Word of the Day

Sunday, March 28, 2021

palmary

[ pal-muh-ree, pahl-, pah-muh- ]

adjective

having or deserving to have the palm of victory or success; praiseworthy.

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What is the origin of palmary?

The adjective palmary, “deserving the palm of victory; praiseworthy,” comes from the Latin adjective and noun palmārius. As an adjective, palmārius means “pertaining to palm trees”; as a neuter noun, palmārium means “masterpiece, masterstroke,” and somewhat less nobly, “the fee for an advocate who wins his case.” Palmārius is a derivative of the noun palma “palm (of the hand); the width of a palm (as a measurement); palm tree (so called from the shape of its leaves); a palm branch awarded to the winner in a contest, first place.” Palma comes from an earlier, unrecorded palama, from Proto-Indo-European pḷəmā, and is closely related to Greek palámē “hand, flat of the hand, means, device,” and also to Old Irish lām (Proto-Celtic loses initial p-), Old High German folma (Proto-Indo-European p becomes f in Proto-Germanic), and Old English folm, all meaning “hand, flat of the hand.” Palmary entered English in the mid-17th century.

how is palmary used?

One of Mr. Seitz’s gifts is his culinary vision, and his successes are palmary.

M. H. Reed, "Unhurried Culinary Vision in Brewster," New York Times, August 29, 1993

Her book is, in fact, a palmary example of a new phenomenon in scholarly publishing, the avowedly imaginative reconstruction of a historical figure’s life and world.

Michael Kulikowski, "Butcher Boy," London Review of Books, Vol. 32, No. 8, April 2010

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Saturday, March 27, 2021

matzo

[ maht-suh; Sephardic Hebrew mah-tsah; Ashkenazic Hebrew mah-tsaw ]

noun

unleavened bread in the form of large crackers, typically square and corrugated, eaten during Passover.

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What is the origin of matzo?

Most Americans are familiar with matzo “unleavened bread in the form of large crackers,” because food stores routinely stock matzo on their shelves, especially just before Passover, which occurs in the early spring. Matzo comes via Yiddish matse (plural matses) from Hebrew maṣṣāh (plural maṣṣōth). Maṣṣāh comes from a West Semitic root meaning “to be or become sour, ferment.” Matzo entered English in the mid-17th century.

how is matzo used?

Every spring, we piled into the station wagon with my dad, who drove miles in search of a grocery store that sold Passover food. In a larger town, twenty minutes away, we could usually find a few Manischewitz products on a bottom shelf—a dusty jar of borscht, a tin of macaroons, a box of matzo. That orange-and-green logo was a beacon.

Elizabeth Weiss, "Kosher for Gentiles," The New Yorker, April 11, 2014

At its most traditional, matzo is made from just flour and water. But adding a little salt for flavor and olive oil for richness yields an airy, tender matzo that’s easy to make.

Melissa Clark, "Easy Matzo," NYT Cooking

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Friday, March 26, 2021

fustigate

[ fuhs-ti-geyt ]

verb (used with object)

to criticize harshly; castigate.

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What is the origin of fustigate?

The English verb fustigate, “to criticize harshly; scold severely,” comes from Late Latin fustīgātus, the past participle of the verb fustīgāre “to beat to death with a cudgel.” Fustīgāre is a compound of the noun fustis “a stick, club, cudgel” and the combining form –igāre, a derivative of the simple, much overworked Latin verb agere “to do, act.” The same combining form appears in lītigāre “to go to law,” source of English litigate and litigation; fūmigāre “to smoke,” source of English fumigate and fumigation; and nāvigāre “to travel by ship, sail,” English navigate and navigation. Fustigate entered English in the mid-17th century.

how is fustigate used?

He fustigates them energetically a few years later for their political affiliations, their efforts to bring about a social revolution, their commitment to the physical, whereas, according to Artaud, the great revolution must be a revolution of the spirit, a metamorphosis of what he called the soul.

Leonard Cabell Pronko, Theater East and West, 1967

He fustigates only those propositions that go against the evidence in the service of an undeniable initial lie.

Herbert Southworth, Guernica! Guernica! A Study of Journalism, Diplomacy, Propaganda, and History, 1977

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