Word of the Day

Word of the day

Saturday, March 24, 2018

oriflamme

[ awr-uh-flam, or- ]

noun

any flag, banner, or standard, especially one that serves as a rallying point or symbol.

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What is the origin of oriflamme?

Originally an oriflamme was the banner or ensign that the French kings received before going into battle from the abbot of Saint-Denis, the site of a Benedictine abbey founded c626 in a city of the same name, located northeast of Paris, and named after Saint Denis, a martyr of the 3rd century who is venerated as a patron of the French people. Oriflamme means “golden flame” in Old French, from Latin aurea flamma “golden flame,” referring to the golden flames on the red background of the banner. Oriflamme entered English in the 15th century.

how is oriflamme used?

I was so afraid you might think we ought to sort of wave the oriflamme of our unfettered love.

Mary Renault, Purposes of Love, 1939

… the huge and motley mass, throughout the Union, which marched under the oriflamme of the bank, had every where repeated and reiterated the same cry.

Thomas Hart Benton, Thirty Years’ View, 1854
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Friday, March 23, 2018

deracinate

[ dih-ras-uh-neyt ]

verb

to isolate or alienate (a person) from a native or customary culture or environment.

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What is the origin of deracinate?

The root of deracinate “to uproot” is the Late Latin noun rādīcīna “root,” from Latin rādīx (stem rādīc-), from which English derives radical and eradicate. Latin rādīx comes from the Proto-Indo-European root wrād- (and its variants) “branch, root.” The noun wrādios becomes Latin rādius “staff, rod, beam, radius (of a circle), ray (of light),” from which, via French, English has ray (of light or energy). The suffixed form wrād-mo- becomes Latin rāmus “branch, twig,” from which English derives ramify and ramification. Proto-Indo-European wrād- becomes wrōt- in Germanic, from which Old Norse derives rōt, which becomes root in English. Deracinate entered English in the late 16th century.

how is deracinate used?

Our parents sent us to those schools to deracinate us, to obliterate our class markings.

Malcolm Knox, Summerland, 2000

In little more than a century, millions of human beings in Europe and America … have undertaken to deracinate themselves from the natural continuum and all that it has to teach us of Man’s relationship to the nonhuman more completely than ever before in the human past.

Theodore Roszak, "Can We Survive the Artificial Environment?" The Rotarian, June 1971
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Thursday, March 22, 2018

solitudinarian

[ sol-i-tood-n-air-ee-uh n, -tyood- ]

noun

a person who seeks solitude; recluse.

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What is the origin of solitudinarian?

Solitudinarian was first recorded in 1685–95.

how is solitudinarian used?

She was such a warm, beautiful woman, so popular, so very full of love and verve and yet you, her only son, are an anthropofugal solitudinarian.

David Foster, Sons of the Rumour, 2009

… Charron says that no one with a capacity for public good and usefulness ought to neglect that capacity. Thus, the able solitudinarian is to be severely censured.

M. Andrew Holowchak, Thomas Jefferson: Moralist, 2017
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