Word of the Day

Monday, September 02, 2019

operose

[ op-uh-rohs ]

adjective

done with or involving much labor.

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What is the origin of operose?

Operose is a borrowing from the Latin adjective operōsus “busy, active, painstaking, taking or involving much care.” Operōsus is a derivative of the noun opus (stem oper-) “labor, work, a work” and the adjective suffix –ōsus, meaning “full of, abounding in.” Opus comes from an uncommon Proto-Indo-European root op– “to work, produce in quantity.” In Oscan, the most conservative of the Italic languages, the root appears in the verbal adjective úpsannam (in form equivalent to Latin operandam, and both derived from Italic opesandam) “to be built, to be made.” Sanskrit derives the noun ápas “work” from op-, and Avestan the compound hvapah– “good work.” Operose entered English in the 16th century.

how is operose used?

In reality no problem can be imagined more operose, than that of decomposing the sounds of words into four and twenty simple elements or letters, and again finding these elements in all other words.

William Godwin, An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, 1793

So long as we insist upon approaching them through the operose and roundabout method of dead-language studies, schooldays will flee away, and the object will not be accomplished.

William P. Atkinson, "Liberal Education of the Nineteenth Century," Popular Science Monthly, Vol. 4, November 1873
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Sunday, September 01, 2019

elide

[ ih-lahyd ]

verb (used with object)

to suppress; omit; ignore; pass over.

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What is the origin of elide?

Elide comes straight from the Latin verb ēlīdere “to strike out, crush, smash,” a compound of the preposition and prefix ē, ē-, a variant of ex, ex-, here indicating deprivation or loss, and the combining form –līdere, from laedere “to wound, injure, damage.” Ēlīdere and elide both have the legal sense “to nullify, invalidate,” and the grammatical or prosodic sense “to omit a vowel or syllable in pronunciation,” as formerly in English th’embattled plain, and in French l’homme, or Italian l’uomo. Laedere has no known etymology. Elide entered English in the 16th century.

how is elide used?

These videos slyly elide the long hours that lie between seeing how something is done and knowing how to do it.

Dan Brooks, "The Pleasure of Watching Others Confront Their Own Incompetence," New York Times Magazine, May 15, 2019

They confused her, made her angry, as though the whole middle section of her life—the part where she was supposed to grow to adulthood, bear children, be a young mother, and watch her children grow to adulthood—had simply been elided.

Ruth Ozeki, All Over Creation, 2003
Saturday, August 31, 2019

adventitious

[ ad-vuhn-tish-uhs ]

adjective

associated with something by chance rather than as an integral part; extrinsic.

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What is the origin of adventitious?

Adventitious comes from the Medieval Latin adjective adventītius, from Latin adventīcius “coming from without, from abroad, foreign, external, made or happening by chance, casual.” Adventīcius is a derivative of the verb advenīre “to come to, arrive at, reach” (formed from the preposition and prefix ad, ad– “to, toward” and the simple verb venīre “to come, be on the way, approach”) and the suffix –īcius, used for forming adjectives from the past participle stems of verbs (here, advent– from adventum). The zoological or botanical sense “appearing in an abnormal or unusual position or place, as a root” dates from the second half of the 17th century. Adventitious dates from the early 17th century.

how is adventitious used?

It is not founded on organic strength, the delicate, ennobling mark of a good endowment, of sound blood and a sound character, but is in a curious way something adventitious, accidental, perhaps even usurped or stolen.

Herman Hesse, The Glass Bead Game, translated by Richard and Clara Winston, 1969

This is exhausting, of course, but far less so than the tenor of a normal museum, which groups works by adventitious categories of period and style.

Peter Schjeldahl, "Untouchable," The New Yorker, February 8, 2004

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