Word of the Day

Word of the day

Thursday, July 08, 2021

omnium-gatherum

[ om-nee-uhm-gath-er-uhm ]

noun

a miscellaneous collection.

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What is the origin of omnium-gatherum?

Omnium-gatherum, “a miscellaneous collection,” has a pretty long history, considering its awkward etymology. A similar word, omnegadrium, occurs about 1430 in Middle English with the meaning “a miscellaneous collection of items in a manuscript.” Omnegadrium is a compound of the familiar Latin combining form omni– “all,” the Middle English verb gaderen “to assemble” (English gather), and the familiar Latin noun suffix –ium. Omnegadrium was re-formed to modern omnium-gatherum, which is a compound of Latin omnium “of all” (the genitive plural of omnis) and the pseudo-Latin word gatherum “a gathering,” formed from gather and the Latin noun suffix –um. Omnium-gatherum entered English in the first half of the 16th century.

how is omnium-gatherum used?

This person wore a large cocked-hat, set rather jauntily on one side, and a black coat, which seemed an omnium-gatherum of all abominations that had come in its way for the last ten years, and which appeared to advance equal claims … to the several dignities of the art military and civil, the arma and the toga ….

Edward Bulwer Lytton, Pelham; or, Adventures of a Gentleman, 1828

She is best known for collecting dictionaries that represent the very living and breathing edge of the English language: the ragged and ill-defined omnium-gatherum of informal, witty, clever, newborn, and usually impermanent words that constitute what for the past two centuries has been known as slang.

Simon Winchester, "The Mongrel Speech of the Streets," New York Review of Books, March 8, 2012

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Word of the day

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

fantast

[ fan-tast ]

noun

a visionary or dreamer.

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What is the origin of fantast?

Fantast, “a visionary or dreamer,” comes via German Fantast, Phantast (with the same meaning), via Medieval Latin phantasta, from Greek phantastḗs “an ostentatious person, boaster” (that is, someone who talks about their exaggerated fantasies). Phantastḗs ultimately derives from the verb phantázein “to make visible, present to the eye or mind” and phantázesthai “to become visible, appear.” Fantast entered English in the second half of the 16th century.

how is fantast used?

It would be difficult to describe Browne adequately; exuberant in conception and conceit, dignified, hyper-latinistic, a quiet and sublime enthusiast; yet a fantast, a humourist, a brain with a twist ….

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "Style," from "Fragments and Notes, Mainly from the Lectures of 1818," in Miscellanies, Aesthetic and Literary, 1885

The fantast cannot be taken seriously; he does not even take himself seriously. He kicks his good through all the conventions of all the schools, and invokes “a plague on both your houses” whether of idealism or realism.

"Chemicoscapes: The Fantast," The Chemist and the Druggist, December 22, 1894

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Word of the day

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

wampish

[ wam-pish, wahm- ]

verb (used without object)

to wave about or flop to and fro.

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What is the origin of wampish?

Wampish,“to wave (one’s arms) about; flop to and fro,” is an exclusively Scots word, first appearing in Sir Walter Scott’s The Antiquary, the third of his The Waverley Novels (1816). Wampish has no clear etymology and is probably of imitative or onomatopoeic origin.

how is wampish used?

But yet his gear was o’ the goude
As it waved and wampished in the wind; And the coal-black steed he rode upon,
It was fleeter than the bonny hind.

James Hogg, "Ballad of Sir Colin Brand," The Three Perils of Man, 1822

He “wampished” his arms over his head, and shouted “Habbocraws” at the pitch of his voice—the gravity of every one being completely upset by the occurrence.

Alexander Hislop, "Habbocraws." The Book of Scottish Anecdote, 1874

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