inscape” of the poem.

Colum McCann, Author's note on "An Ode to Curling," The New Brick Reader, 2013

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