• Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Tuesday, January 16, 2018

    decathect

    verb [dee-kuh-thekt]
    to withdraw one's feelings of attachment from (a person, idea, or object), as in anticipation of a future loss: He decathected from her in order to cope with her impending death.
    See Full Definition

    Get to know dictionary.com

    Sign up for our Newsletter!
    Start your day with weird words, fun quizzes, and language stories.
    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

    What is the origin of decathect?

    Decathect is an extremely rare word in English, used only in Freudian psychology. It is formed from the common prefix de-, signifying privation or removal, and the very rare verb cathect “to invest emotional energy.” Cathect is a derivative of the adjective cathectic (from Greek kathektikόs “capable of holding or retaining”), from the noun káthexis “holding, possession, retention.” The English noun cathexis is an arcane translation or partial translation of Sigmund Freud’s Besetzung, a common, ordinary word in German meaning “(military) occupation, cast (of a play),” from the verb besetzen “to occupy, stock, fill.” Decathect entered English in the 20th century.

    How is decathect used?

    It is getting easier now for me to decathect from Eugene. Patricia Marx, Him Her Him Again The End of Him, 2007

    According to Freud, bereavement was not complete until the mourner was able to withdraw the emotional attachment to the deceased (decathect) and reinvest that emotional energy into a new relationship or, at least, back into life. J. William Worden, "Theoretical Perspectives on Loss and Grief," Death, Dying, and Bereavement, 2015

    Get to know dictionary.com

    Sign up for our Newsletter!
    Start your day with weird words, fun quizzes, and language stories.
    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Monday, January 15, 2018

    nonviolence

    noun [non-vahy-uh-luh ns]
    the policy, practice, or technique of refraining from the use of violence, especially when reacting to or protesting against oppression, injustice, discrimination, or the like.
    See Full Definition

    What is the origin of nonviolence?

    Nonviolence was first recorded in the 1830s.

    How is nonviolence used?

    At the center of nonviolence stands the principle of love. Martin Luther King, Jr., Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, 1958

    Fifty years ago, the civil-rights movement understood that nonviolence can be an effective weapon even if—or especially if—the other side refuses to follow suit. Hendrik Hertzberg, "Partisanship, by the Bye," The New Yorker, February 23, 2009

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Sunday, January 14, 2018

    vatic

    adjective [vat-ik]
    of, relating to, or characteristic of a prophet.
    See Full Definition

    What is the origin of vatic?

    The Latin noun vātis or vātēs “soothsayer, prophet, poet, bard” is probably a borrowing from a Celtic language (it has an exact correspondence in form and meaning with Old Irish fáith “seer, prophet,” from Proto-Celtic wātis). The Latin noun and Celtic root wāt- are from a Proto-Indo-European root meaning “to be spiritually aroused.” One of the Germanic forms of this root appears in the Old English adjective wōd “raging, crazy,” which survives in modern English in the adjective wood. Vatic entered English in the early 17th century.

    How is vatic used?

    ... I can't escape the feeling that Yeats knew, in the vatic, unwitting way of poets. Marcel Theroux, Strange Bodies, 2013

    An ominous vatic feeling had persisted throughout the rest of the evening, which was doubly unsettling to Laurel Manderley ... David Foster Wallace, "Mister Squishy," Oblivion, 2004

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Saturday, January 13, 2018

    pseud

    noun [sood]
    Informal. a person of fatuously earnest intellectual, artistic, or social pretensions.
    See Full Definition

    What is the origin of pseud?

    Pseud is a derogatory colloquialism derived by shortening from pseudointellectual. It dates from the mid-20th century.

    How is pseud used?

    But many of his students thought him a pseud for his high diction and his passion for complicated European writers. Tobias Wolff, Old School, 2003

    He hated the idea of being considered a pseud when it came to food and drink, but there were those who thought him overenthusiastic on both counts. Tim Heald, Poison at the Pueblo, 2011

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Friday, January 12, 2018

    silver-tongued

    adjective [sil-ver-tuhngd]
    persuasive; eloquent: a silver-tongued orator.
    See Full Definition

    What is the origin of silver-tongued?

    Silver-tongued may be named for the pleasing resonance of a silver bell. Even more pleasing and eloquent, therefore, would be chrysostom or chrysostomos “golden-mouthed,” from Greek chrysόstomos, from chrysόs “gold” and stόma “mouth.” As an epithet, chrysostom is reserved for the ancient Greek philosopher and historian Dio (or Dion) Chrysostom (c40–c115 a.d.), but in particular for the Greek patriarch and Church Father John Chrysostom (c347–407). On the first page of Ulysses, the unreliable, malevolent narrator refers to Buck Mulligan, who has gold fillings in his teeth and a very bawdy wit, as chrysostomos. Silver-tongued entered English in the late 16th century.

    How is silver-tongued used?

    "Always speak to the folks in the back rows, my boy," said the silver-tongued orator, "and the rest will be sure to hear you." Paul O'Neil, "Grand Old King of the Senate," Life, March 26, 1965

    The American representatives were not fools, and before accepting such a proposal, they investigated it from all angles, but when they talked with silver-tongued Santa Anna, who knew English well enough to smother them with glibness at any difficult juncture, they convinced themselves that here was a noble patriot who wished only to end a disagreeable war on terms favorable to both sides. James A. Michener, Texas, 1985

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Thursday, January 11, 2018

    jannock

    adjective [jan-uh k]
    British, Australian Informal. honest; fair; straightforward.
    See Full Definition

    What is the origin of jannock?

    Jannock “honest, straightforward” is a British and Australian word of recent origin and uncertain etymology, first recorded only in the 19th century.

    How is jannock used?

    ... this beautiful damsel that lived in the kingdom of the great Mogul, had many suitors--sweethearts as we call them in Lancashire--but none of them was jannock but one ... Samuel William Ryley, The Itinerant; or, Memoirs of an Actor, Volume VI, 1817

    For instance, it was "scarcely jannock" of your reviewer to suggest that I borrowed part of my plot from some other novelist when he cannot in the nature of things know that I did so. William Westall, "To the Editor of The Speaker," The Speaker, April 26, 1902

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Wednesday, January 10, 2018

    denouement

    noun [dey-noo-mahn]
    the outcome or resolution of a doubtful series of occurrences.
    See Full Definition

    What is the origin of denouement?

    Denouement is from the French word meaning literally “an untying,” equivalent to dénouer “to untie.” It ultimately derives from Latin nōdāre, derivative of nōdus “knot.” It entered English in the mid-1700s.

    How is denouement used?

    Both the irrational-Nixon and the rational-Nixon theories lead to the same denouement: "My fellow Americans ... farewell." Richard Reeves, "Nixon in the Twilight Zone," New York, November 5, 1973

    Yet, inexorably, he must be carried on to the final grim denouement. Every step he took seemed to be charted in advance. Arthur J. Burks, "The White Wasp," All Detective, May 1933

    Previous Day Load More
Sign up for our Newsletter!
Start your day with weird words, fun quizzes, and language stories.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.