Word of the Day

Thursday, December 13, 2018

nummary

[ nuhm-uh-ree ]

adjective

of or relating to coins or money.

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What is the origin of nummary?

The adjective nummary comes straight from Latin nummārius “pertaining to coins or money,” a derivative of nummus (also nūmus), the name of several silver or gold coins. The Latin nouns come from noûmmos “current coin” in a western Doric Greek dialect spoken in southern Italy and Sicily and equivalent to Greek nómos “law, custom, something in customary or habitual use.” Nummary entered English in the early 17th century.

how is nummary used?

… Re-coinages, which had the same Effect in depreciating nummary Denominations in France, that frequent and large Emissions of Paper-Money have in our Colonies …

William Douglass, "A Discourse Concerning the Currencies of the British Plantations in America," 1740

His capital does not have a numerical or nummary value, but it nonetheless has a value, if only in the sustenance he gets out of putting it to productive use.

Manu Saadia, Trekonomics, 2016
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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

lardy-dardy

[ lahr-dee-dahr-dee ]

adjective

Chiefly British Slang. characterized by excessive elegance.

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What is the origin of lardy-dardy?

Pity that one doesn’t see as many lardy-dardy types as formerly—affected swells, languid fops, chichi dandies lounging about music halls and theaters. Lardy-dardy entered English in the 1850s, at the height of the Victorian era. It is often said to be the British aristos’ non-rhotic (“r-less”) Received Pronunciation of la-di-da—a nice story except that lardy-dardy predates la-di-da by nearly 20 years.

how is lardy-dardy used?

“Good afternoon!” — in rather lardy-dardy, middle-class English. “I wonder if I may see your things in your studio.”

D. H. Lawrence, The Captain's Doll, 1923

It was exaggerated flattery he always felt provoked and disgusted with. Such absurd palaver, and lardy-dardy talk as that of his grand mover and seconder.

F. A. J., "Greaswick for Coalheavers': or, The Alderman's Election" The Amateur's Magazine, 1859
Tuesday, December 11, 2018

ahistorical

[ ey-hi-stawr-i-kuhl, -stor-i-kuhl ]

adjective

without concern for history or historical development; indifferent to tradition.

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What is the origin of ahistorical?

The formation of the adjective ahistorical is clear: the first syllable, a-, is a variety of the Greek prefix an-, a- “not” (an-, a- is from the same Proto-Indo-European source as English un-). Historical is a derivative of Greek historía “learning or knowing by inquiry, history,” a derivative of hístōr “one who knows or sees,” akin to English wit and Latin vidēre “to see,” and the Latin suffix -al, with the general sense “of the kind of, pertaining to, having the form or character of” that named by the stem. Ahistorical entered English in the 20th century.

how is ahistorical used?

The notion that all human history – and all human societies – can be shoehorned into a simple binary scheme is not new … But it is always simplistic, ahistorical, and therefore wrong.

Alan Knight, "Tight/loose cultures theory is simplistic and ahistorical," The Guardian, September 18, 2018

The boxlike room, stripped of all embellishment or parlor fussiness, a room that wished to be timeless or ahistorical, and there, in the middle of it, my deeply historical, timeworn grandmother.

Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex, 2002

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