The 2021 Word Of The Year is…
a heated discussion, debate, or argument; fuss; to-do.
All the authorities agree that pother “commotion, uproar; heated argument” has no reliable etymology; indeed, even the words that pother may be related to, like bother, have no trustworthy etymology. (The fact that an early citation of pother is spelled bother just makes things worse.) Pother originally rhymed with other and brother; it acquired its current pronunciation by the beginning of the 19th century.
Yet what a pother is there of pismires over a grain of sand. But that grain of sand is their whole world.
“I don’t know what’s so very extraordinary about it, or why there should be such a pother,” he began; and he knew that he was insolently ignoring abundant reasons for pother, if there had been any pother. “Yes, I’m engaged.”
cleverly inventive or resourceful.
Ingenious comes from late Middle English ingenious “intelligent, resourceful, quick-witted,” from Old French ingenïos, engeignos, from Latin ingeniōsus “clever, talented, gifted.” Ingeniōsus is a derivative of the noun ingenium “natural disposition, temperament, mood; natural ability, cleverness,” and the adjectival suffix –ōsus, the source via Old French and Anglo-French of the English suffix –ous. Ingenious entered English in the second half of the 15th century.
She was an ingenious inventor who planted a seed that would blossom into some of today’s most ubiquitous technology, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, cordless phones and cell phones.
Yet as ingenious as this inventor was, their toy did not spark a societal revolution.
verb (used with object)
to entertain lavishly or agreeably; delight.
Regale “to entertain lavishly; delight” comes from the French verb régaler “to feast, entertain,” from the Old French noun regale, rigal(l)e, a derivative of gale “festivity, feast, lavish meal.” The prefix re– or ri– is borrowed from the verb (se) rigoler “to amuse (oneself)”; (se) rigoler in its turn is a derivative of galer “to make merry.” The French present participle of galer is galant, which in Middle English becomes galaunt, galant “merry, gay, gaily dressed,” English gallant. Regale entered English in the second half of the 17th century.
It used to be that road-weary travelers would regale their nightly hosts with tales of rivers forded, vistas taken in, injuries sustained, and possibly even enemies vanquished.
One dinnertime, he regaled me with the story of how Lord Byron’s challenge to Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley to write a ghostly tale led to the creation of Frankenstein.