Word of the Day

Word of the day

Sunday, July 25, 2021

perorate

[ per-uh-reyt ]

verb (used without object)

to speak at length; make a long, usually grandiloquent speech.

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What is the origin of perorate?

The verb perorate, “to speak at length; make a long, grandiloquent speech,” comes from Latin perōrātus, the past participle of perōrāre “to plead, harangue, argue a case to the end; deliver the final part of a speech, wind up a case.” Perōrāre is a compound of the preposition and intensive prefix per, per– “through, thoroughly” and the simple verb ōrāre “to beseech, supplicate; speak before a court, plead.” Perōrāre and its derivative noun perōrātiō (inflectional stem perōrātiōn– “peroration”) in Latin imply grandiloquence and forcefulness, but not length, let alone long-windedness, which is a connotation that has always existed in English. Perorate entered English in the early 17th century.

how is perorate used?

And it’s simply impossible to exit a Zoom lecture gracefully. Believe me, I’ve tried. After I painstakingly perorate on Plato, a virtual red-velvet curtain should fall with flourish at the designated moment and cue the applause. Instead, we mumble, “that’s it,” and awkwardly fumble for the mouse before the screen freezes on our half-gaping mouths.

Shahidha Bari, "What We've Lost in a Year of Virtual Teaching," The Chronicle of Higher Education, February 17, 2021

She began to perorate. Her speech went on endlessly, as was always the case when Lily Young took the floor.

Antoine Volodine, Minor Angels, translated by Jordan Stump, 2004

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Word of the day

Saturday, July 24, 2021

natant

[ neyt-nt ]

adjective

swimming; floating.

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What is the origin of natant?

Natant, “swimming; floating,” began life in English in the mid-15th century as natand, a term in heraldry describing a swimming fish or dolphin. Natand is an Anglo-French derivative of the Latin participle natant– (the inflectional stem of natāns), from natāre “to swim, float.” Natāre is a frequentative verb formed from the simple verb nāre (a frequentative verb expresses repeated or frequent action). Latin nāre comes from the Proto-Indo-European root snā– (with several variants) “to swim, float.” The root appears in Sanskrit snā́ti “(he) bathes (himself)” and Greek neîn, nḗchein, nā́chein “to swim.” Irish writer Brian O’Nolan (1911-66), whose pen name was Flann O’Brien, wrote a comic masterpiece entitled At Swim-Two-Birds (1939). This title is a literal English translation of Irish Snámh Dá Éan, the name of a ford on the River Shannon. Snámh “swim, swimming” comes from the same Proto-Indo-European root snā– as the Sanskrit, Greek, and Latin words.

how is natant used?

It is said that theirs is a floating metropolis … The solemn ritual of extreme unction is performed by wet-suited priests on natant, paddle-powered funeral parlors wafting placidly along the Eel.

Michael Martone, The Blue Guide to Indiana, 2001

In the lamp glass coconut oil, because it was of the unrefined type, rested golden-hued on water, a natant disc.

Rohinton Mistry, "Condolence Visit," Tales from Firozsha Baag, 1987

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Word of the day

Friday, July 23, 2021

brouhaha

[ broo-hah-hah, broo-hah-hah, broo-hah-hah ]

noun

excited public interest, discussion, or the like, as the clamor attending some sensational event.

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What is the origin of brouhaha?

Brouhaha, “excited public interest; the clamor attending some sensational event,” comes from Medieval French brou, ha, ha, an exclamation used by characters representing the devil in 16th-century drama. Beyond that everything else is speculation. The most interesting explanation is that brou, ha, ha is a distortion of the Hebrew sentence bārūkh habbā (beshēm ădōnai) “Blessed is he who comes (in the name of the Lord)” (Psalms 118:26). Brouhaha entered English in the late 19th century.

how is brouhaha used?

“[Guy] Zinn was not a significant player. The card, and the brouhaha surrounding it, is more interesting than the man,” said John Thorn, the official historian for Major League Baseball.

Ben Berkon, "A Jewish Player's 1914 Baseball Card Triggers a $125,000 Dispute," New York Times, December 18, 2016

As always, her major concern was to live the life given to her, and her children were expected to do the same. And to do it without too much brouhaha.

Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, 1969

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