Word of the Day

Saturday, May 19, 2018

omnifarious

[ om-nuh-fair-ee-uhs ]

adjective

of all forms, varieties, or kinds.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of omnifarious?

English omnifarious comes from the Late Latin adjective omnifarius “of all sorts.” The combining form omni- in omnifarious is completely naturalized in English and needs no explanation. The element -farious comes from the Latin combining form -fārius, -farius, which is used to form multiplicative adjectives (e.g., twofold, threefold, simplex, duplex) and is a back formation from the Late Latin adjective bifārius “twofold, double,” in turn derived from the Latin adverb bifāriam “in two parts or places.” Omnifarious entered English in the 17th century.

how is omnifarious used?

… these essays in Mr. Trilling’s new book all aim directly or indirectly at the central suppositions of our omnifarious 20th-century culture.

Robie Macauley, "From the Particular to the Universal," New York Times, November 14, 1965

The point here is all these other “platforms” offer but a fraction of the omnifarious ~500 product and services that Google subsidizes to offer for free in “competition” with mostly fee-based proprietary platform products and services.

Scott Cleland, "Why Google's Not a 'Platform,'" Forbes, October 19, 2011

SIGN UP FOR A VOCABULARY BOOST IN YOUR EMAIL

Get the Word of the Day delivered daily
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Friday, May 18, 2018

spagyric

[ spuh-jeer-ik ]

adjective

pertaining to or resembling alchemy; alchemic.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of spagyric?

The rare adjective spagyric comes from New Latin spagiricus “alchemical; alchemy; an alchemist” and was first used and probably coined by the Swiss physician and alchemist Paracelsus (c1493–1541). There is no trustworthy etymology for the word. Spagyric entered English in the late 16th century.

how is spagyric used?

He saw the true gold into which the beggarly matter of existence may be transmuted by spagyric art; a succession of delicious moments, all the rare flavours of life concentrated, purged of their lees, and preserved in a beautiful vessel.

Arthur Machen, The Hill of Dreams, 1907

I fear that many a practitioner of the spagyric art has perished handling it without due respect.

Jacqueline Carey, Miranda and Caliban, 2017
Thursday, May 17, 2018

paraph

[ par-uhf, puh-raf ]

noun

a flourish made after a signature, as in a document, originally as a precaution against forgery.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of paraph?

A paraph is the flamboyant flourish at the end of a signature to prevent forgery. The most famous and perhaps only paraph familiar to modern Americans is the one at the end of John Hancock’s signature on the Declaration of Independence. Paraph comes from Middle French paraphe or paraffe “abbreviated signature,” which is either a shortening of Late Latin paragraphus “a short horizontal line below the beginning of a line and marking a break in the sense,” or Medieval Latin paraphus “a flourish at the end of a signature.” Paraph entered English in the late 14th century.

how is paraph used?

Between you and me pivotal affinities occlude such petty tics as my constant distinctive signature with its unforgeable paraph

Joseph McElroy, Ancient History: A Paraphrase, 1971
[Frédéric] Chopin signed in a compact and bold hand. His signature exhibits choppy letter construction and is typically finished off with a bold paraph.

Ron Keurajian, Collecting Historical Autographs, 2017
Wednesday, May 16, 2018

bezonian

[ bih-zoh-nee-uhn ]

noun

Archaic. an indigent rascal; scoundrel.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of bezonian?

The root of the archaic English noun bezonian is the Italian noun bisogno “need, lack,” also in the late 16th century, “raw, needy recruit (newly landed in Italy from Spain).” In English bezonian has always had this meaning, but also, by an easy extension, ”poor beggar, indigent rascal.” Bezonian entered English in the late 16th century.

how is bezonian used?

Great men oft die by vile bezonians

William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 2, 1623

To Juan, who was nearest him, address’d / His thanks, and hopes to take the city soon / Not reckoning him to be a “base Bezonian” / (As Pistol calls it) but a young Livonian.

Lord Byron, Don Juan, 1819–24
Tuesday, May 15, 2018

tempus fugit

[ tem-poos foo-git ]

Latin. time flies.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of tempus fugit?

One cannot get more classical than tempus fugit “time flies,” a phrase that occurs in the Georgics, a poem about farming and country life published around 29 b.c. by the Roman poet Vergil (70-19 b.c.). Tempus fugit entered English in the late 18th century.

how is tempus fugit used?

Well, tempus fugit; let us be going. We have just an hour to reach our dining-hall.

Ruth McEnery Stuart, "Two Gentlemen of Leisure," Moriah's Mourning, 1898

“Thank you! Thank you!” you call to the woman, “but tempus fugit and to be honest, it’s fugiting rather quickly for me at the moment …”

Herbie Brennan, RomanQuest, 2011
Monday, May 14, 2018

lollapalooza

[ lol-uh-puh-loo-zuh ]

noun

Slang. an extraordinary or unusual thing, person, or event; an exceptional example or instance.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of lollapalooza?

Lollapalooza is an American word of unknown but fanciful origin, used by comic writers and humorists such as S.J. Perelman (1904-79) and P.G. Wodehouse (1881-1975). Lollapalooza entered English in the early 20th century.

how is lollapalooza used?

Miss Jeynes, that dance was a real lollapalooza.

Suzanne North, Flying Time, 2014

There will be a storm this evening, bet on it. It will be a lollapalooza.

Roger Rosenblatt, Lapham Rising, 2006
Sunday, May 13, 2018

minnie

[ min-ee ]

noun

Scot. and North England Informal. mother; mom.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of minnie?

The noun minnie is probably baby talk for northern English and Scottish mither “mother” or for mummy (mommy). Minnie is used in northern England and Scotland to mean “(one’s) mother.” Minnie entered English in the 17th century.

how is minnie used?

Whare are you gaun, my bonnie lass, Whare are you gaun, my hinnie? She answered me right saucilie, “An errand for my minnie.”

Robert Burns, "A Waukrife Minnie," 1789

… come and wake my minnie to me, for I canna …

S. R. Crockett, Deep Moat Grange, 1908

SIGN UP FOR A VOCABULARY BOOST IN YOUR EMAIL

Get the Word of the Day delivered daily
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.