Word of the Day

Friday, October 19, 2018

ploce

[ ploh-see ]

noun

Rhetoric. the repetition of a word or phrase to gain special emphasis or to indicate an extension of meaning, as in Ex. 3:14: “I am that I am.”

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What is the origin of ploce?

The uncommon English rhetorical term ploce comes via Late Latin plocē from Greek plokḗ, a noun with many meanings: “twining, twisting, braid; complication (of a dramatic plot); construction (of a syllogism); web, web of deceit; (in biology) histological structure; (in rhetoric) repetition of the same word in close succession in a slightly different sense or for emphasis” (e.g., “A man should act like a man”). Greek plokḗ comes from the verb plékein “to weave, braid, twine,” from the Proto-Indo-European root plek-, plok-, source of Latin plicāre “to fold, bend, roll, twine” and the combining form -plex, used in forming numerals, e.g. simplex, duplex, triplex (equivalent to English -fold). The Proto-Indo-European neuter noun ploksom becomes flahsam in Germanic and flax in English. In Slavic (Polish), plek- forms the verb pleść “to plait, weave.” Ploce entered English in the 16th century.

how is ploce used?

Ploce is the repetition of the same word under different forms or with different meanings in the same sentence…. as–“Judge not, that ye be not judged.”

James De Mille, The Elements of Rhetoric, 1878

There he found examples of such figures or tropes as synechdoche, metonymy, meiosis, amplification, ploce, polyptoton, etc., all designed to enhance the style of the would-be poet and preacher.

Donald E. Stanford, "Edward Taylor," Major Writers of Early American Literature, 1976
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Thursday, October 18, 2018

cryonaut

[ krahy-uh-nawt ]

noun

a person whose dead body has been preserved by the technique of cryonics.

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What is the origin of cryonaut?

The rare noun cryonaut derives clearly and simply from the Greek nouns krýos “icy cold” and naútēs “sailor.” Krýos comes from the Proto-Indo-European root kreus-, krus- “to freeze, form a crust,” from which Greek also derives krýstallos “ice” (English crystal). Krus- is also the source of Latin crusta “a hard covering, scab, crust.” Naútēs is a derivative of the noun naûs “ship,” from the same Proto-Indo-European source as Latin nāvis “ship,” nauta “sailor,” and nāvigāre “travel by ship.” Cryonaut entered English in the 20th century.

how is cryonaut used?

… cryonics … has now been around for 60 years, since the death of retired psychology professor James H. Bedford. Alcor, the company that still has his body in a frozen chamber, calls him the first “cryonaut.”

Kat Eschner, "The First Cryonic Preservation Took Place Fifty Years Ago Today," Smithsonian, January 12, 2017

For the moment, preservation is a pricey proposition, largely because each “cryonaut” must set aside enough capital to pay for maintenance indefinitely out of interest alone.

Michael Cieply, “They Freeze Death if Not Taxes,” Los Angeles Times, September 9, 1990
Wednesday, October 17, 2018

thunderstone

[ thuhn-der-stohn ]

noun

any of various stones or fossils formerly thought to be fallen thunderbolts.

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What is the origin of thunderstone?

Thunderstone in the sense “thunderbolt” dates from the end of the 16th century; the sense “stone or fossil” dates from the late 17th century.

how is thunderstone used?

Palta might not be hidden from the sky; thus the sacred thunder-stone of Terminus at Rome stood under a hole in the roof of Jupiter’s temple …

Robert Graves, The Greek Myths, 1955

In Germany until the early 20th century people believed in the magic properties of the devil’s fingers, known also as catstones, thunderstones, wombstones or even candles of the dead. According to ancient lore these strange stones are falling from the sky and witches can use them to cause thunderstorms.

David Bressan, "Fire burn, and cauldron bubble ... The Thunderstone," Scientific American, October 28, 2013

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