Word of the Day

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

paczki

[ pawnch-kee ]

noun

a traditional Polish doughnut, filled with jam or another sweet filling and covered with powdered sugar or icing.

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What is the origin of paczki?

The presence of cz in a word is enough to make one suspect we are dealing with Polish. Paczki, thus spelled, in Polish is the plural of the feminine noun paczka “package, parcel.” The Polish word we want, however, is pączki (the ą is a nasal vowel, pronounced approximately as in French on). Pączki is the plural of the masculine noun pączek “bud (as of a flower),” and also “jelly doughnut,” a diminutive of the noun pąk “bud (of a flower).” So while pączki with the ogonek is the more accurate spelling, paczki without the diacritic is more prevalent in English. The tasty treat it refers to is a celebrated indulgence for some the day before Ash Wednesday, known in some circles as Paczki Tuesday.

how is paczki used?

They are rich, jelly doughnuts that have traditionally been a Fat Tuesday treat. Customers line up at Polish bakeries to get boxes of paczki, which they share with their families and friends.

Micheline Maynard, "As Fat Tuesday Approaches, Paczki Are Becoming A Midwest Mania," Forbes, February 23, 2020

Every year, he’d come through the Capitol carrying a box of paczki—the Polish filled donuts—reminding his friends of the pride he had in his immigrant roots.

Steny Hoyer, "My Friend, John Dingell," The Atlantic, February 8, 2019

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Monday, February 15, 2021

proclamation

[ prok-luh-mey-shuhn ]

noun

a public and official announcement.

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What is the origin of proclamation?

Proclamation, “an official public announcement,” comes via Middle English proclamacioun from Anglo-French and Middle French proclamacion “public announcement,” from Latin prōclāmātiō (inflectional stem prōclāmātiōn-) “outcry, shout,” a derivative of the verb prōclāmāre, a compound of the prefix pro– and the simple verb clāmāre “to shout, shout out, utter a loud noise.” The prefix pro-, usually meaning “before, forward,” when used with verbs of utterance, such as prōclāmāre and prōloquī “to speak forth, announce,” adds the notion of bringing into the open or making public. Latin prōclāmātiō has no official or administrative senses, only a legal or quasi-judicial sense, “an assertion of a claim (as of for free status) before a judge or court,” a meaning that occurs in the commentaries and legal opinions of Roman jurists of the 3rd century a.d. Proclamation entered English in the first half of the 14th century.

how is proclamation used?

President Lincoln’s proclamation, which we publish this morning, marks an era in the history, not only of this war, but of this country and the world.

"The President's Proclamation," New York Times, January 3, 1863

Biden’s presidential proclamation rescinded the national emergency declaration used by President Donald Trump to divert about $10 billion from Defense Department accounts toward the barrier, one of the costliest federal infrastructure projects in U.S. history.

Nick Miroff and Arelis R. Hernández, "Biden orders a 'pause' on border wall construction, bringing crews to halt," Washington Post, January 20, 2021

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Sunday, February 14, 2021

oeillade

[ œ-yad ]

noun

an amorous glance.

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What is the origin of oeillade?

Oeillade “an amorous glance” has been in English for more than 400 years, but it remains completely unnaturalized. The word is obviously French, its pronunciation not obvious. Oeillade in French means a glance that is furtive, conspiratorial, or secret, or a glance that is flirting and amorous: “significant glance” or “meaningful glance” conveys the English meaning but not its esprit. The first half of oeillade, oeil, means “eye” in French and is a regular development from Latin oculus, source of English oculist and binocular “(with) both eyes.” The noun suffix –ade is the French variant of the common Romance suffix that appears as –ado in Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, and Occitan, but as –ato in Italian. The suffix comes from the Latin past participle suffix –ātus. The English noun ogle “an amorous, flirtatious glance,” a synonym of oeillade, ultimately comes from Dutch or Low German oeglen, oghelen “to make eyes at,” a derivative of the noun oog “eye”; but ogle, too, fails the amour test. Oeillade entered English in the late 16th century.

how is oeillade used?

Oeillades leap toward one another; gazes of longing, smugness, hypocritical piety intertwine in a wordless dance.

John Simon, "Wertmüller's 'Seven Beauties'—Call It A Masterpiece," New York, February 2, 1976

Here she was absolutely outrageous—with long‐held poses, and wicked oeillades at the audience—but anyone who could bring himself to be anything but enchanted would need to be more outrageous than she.

Clive Barnes, "Ballet Theater Having a Great Season," New York Times, July 7, 1975

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