Word of the Day

Friday, September 04, 2020

olericulture

[ ol-er-i-kuhl-cher ]

noun

the cultivation of vegetables for the home or market.

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What is the origin of olericulture?

Starting from the end, the –iculture of olericulture “cultivation of vegetables for the home or market” is familiar to us from compounds like agriculture “the cultivation of land for crops,” and the relatively recent apiculture “beekeeping, especially commercial beekeeping.” The first part of olericulture comes from oleri-, the inflectional stem of the Latin noun olus (also holus) “a vegetable, vegetables, kitchen herb,” which is related to the adjective helvus “yellowish, dun (of cattle).” Helvus is the Latin result of the Proto-Indo-European adjective ghelwos “bright, yellow,” a derivative of the Proto-Indo-European root ghel– “to shine,” a root that is particularly associated with colors. Latin has another adjective gilvus “yellowish” (used of domestic animals), a borrowing from a Celtic language. Much, much closer to home, ghelwos becomes gelwa– in the Germanic languages, the source of English yellow. Olericulture entered English in the second half of the 19th century.

how is olericulture used?

… he offered his 7-year-old grandson a daily tutorial in olericulture in his backyard field of bounty.

Phil Gianficaro, "With One Sniff, My Grandfather and I Were Together Again," Courier Times, August 19, 2020

As either a lecture or a recitation course alone olericulture is not likely to prove a shining success. It should be accompanied by a definite laboratory course, in which the actual materials of the garden may be studied first hand.

John Craig, "Horticultural Education," The O. A. C. Review, Vol. 19 Issue 6, March 1907

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Thursday, September 03, 2020

verisimilitude

[ ver-uh-si-mil-i-tood, -tyood ]

noun

the appearance or semblance of truth; likelihood; probability: The play lacked verisimilitude.

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What is the origin of verisimilitude?

Verisimilitude, “the appearance or semblance of truth; probability,” comes via French similitude from Latin vērīsimilitūdō (also written as an open compound vērī similitūdō), an uncommon noun meaning “probability, plausibility,” literally “resemblance to the truth.” Similitūdō is a derivative of the adjective similis “like, resembling, similar,” which governs the genitive case. Vērī is the genitive singular of vērum, a noun use of the neuter gender of the adjective vērus “true, real.” Vera, the female personal name, is the feminine singular of vērus and is related to the Slavic (Russian) female name Vera, which is also used as a common noun (vera) meaning “faith, good faith, trust.” The Latin and Slavic forms come from a Proto-Indo-European root wer-, werǝ-, wēr– “true, trustworthy.” In Germanic wērā became Vār in Old Norse, the goddess of faithful oaths. Verisimilitude entered English in the early 17th century.

how is verisimilitude used?

Every beast you see here, from elephant to elephant shrew, and every square inch of habitat, from desert sand to belching mud, is computer-created, and one can but marvel at the verisimilitude.

Anthony Lane, "Does 'The Lion King' Need C.G.I.?" The New Yorker, July 19, 2019

According to O’Brien, artificial intelligence will soon push the verisimilitude of computer-generated fake images and videos beyond what even skilled human editors can produce.

Emma Grey Ellis, "How to Spot Phony Images and Online Propaganda," Wired, June 17, 2020

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Wednesday, September 02, 2020

legerity

[ luh-jer-i-tee ]

noun

physical or mental quickness; nimbleness; agility.

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What is the origin of legerity?

Legerity, “mental or physical agility,” comes from Middle French legereté “lightness, thoughtlessness,” a derivative of leger, liger “light (in weight).” Leger is a regular French phonological development of Vulgar Latin leviārius “light (in weight),” equivalent to Latin levis. The original and now obsolete English meaning of legerity was “lack of seriousness, frivolity” (its French sense). The current sense “nimbleness, quickness” dates from the end of the 16th century.

how is legerity used?

Alighting with the legerity of a cat, he swerved leftward in the recoil, and was off, like a streak of mulberry-coloured lightning, down the High.

Max Beerbohm, Zuleika Dobson, 1911

With such legerity of mind, how could I not study physics?

Jordana Jakubovic, "Physics to Go, and Hold the Math," New York Times, March 21, 2004

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