• Word of the day
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    Monday, July 01, 2019

    orgulous

    adjective [awr-gyuh-luhs, ‐guh‐]
    haughty; proud.
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    What is the origin of orgulous?

    The English adjective orgulous has about as many spelling variants in Middle English (orgeilus, orgeyllous, orguillous, etc.) as its Old French source (orguillus, orguilleus, orgueilleux, etc.). The base of the French word is a Germanic (Frankish) noun, cognate with Old English orgol, orgel “pride,” and akin to the Old High German adjective urguol “outstanding.” Shakespeare uses orgillous once, in Troilus and Cressida, but the adjective was obsolete by the mid-17th century, only to be resuscitated by Sir Walter Scott and Robert Southey in the first half of the 19th century.

    How is orgulous used?

    The princes orgulous, their high blood chafed / Have to the port of Athens sent their ships ... William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, 1623

    Ah, he is an orgulous man! Georgette Heyer, My Lord John, 1973

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  • Word of the day
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    Sunday, June 30, 2019

    jubilate

    verb (used without object) [joo-buh-leyt]
    to celebrate a joyful occasion.
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    What is the origin of jubilate?

    The verb jubilate sounds as if it must have a Hebrew origin from its being the first word of Psalms 65 and 100 in the Vulgate: Jūbilāte “Shout for joy.” But the Latin verb jūbilāre is a derivative of the Proto-Indo-European root -, yu- “to shout in exultation,” from which Greek derives iýzein “to shout aloud” (with several derivatives), and Middle High German derives and jūch, expressions of joy. Jubilate entered English in the early 17th century.

    How is jubilate used?

    ... spectators mill around, dance, and jubilate in Imelda’s rise to power, while feeling uneasy about how much fun they’re having. Michael Schulman, "Bling Ring," The New Yorker, May 6, 2013

    Then there were their children, the sabras, blond, husky women, and men: earnest people for all that they could dance and jubilate. Belva Plain, Evergreen, 1978

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  • Word of the day
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    Saturday, June 29, 2019

    prismatic

    adjective [priz-mat-ik]
    spectral in color; brilliant: prismatic colors.
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    What is the origin of prismatic?

    Prismatic ultimately comes from the Greek noun prîsma (inflectional stem prísmat-) “something sawed, sawdust, (in geometry) trilateral column, prism.” Prîsma is a derivative of príein “to saw, trephine (skulls), grind or gnash (teeth), cut off (syllables)." Prismatic entered English in the 17th century.

    How is prismatic used?

    He noted the prismatic colors in all the dewdrops upon a million blades of grass. Ambrose Bierce, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," 1890

    We get beautiful effects from wit,—all the prismatic colors,—but never the object as it is in fair daylight. Oliver Wendell Holmes, "The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table," The Atlantic Monthly, January 1858

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  • Word of the day
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    Friday, June 28, 2019

    symposiarch

    noun [sim-poh-zee-ahrk]
    a toastmaster.
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    What is the origin of symposiarch?

    The uncommon noun symposiarch comes straight from Greek symposíarchos “leader or master of a symposium,” extended in English to "toastmaster." The suffix -arch (and prefix arch-) “chief, leader, ruler” is naturalized in English. Sympósion “drinking party” breaks down to the prefix syn- “with, together with” and -posion, a derivative of pósis “drinking, a drink,” from pínein “to drink.” Symposiarch entered English in the early 17th century.

    How is symposiarch used?

    By election, or by some other means, a symposiarch was selected to preside over the mixing and the toasts. James N. Davidson, Courtesans and Fishcakes, 1997

    After dinner, the symposiarch, who acted as master of ceremonies, laid down the rules for the evening and established the order of events. Michael Norris, Greek Art: From Prehistoric to Classical, 2000

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  • Word of the day
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    Thursday, June 27, 2019

    strawhat

    adjective [straw-hat]
    of or relating to a summer theater situated outside an urban or metropolitan area: strawhat theater; strawhat circuit.
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    What is the origin of strawhat?

    Strawhat used as an attributive or adjective, as in strawhat circuit, was originally an Americanism and referred to the custom, still common, of people wearing straw hats in the summer for comfort. Strawhat entered English in the mid-1930s.

    How is strawhat used?

    Indeed, the strawhat impresario is not only at the mercy of the the customers but he is also subject to the tribulations and vagaries of the actors .... Charlotte Harmon, "Confessions of a Strawhat Impresario," New York Times, June 16, 1957

    After a million-dollar restoration, the old house reopened as a strawhat theater in 1963 with Price, a recent graduate of the Yale Drama School, as general manager. Lynne Baranski, "Michael Price's Goodspeed Opera Doesn't Just Try Out Broadway Hits—It Creates Them," People, November 19, 1979

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  • Word of the day
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    Wednesday, June 26, 2019

    minimoon

    noun [min-ee-moon]
    a short, usually inexpensive honeymoon, often followed by a longer honeymoon later on: They left the courthouse after the ceremony and had a weekend minimoon at The Plaza.
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    What is the origin of minimoon?

    Minimoon is an obvious blend of the combining form mini- and honeymoon. Minimoon entered English between 2005 and 2010.

    How is minimoon used?

    She always knew she would take a mini-moon followed by a second, more-elaborate trip because of the sheer effort involved in planning her 500-guest wedding. Christina Valhouli, "A Little Getaway After the Big Event," New York Times, October 18, 2013

    Bask in post-wedding bliss with a brief off-the-grid vacation that’s close to home, then follow it up a few months later with an epic, far-flung adventure that complements your minimoon experience. Merritt Watts, "The New Way to Honeymoon," Vogue, October 5, 2015

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  • Word of the day
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    Tuesday, June 25, 2019

    venal

    adjective [veen-l]
    open to bribery; mercenary.
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    What is the origin of venal?

    The English adjective venal comes from Latin vēnālis “for sale, for hire, susceptible to or obtainable by bribery,” a derivative of vēnus “sale.” Vēnus comes from an unattested noun wesno-, a Latin derivation of wes- (a variant of the Proto-Indo-European root wes-, wos- “to buy, sell”) and the noun suffix -no. Wes- also appears in Hittite washti “thou buyest.” From the variant wos-, Greek (Attic) has the noun ōnḗ “purchase, purchase price” (Homeric Greek has ônos, Aeolic ónna), all from an unrecorded wosnā. Sanskrit vasná "purchase price, wage” may come from either wes- or wos-. Venal entered English in the 17th century.

    How is venal used?

    ... the perfectly balanced tool in his hands that could be used for the bribing of venal politicians, with a limitless fund for the bribery .... Katherine MacLean, The Man Who Staked the Stars, 1952

    Four years after the street protests that ousted the notoriously venal President Viktor Yanukovych, corruption is the wound that won’t stop bleeding. Daria Kaleniuk and Melinda Harin, "The spirit of reform lives on in Ukraine—but not because of the president," Washington Post, June 27, 2018

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