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Word of the Day

Word of the day

Wednesday, August 04, 2021

penetralia

[ pen-i-trey-lee-uh ]

plural noun

the innermost parts or recesses of a place or thing.

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What is the origin of penetralia?

Penetralia, “the innermost parts or recesses of a place or thing,” comes straight from Latin penetrālia, the (neuter plural) noun use of the adjective penetrālis “inner, innermost, interior,” a derivative of the verb penetrāre “to penetrate, gain entrance, cross.” The Latin words are related to the preposition penes “under the control of, in the possession of,” the adverb penitus “from within, from inside,” and the plural noun Penātēs “the guardian deities of the Roman larder or pantry” (deep inside the house), who were regarded as controlling the destiny of the household. Penetralia entered English in the second half of the 17th century.

how is penetralia used?

He wished to be what he called “safe” with all those whom he had admitted to the penetralia of his house and heart.

Anthony Trollope, Barchester Towers, 1857

Lounge chairs have sprouted up in yards and driveways like propagating agave, and many of us have migrated from the penetralia of our backyards to porches and lawns.

Maria Neuman, "Why America Is Rediscovering the Social Front Yard," Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2020

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Word of the day

Tuesday, August 03, 2021

satori

[ suh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee ]

noun

sudden enlightenment.

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What is the origin of satori?

In Zen Buddhism, satori means “sudden spiritual enlightenment.” The Zen sense of satori is a more specific sense of the noun satori “comprehension, understanding,” a derivative of the verb satoru “to perceive, comprehend, awaken (spiritually).” Satori entered English in the first half of the 18th century.

how is satori used?

Perhaps Adams reached satori, emptied his mind of all thought, and then didn’t know what to think about it.

P. J. O'Rourke, "Third Person Singular," The Atlantic, December 2002

Satori is the sudden flashing into consciousness of a new truth hitherto undreamed of. It is a sort of mental catastrophe taking place all at once, after much piling up of matters intellectual and demonstrative. The piling has reached a limit of stability and the whole edifice has come tumbling to the ground, when, behold, a new heaven is open to full survey.

D. T. Suzuki, An Introduction to Zen Buddhism, 1934

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Word of the day

Monday, August 02, 2021

integument

[ in-teg-yuh-muhnt ]

noun

a natural covering, as a skin, shell, or rind.

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What is the origin of integument?

Integument, “covering, coating,” comes straight from Latin integumentum “covering, shield, guard, wrapping,” a derivative of the verb integere “to cover, overlay,” itself a compound of the preposition and prefix in, in– “in, on, upon” and the simple verb tegere “to cover, close, bury.” Tegere comes from the Proto-Indo-European root (s)teg-, (s)tog– “to cover.” The variant teg– forms Latin tēgula “a roof tile” (source of English tile). The variant tog– yields Latin toga “toga” (the loose outer garment worn by Roman male citizens in public). The variant (s)teg– yields stégē “covering” and stégos “roof” in Greek, which in turn forms the first element of English stegosaurus, literally “roofed or covered lizard” (from the row of bony plates along its back). Integument entered English in the first half of the 17th century.

how is integument used?

This is a time of year that makes me wish I could slough my skin entire, like a snake, just walk away from that old integument and step out new into the air.

Verlyn Klinkenborg, "The Rural Life; The Big Melt," New York Times, March 18, 2003

They [tanks] are not steely monsters; they are painted with drab and unassuming colours that are fashionable in modern warfare, so that the armour seems rather like the integument of a rhinoceros.

H. G. Wells, War and the Future: Italy, France and Britain at War, 1917

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