Word of the Day

Saturday, September 22, 2018

polychromatic

[ pol-ee-kroh-mat-ik, -kruh- ]

adjective

having or exhibiting a variety of colors.

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What is the origin of polychromatic?

English polychromatic is a borrowing from French polychromatique, which comes from Greek polychrṓmatos “many-colored, variegated” and the suffix -ique, from the Greek suffix -ikos or the Latin suffix -icus. Polychromatic is used mostly, but not exclusively, in the physical sciences, e.g., hematology, physics, and formerly in chemistry. Polychromatic entered English in the 19th century.

how is polychromatic used?

… the degreening of leaves is a widely appreciated natural phenomenon, especially in autumn, when the foliage of deciduous trees turns into polychromatic beauty.

S. Hörtensteiner and P. Matile, "How Leaves Turn Yellow: Catabolism of Chlorophyll," Plant Cell Death Processes, 2004

Throughout, Suzy Lee’s polychromatic illustrations astonish. Each page bursts with color.

Carmela Ciuraru, "'A Dog Day,' 'Ask Me' and 'Sidewalk Flowers'," New York Times, July 10, 2015
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Friday, September 21, 2018

coup de foudre

[ kooduh foo-druh ]

noun

love at first sight.

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What is the origin of coup de foudre?

In French coup de foudre, literally “a clap of thunder,” means “love at first sight.” Modern French coup is a development of Old French coup, colp “a blow, strike,” from Late Latin colpus, from Latin colaphus, from Greek kólaphos “a slap.” French foudre “lightning” comes from Latin fulgura, the plural of the neuter noun fulgur “lightning.” Coup de foudre entered English in the 18th century.

how is coup de foudre used?

Do you believe in love at first sight? The coup de foudre, the heart falling into the stomach, the moment when Cupid’s arrow breaches the iron armor of even the hardest of hearts?

Sally Christie, The Sisters of Versailles, 2015

I mean, the coup de foudre is wonderful–seeing someone for the first time across a room and just feeling this huge surge of necessity, the knowledge that you want to be with them. But it’s not the only way. Increasingly I’m coming around to the view that the other kind is better.

Simon Brett, Penultimate Chance Saloon, 2005
Thursday, September 20, 2018

dandle

[ dan-dl ]

verb

to move (a baby, child, etc.) lightly up and down, as on one's knee or in one's arms.

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What is the origin of dandle?

The English verb dandle has no clear etymology. It looks akin to the Italian noun dandola, dondola “a (child’s) doll” and the verb dandolare “to rock, swing, dangle, dandle,” but there is no recorded evidence associating the Italian dandolare with English dandle. Dandle entered English in the 16th century.

how is dandle used?

… Paul would want me to dandle his baby on my knee. There is a time to dandle, and a time to watch a limited amount of dandling from the comfort and security of a dry easy chair across the room.

Gregory Mcdonald, Exits and Entrances, 1988

… I would like quiet, books to read, a wife to love me, and some children to dandle on my knee.

William Makepeace Thackeray, The Virginians, 1858–59

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