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[ fan-taz-muh-gawr-ik, -gor- ] [ fænˌtæz məˈgɔr ɪk, -ˈgɒr- ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


having a fantastic or deceptive appearance, as something in a dream or created by the imagination.

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What is the origin of phantasmagoric?

Phantasmagoric “having a fantastic appearance” is a compound of two elements. The first is phantasm “apparition, fantasy,” from Ancient Greek phántasma “image, vision.” This, in turn, comes from the verb phaínein “to bring to light, cause to appear,” which is the source of many fant- and phant- words in English, from fantastic and fantasy to hierophant and phantom. The second element in phantasmagoric is likely to be either from Ancient Greek agorá “assembly, gathering” (as in agoraphobia) or its derivative allēgoría “figurative language” (as in allegory). Phantasmagoric was first recorded in English in the early 1810s.

how is phantasmagoric used?

When you take a tour through the main street, you will find bonfires at every step. They are built with branches collected by villagers a few days earlier in the forest around the village. The street lighting is dimmed to accentuate the almost phantasmagoric atmosphere around you.

Sergio Peréz, “Riding through flames and fury,” Reuters, February 1, 2013
[H]e saw himself surrounded by an endless succession of the ghastly forms which belong to the superstition of the Norman, or arise in the guilty slumbers of the monk. The phantasmagoric effect was vastly heightened by the artificial introduction of a strong continual current of wind behind the draperies—giving a hideous and uneasy animation to the whole.

Edgar Allan Poe, “Ligeia,” American Museum, 1838
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[ ahr-ki-tahy-puhl ] [ ˌɑr kɪˈtaɪ pəl ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


of or having the nature of an original model or prototype.

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What is the origin of archetypal?

Archetypal “having the nature of an original model,” the adjective form of the noun archetype, comes from Ancient Greek archétypon “a model, pattern.” The first element in archétypon is based on one of three related words—archḗ “beginning,” árchos “leader,” árchein “to be the first, command”—all of uncertain ultimate origin. The second element is týpos “mold, type” (earlier “blow, impression”), which may be distantly related to a variety of English st- words once connected to pushing, knocking together, cutting off, or sticking out, including steep, steeple, stepchild, stint, stock, stoop, stub, stunt, and stutter. Archetypal was first recorded in English in the 1640s.

how is archetypal used?

Often cited as the archetypal “Renaissance man,” Leonardo came from an era in which the well-rounded individual, prolific and curious of mind, was highly valued.

Lee Scott, “Why the Renaissance man–and woman–is making a comeback,” Conversation, April 26, 2016

In their book The Fourth Turning, Howe and Strauss identified four generational archetypes: Hero, Artist, Prophet, and Nomad. Each consists of people born in a roughly 20-year period. As each archetypal generation reaches the end of its 80-year lifespan, the cycle repeats.

John Mauldin, “Millennials Are Doomed To Face An Existential Crisis That Will Define The Rest Of Their Lives,” Forbes, June 24, 2016
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[ in-tur-kuh-leyt ] [ ɪnˈtɜr kəˌleɪt ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling

verb (used with object)

to insert (an extra day, month, etc.) in the calendar.

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What is the origin of intercalate?

Intercalate “to insert an extra day in the calendar” is based on the Latin verb intercalāre, of the same meaning, which is a compound of the preposition inter “between, among” and the verb calāre “to proclaim.” Though calāre looks and sounds quite a bit like English call, the two are not related; Grimm’s law shows that Latin c tends to correspond to Old English h, while Old English c is equivalent to Latin g. In this way, Latin calāre is related to Old English hlōwan “to roar,” becoming English low “to moo.” Meanwhile, English call may be related to Latin gallus “rooster.” Intercalate was first recorded in English circa 1610.

how is intercalate used?

Chinese New Year, like Passover, Rosh Hashanah and all Jewish holidays, pops up at various times each year within two months of the Gregorian calendar (January and February), because the Chinese calendar, like the Hebrew calendar, is based on the Metonic cycle, a lunisolar calendar that intercalates an extra month seven times in a 19-year cycle (as opposed to the Gregorian, with its months of varying lengths and its additional day every four years).

Seth Rogovoy, “The secret Jewish history of the Chinese New Year,” Forward, February 11, 2021

Once the existence and the length of the fraction of a day has been discovered, this difficulty can be corrected, as it is in our calendar, by intercalating a single day at regular intervals, but the discovery requires very precise methods of measurement, and throughout antiquity only approximate values for the fraction were known.

Agnes Kirsopp Michels, Calendar of the Roman Republic, 1967
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