Word of the Day

Friday, April 20, 2018

neatnik

[ neet-nik ]

noun

Slang. a person who is extremely neat about surroundings, appearance, etc.

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What is the origin of neatnik?

Neatnik was formed in opposition to the supposedly scruffy, unshaven beatnik (coined in 1958). The suffix -nik, still unnaturalized in English, is of immediate Yiddish origin, from Slavic (Russian, Ukrainian). English peacenik, also derogatory, dates from 1962. Neatnik entered English in 1959.

how is neatnik used?

This yard scrubbing leaves the neatnik poised and ready to intercept the very first leaf to yield to gravity.

Adrian Higgins, "Americans love mulch--and many of us are misusing it," Washington Post, September 13, 2017

I could almost identify by type the managers who had come and gone in the thirty years the building had been occupied. One was a neatnik, who’d filed all the paperwork in matching banker’s boxes.

Sue Grafton, T Is for Trespass, 2007
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Thursday, April 19, 2018

booklore

[ book-lawr ]

noun

facts and information about books, especially about authors and circumstances of publication.

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What is the origin of booklore?

One of the current meanings of booklore, “facts about books, their authors and publication,” applies mostly to the business of buying, trading, and selling books, especially of first editions and antiquarian books. The other meaning of booklore is as a much less common synonym of book learning. Wulfstan of York (died 1023), Archbishop of York and homilist (a writer or speaker of sermons, usually on Biblical or religious subjects) is the first writer to use booklore. Not surprisingly Wulfstan uses bóclár in the sense “book learning, especially religious book learning.” Booklore entered English in the early 11th century.

how is booklore used?

Besides reviving interest in booklore generally and bringing about the secularization of many of the great libraries, the influence of Humanism and of the Reformation also resulted in demands that libraries be opened to the public.

H. H. Bockwitz, "Books--In Spite of Fire and Sword," The Rotarian, December 1936

Scattered among the review excerpts of a gallaxy [sic] of its titles are some fascinating bits and pieces of book lore. Do you know the origin of the words book, volume and tome? Who now is the most widely translated author?

Al, "Bookwatch," New Scientist, May 1, 1975
Wednesday, April 18, 2018

omnishambles

[ om-nuh-sham-buh lz ]

noun

Chiefly British Informal. a situation, especially in politics, in which poor judgment results in disorder or chaos with potentially disastrous consequences.

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What is the origin of omnishambles?

The first element of omnishambles, omni- “all,” is familiar in English in omnibus, omnipotent, omnivorous, and omniscient, derived from the Latin adjective omnis “all.” Shambles has a gorier history. In the 9th century the Old English noun scomol (spelled variously) simply meant “stool, footstool,” derived from Latin scamellum, scamillum “low stool.” By the 10th century the noun also meant “a counter or table for conducting business”; by the 14th century the word acquired the sense “table or counter for selling meat.” During the 16th century shambles came to mean “slaughterhouse; place of wholesale carnage.” Shambles in the sense “a mess, a ruin, scene of disorder” was originally an Americanism, first occurring in print in 1926.

how is omnishambles used?

The Budget, dubbed an ‘omnishambles‘ by critics, marked the government’s mid-term low point which even the triumph of the London Olympics was unable to dispel.

Michael Burton, The Politics of Austerity, 2016

Iannucci calls these characters “well-meaning but damaged individuals” and by putting them into situations of omnishambles where everything is deeply at stake, he makes a stronger satire of Washington and more entertaining television.

Marc Edward Shaw, "Veep's poetics of omnishambles," Politics and Politicians in Contemporary US Television, 2017

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