cloudy or foggy.
Nubilous “cloudy or foggy” derives from Latin nūbilus “cloudy, overcast,” equivalent to the noun nūbēs “cloud” and the adjectival suffix -ilus. Nūbēs is also, by way of French, the source of English nuance, which originally referred to literal shades and hues. As we learned from last year’s Word of the Day obnubilate, though nūbēs and Latin nebula sound similar and both mean “cloud,” the two words are unrelated; the stark difference between their vowels cannot be explained through regular historical sound changes. Though it is uncertain whether nūbēs has any cognates in English that are of Anglo-Saxon or general Germanic origin, there is a small “cloud”-related rabbit hole that we can explore: the Old Norse word for “cloud” is ský, which—you guessed it—was borrowed into English as sky. Nubilous was first recorded in English circa 1530.
I thought the tree was just…standing there. That is true enough in winter, when the oak is dormant. But the rest of the year, its plumbing surges with food and water, coursing up, down, and out, in a living, interactive connection to the earth, sky, and sun …. Its canopy is minutely nubilous with freshly made oxygen and drifting water vapor released from millions of pores in a mist so fine we cannot see or smell it.
The water swirled around him and he panicked, unable to tell up from down …. Is this what Florence had felt like, frightened and alone in a dark cocoon of briny water? Isaac felt something bump against his back. Was it the boat? A piece of driftwood? He tried to grasp it, couldn’t. But then he felt someone grab him from behind and realized Stuart had found him—miraculously—in the nubilous water.
the process of setting a stage, with regard to placement of actors, scenery, properties, etc.
Mise en scène “the process of setting a stage” is a borrowing of a French term with the same meaning that consists of three elements: mise “a putting, setting down,” en “in, on,” and scène “stage.” Mise is both a noun and past participle of the verb mettre “to place, put,” which derives from Latin mittere (perfect stem miss-) “to send,” the source of admit, permit, submit, and their respective noun forms (admission, permission, and submission). Scène derives by way of Latin scaena or scēna “background” from Ancient Greek skēnḗ “booth (where actors dressed).” Although skēnḗ is of uncertain origin, one theory is that it is related to Ancient Greek skiá “shadow,” which would make scène (and, therefore, English scene) a distant cognate of the recent Word of the Day sciamachy. Mise en scène was first recorded in English in the early 1830s.
No writer questions the veracity of everyone and everything as effectively as Agatha Christie does. Her typical mise en scene has the suspects gathered in a room while Poirot or, occasionally Marple, unpicks each person’s defence in turn, proving they are not what they seem and are infinitely capable of murder, regardless of whether they’ve actually killed or not.
Out of all the intoxicating phrases that emerge from the study of film, my personal favourite is mise-en-scène, … The phrase conjures up the splendour of the audio-visual palettes that help establish film worlds, whether they be brooding gothic horrors, deceptive melodramas, or the slick sheen of utopian space operas. If a film has worked its magic on you it will likely be through the delightful subtleties and provocations of its mise-en-scène.
a Japanese poem consisting of 31 syllables in 5 lines, with 5 syllables in the first and third lines and 7 in the others.
Waka “a Japanese poem consisting of 31 syllables in 5 lines” is, unsurprisingly, a borrowing from Japanese. In the Japanese language, waka is spelled with two kanji characters: the first, pronounced wa in this context, refers to Japan itself but also still preserves its original meaning of “harmony,” while the second character, pronounced ka in this context, means “song” or “to sing.” The elements wa and ka, like many Japanese words, are both adapted from Middle Chinese; for modern Chinese equivalents, compare Mandarin hé and gē as well as Cantonese wo and go. Though Japanese is a member of the Japonic language family, which also includes the many languages of the Ryukyu Islands, a substantial portion of Japanese vocabulary derives from Middle Chinese. Known as Sino-Japanese words, these terms constitute at least half of modern Japanese vocabulary, though estimates vary. Waka was first recorded in English in the late 1870s.
If ours were a world
where blossoming cherry trees
were not to be found,
what tranquillity would bless
The human heart in springtime!
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