Word of the Day

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

peradventure

[ pur-uhd-ven-cher, per- ]

adverb

it may be; maybe; possibly; perhaps.

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What is the origin of peradventure?

As an adverb, peradventure means “maybe, possibly, perhaps”; as a noun, peradventure means “chance, doubt, or uncertainty.” Peradventure comes from Middle English paraventur(e), peradventure (and 20 other spelling variants), from Old French and Anglo-French par aventure, peradventure. Par is an 11th-century development of Latin and Old French per “through, by, by means of.” Adventure comes from Middle English aventure, avento(u)r, adventure, from Old and Middle French aventure “destiny, fate, chance; risk, peril,” from Medieval Latin (rēs) adventūra “(thing) about to come, (thing) going to happen.” Adventūra is the future participle of the Latin verb advenīre “to come to, arrive at, reach; (of conditions) to arise, develop; (of possessions) to come into the hands of.” Peradventure entered English about 1300.

how is peradventure used?

Of a truth the phrase hath a fair and winsome grace, and is prettily worded withal. I will repeat it anon and anon in mine idlesse, whereby I may peradventure learn it.

Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, 1889

While he mused and traced it and retraced it,
(Peradventure with a pen corroded
Still by drops of that hot ink he dipped for … )

Robert Browning, "One Word More," Men and Women, 1855

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Tuesday, May 25, 2021

palaver

[ puh-lav-er, ‐lah-ver ]

noun

profuse and idle talk; chatter.

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What is the origin of palaver?

Palaver, “profuse and idle talk; chatter,” comes from Portuguese palavra “word, talk, speech” by way of sailors’ slang. Portuguese was commonly used as a trading language on the West African coast, and palaver came into English first in the sense “a parley or conference, typically between Europeans and the Indigenous people of a region, especially in West Africa.” Portuguese palavra and its Castilian counterpart palabra come from Latin parabola “comparison, explanatory illustration,” and in Late Latin (and especially in Christian Latin), “allegorical story, parable, proverb.” Metathesis, the transposition of consonants, is common in Spanish and Portuguese: the syncopated form parabla (from parabola) becomes palavra in Portuguese and palabra in Spanish, just as Latin mirāculum “miracle” becomes milagro in Spanish and milagre in Portuguese. Palaver entered English in the early 18th century.

how is palaver used?

Spend enough time at Westminster, and you will hear endless palaver about breeding and bloodlines, coat color, the correct angle for the shoulder and hip—formalities that serve as a justification for people being completely gonzo over their animals.

Judith Newman, "The Stars (and Stage Moms) of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show," New York Times, February 16, 2017

All the while in the background, from cocktail palaver to prominent blogs, there were questions about the bona fides of political appointees in the PTO leadership, some of whose backgrounds ran deep in politics and shallow on patents.

Terry Carter, "A Patent on Problems," ABA Journal, March 1, 2010

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Monday, May 24, 2021

lacustrine

[ luh-kuhs-trin ]

adjective

of or relating to a lake.

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What is the origin of lacustrine?

The adjective lacustrine, “relating to a lake; living or growing in lakes,” is a technical term used in geology (lacustrine strata, lacustrine deltas) and biology (lacustrine plants, lacustrine fauna). Lacustrine comes from French or Italian lacustre “relating to a lake” and the naturalized English adjective suffix –ine. The French and Italian adjectives are irregularly formed from Latin lacus “lake, pond, pool,” and the Latin adjective suffix –estris, –estre, on the analogy of Latin palustris, palustre “swampy, marshy,” formed from palūs “swamp, fen.” Lacustrine entered English in the first half of the 19th century.

how is lacustrine used?

Adapting to a new era of water scarcity will require enormous investments in integrated water management, particularly in the developing world. This would include … clarifying rights to the use of subterranean, riverine, and lacustrine water resources ….

Stewart M. Patrick, "Not a Drop to Drink: The Global Water Crisis," Council on Foreign Relations, May 8, 2012

The remains of another lake village have just been brought to light at Lorcas by the shrinkage of the waters of the Lake of Bienne. This appears to be one of the most interesting discoveries of the sort we have had for some time, rich as have been the last few weeks in notable lacustrine finds.

"A New Lacustrine Village," New York Times, December 29, 1878

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