Word of the Day

Word of the day

Sunday, April 15, 2018

pantofle

[ pan-tuh-fuh l, pan-tof-uh l, -toh-fuh l, -too- ]

noun

a slipper.

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What is the origin of pantofle?

Pantofle “indoor shoe, slipper” comes from Middle French pantoufle, pantophle (and other spellings). The word occurs in other Romance languages, e.g., Occitan and Italian have pantofla (and other spellings), and Spanish has pantufla. Catalan changed the position of the l in original pantofla to plantofa under the influence of planta “sole (of the foot)”; compare English plantar (wart). Further etymology of pantofle is speculative. Pantofle entered English in the late 15th century.

how is pantofle used?

“I’ve lost a pantofle!” he whispered desperately.

Sally Watson, The Outrageous Oriel, 2006

… your art / Can blind a jealous husband, and, disguised / Like a milliner or shoemaker, convey / A letter in a pantofle or glove, / Without suspicion, nay at his table …

Philip Massinger, The Emperor of the East, 1632
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Word of the day

Saturday, April 14, 2018

carking

[ kahr-king ]

adjective

Archaic. distressful.

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What is the origin of carking?

Carking derives from Norman French carquier “to load, burden,” from Late Latin carcāre, carricāre “to load.” In Old French, i.e., Parisian French, the dialect spoken in the île de France (the region of France that includes Paris), Late Latin carcāre becomes chargier (which becomes charge in English). Norman French does not palatalize c (representing the sound k) before a, which Old French does; thus in English we have the doublets cattle (from Norman French) and chattel from Parisian French. Late Latin carcāre becomes cargar “to load” in Spanish, the source of English cargo. Carking entered English in the early 14th century.

how is carking used?

Laranger’s answering smile showed no trace of the carking anxiety and deadly uncertainty which filled him at the thought of the future.

Joseph B. Ames, "The Secret of Spirit Lake," Boys' Life, September 1927

If we get our victuals daily we can lift our voices gaily / In a song that chants farewell to carking care.

Anonymous, "Cheer Up," The Rotarian, June 1920

Word of the day

Friday, April 13, 2018

tub-thump

[ tuhb-thuhmp ]

verb

Informal. to promote something or express opinions vociferously.

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What is the origin of tub-thump?

Tub-thump, a very rare word, is a back formation of tub-thumper “a vociferous supporter of a cause.” The verb tub-thump was coined by the British author Herman C. McNeile (1888–1937), whose pen name was “Sapper,” and who wrote the series of thrillers whose hero was Bulldog Drummond. The only other author to use the verb tub-thump was the American poet and editor Ezra Pound (1885-1972). Tub-thump entered English in 1920.

how is tub-thump used?

Ever eager to tub-thump America’s vast superiority, local civic chauvinists wanted our homegrown exposition to outstrip them all.

Jean Zimmerman, Savage Girl, 2014

Whereas the United States and many other countries are finding pollution control easier to tub-thump with than to implement, Britain has the existing machinery of the Alkali Inspectorate, the Clean Air Acts and the river authorities whose ambitious programmes were well under way before the word environment was heard in Westminster.

Jon Tinker, "Environmental politician," New Scientist, April 22, 1971

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