Word of the Day

Word of the day

Saturday, April 07, 2018

phraseology

[ frey-zee-ol-uh-jee ]

noun

manner or style of verbal expression; characteristic language: legal phraseology.

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What is the origin of phraseology?

In the early 17th century (1604) phrasiology (or phrasiologie) was the original English spelling of phraseology. There is no Greek noun phrasiología, let alone phraseología, but phrasiology is correctly derived from Greek phrásis “speech, enunciation, expression, idiom, phrase” and the combining form -logía “science (of).” The current spelling phraseology ultimately rests on the Greek word phraseologia “phrase book” of Michael Neander (1525-95), a German humanist, educator and philologist. Neander possibly derived phrase- from phráseōs, the genitive singular of phrásis. Phraseology entered English in the mid-17th century.

how is phraseology used?

The will is not exactly proper in legal phraseology.

George Bernard Shaw, The Devil's Disciple, 1897

… three previous presidents distinguished themselves through phraseology: “morning in America,” “city on a hill,” “tear down this wall,” “new world order,” “thousand points of light,” “axis of evil,” “bigotry of low expectations.”

Derek Thompson, "Donald Trump's Language Is Reshaping American Politics," The Atlantic, February 15, 2018
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Word of the day

Friday, April 06, 2018

mushyheaded

[ muhsh-ee-hed-id, moosh- ]

adjective

Informal. inadequately thought out: mushyheaded ideas.

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What is the origin of mushyheaded?

Mush, cornmeal boiled in water or milk until thick, eaten as a hot cereal, or molded and fried, is originally an Americanism dating back to the late 17th century. A derivative compound, mushhead “a stupid person,” also an Americanism, dates to the mid-19th century; its derivative adjective mush-headed “easily duped, stupid”, dates to the second half of the 19th century. Mushyheaded (or mushy-headed), a variant of mush-headed, dates to the late 20th century.

how is mushyheaded used?

Hard-headed because it accepts self-interest as the basic human motivator and does not wish it away into what Alinsky considers the mushy-headed idea that people will do good because they believe in the good.

Frank Bardacke, Trampling Out the Vintage, 2011

Though Cotton acknowledges that this might seem elitist, he derides the Federalists’ modern critics as mushy-headed and naive.

Molly Ball, "The Making of a Conservative Superstar," The Atlantic, September 17, 2014

Word of the day

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Shangri-la

[ shang-gruh-lah, shang-gruh-lah ]

noun

a faraway haven or hideaway of idyllic beauty and tranquility.

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What is the origin of Shangri-la?

The placename Shangri-La was coined by the English novelist James Hilton (1900-54), but the name has a firm Tibetan etymology. Shangri-La in Tibetan means “Shang Mountain Pass,” from Shang, the name of a region in Tibet; ri means “mountain,” and la means “pass.” Beyond the name itself, everything associated with Shangri-La is pure speculation and fantasy. Shangri-La entered English in 1933.

how is Shangri-la used?

A small settlement wedged between fjord-like Lake Chelan and the jagged eastern slopes of the Cascades, Stehekin has several comfortable lodges, an excellent bakery and, best of all, relatively few visitors. … First, of course, we had to get to this little Shangri-La.

Ethan Todras-Whitehill, "In the Cascades, a Trifecta for Outdoor Enthusiasts," New York Times, September 17, 2014

With its youth and isolation and spectacular scenery, there was a tendency to think of Los Alamos as a Shangri-La.

Katrina R. Mason, Children of Los Alamos: An Oral History of the Town Where the Atomic Age Began, 1995

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