warm and affectionate physical and emotional support and care.
Nurturance “warm physical and emotional care” is a compound of the noun nurture “upbringing; development” and the suffix -ance. Nurture derives via Middle English and Middle French from Late Latin nūtrītūra “a nourishing,” which is equivalent to the Latin verb nūtrīre (stem nūtrīt-) “to feed” plus -ūra, a noun suffix. Nūtrīre is the direct source of English nutrient and nutrition as well as French nourriture “food,” and by way of French, it is the source of nourish and nurse. Notice how the t in the nūtrīt- stem was lost as Latin evolved into French; this process of losing a consonant in the middle of a word is called syncope, and it appears in English when ever and over are abbreviated as e’er and o’er, though apostrophes are not mandatory to indicate syncope. Nurturance was first recorded in English in the late 1930s.
Mothers, Fathers, and Others sifts a wide range of memory, experience and disciplinary perspectives into essays that bring into focus the profound contradictions of motherhood. These contradictions, [prolific novelist and essayist Siri] Hustvedt asserts, are eclipsed by the cultural idealization of mothers as the model of self-sacrificing nurturance. Hustvedt seeks to reclaim the messiness of motherhood. Aren’t we, she asks, all mixed up, a melange, a mess?
ragged; unkempt or dilapidated.
Tatterdemalion “unkempt or dilapidated,” first written tatter-de-mallian, is of uncertain origin, but there are some potential leads. The first element is likely tatter “a torn piece hanging loose from a garment,” from Old Norse tǫturr “rag,” but an alternative proposal based on outdated uses of tatterdemalion connects the term to Tatar or Tartar, a member of one of many ethnic Turkic groups of northwestern and central Asia, and both words once meant “wanderer, vagabond.” The second element, de (also ti), appears to be a common element in fanciful, elaborate, and nonsensical terms, from gobbledegook, hobbledehoy, and slubberdegullion to flibbertigibbet and dandiprat. The significance of the final element, malion, is unfortunately lost to history. Tatterdemalion was first recorded in the first decade of the 17th century.
Overhanging his outer compound wall were the only two remaining shade trees in the citadel, one a dying oak, the other a mulberry tree, and within the compound was a tatterdemalion garden, where a scrawny pomegranate tree drooped with heavy fruit. The house was modest, but with triangular brick architectural flourishes above the door, characteristic of ancient house styles here.
He had paused under one of the rare lamp-posts, gathering up his recollections of the London he had so long quitted, and doubtful for a moment or two which turn to take. Just then, up from an alley fronting him at right angles, came suddenly, warily, a tall, sinewy, ill-boding tatterdemalion figure, and, seeing Darrell’s face under the lamp, halted abrupt at the mouth of the narrow passage from which it had emerged—a dark form filling up the dark aperture.
verb (used with object)
to remove the ambiguity from; make unambiguous.
Disambiguate “to remove the ambiguity from” is based on the adjective ambiguous “open to or having several possible meanings or interpretations,” plus the affixes dis-, indicating reversal, and -ate, indicating a verb. Ambiguous, from Latin ambiguus, is derived from the verb ambigere “to dispute, contend,” which is a compound of the prefix ambi- “both” and the verb agere “to do, drive.” Ambi- crops up in English terms such as ambidextrous (literally “both right-handed”), ambient (“going both (directions)”), ambivalent (“both strong”), and past Word of the Day ambivert (“turned both ways”). Agere is a rather productive verb with numerous stems: ag- appears in agenda, agent, and agile; -ig- is found in litigate, navigate, and castigate and its synonym past Word of the Day fustigate; and finally act- is found in action, activity, and exact. Disambiguate was first recorded in English in the early 1960s.
When emoji appear with text, they often supplement or enhance the writing. This is similar to gestures that appear along with speech. Over the past three decades, research has shown that our hands provide important information that often transcends and clarifies the message in speech. Emoji serve this function too– or instance, adding a kissy or winking face can disambiguate whether a statement is flirtatiously teasing or just plain mean.
Some people think nothing of highlighting inconsistent punctuation wherever they might see it, however innocuous or irrelevant it might be (apostrophes rarely actually disambiguate–after all, we get along fine without them in speech). Never mind that it’s a handwritten notice in a shop window, written by someone for whom English is a second (or third, or fourth) language. Never mind that it’s a leaflet touting for work from someone who didn’t get the chance to complete their education. They need to be corrected and/or posted online for others to see. Otherwise, how will anybody learn?
Get A Vocabulary Boost In Your Inbox