Word of the Day

Saturday, May 19, 2018

omnifarious

[ om-nuh-fair-ee-uhs ]

adjective

of all forms, varieties, or kinds.

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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
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Friday, May 18, 2018

spagyric

[ spuh-jeer-ik ]

adjective

pertaining to or resembling alchemy; alchemic.

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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.

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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

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