Word of the Day

Word of the day

Thursday, February 08, 2018

naissance

[ ney-suh ns ]

noun

a birth, an origination, or a growth, as that of a person, an organization, an idea, or a movement.

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What is the origin of naissance?

The English noun naissance comes from Middle French naissance, which is a derivative of the verb naître “to be born.” The French verb comes from the Vulgar Latin nāscere, a regular verb replacing the Latin deponent verb nāscī. Naissance entered English in the late 15th century. The sense of “new style, movement, or development (in the arts)” comes from a French usage of the 20th century.

how is naissance used?

If this was a period of Renaissance for Western Europe, was it not rather a Naissance for Russia?

Mary Platt Parmele, A Short History of Russia, 1899

Nina’s watchful eyes opened wider and wider as she witnessed in Eileen the naissance of an unconscious and delicate coquetry, quite unabashed, yet the more significant for that …

Robert W. Chambers, The Younger Set, 1907
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Word of the day

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

lenity

[ len-i-tee ]

noun

the quality or state of being mild or gentle, as toward others.

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What is the origin of lenity?

The English noun lenity is a borrowing of Old French lenité or Latin lēnitat-, the stem of lēnitās “softness, smoothness, gentleness,” a derivative of the adjective lēnis, from which English has lenient and lenition. Lenity entered English in the mid-16th century.

how is lenity used?

He confined the knowledge of governing within very narrow bounds, to common sense and reason, to justice and lenity, to the speedy determination of civil and criminal causes …

Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels, 1726

… I have relaxed, as I believe I may depend on her observing the rules I have laid down for their discourse. But do not imagine that with all this lenity I have for a moment given up my plan of her marriage …

Jane Austen, Lady Susan, 1871

Word of the day

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

cerebrate

[ ser-uh-breyt ]

verb

to use the mind; think or think about.

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What is the origin of cerebrate?

The verb cerebrate is a back formation from the noun cerebration, which is a derivative of the Latin noun cerebrum “brain, understanding.” Cerebrum is a derivative of a very widespread, very complicated Proto-Indo-European root ker- “uppermost part of the body, head, horn, nail (of the finger or toe).” This root has many variant forms and is related to the Latin noun crābro “hornet” (English hornet comes from the same root), Greek kár “head” and kéras “horn,” and German Hirn “brain.” Cerebrate entered English in the 19th century.

how is cerebrate used?

To think, then, is to cerebrate. To worry is to cerebrate intensely.

George Wharton James, Quit Your Worrying!, 1917

If you simply retire to your own room, shove your backside into an excessively sprung easy chair, and there grimly cerebrate, the chances are that you will eventually do no more than crawl into bed — to wake up six to eight hours later with an unsolved conundrum and a filthy headache.

Michael Innes, An Awkward Lie, 1971

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