Word of the Day

Saturday, June 29, 2019

prismatic

[ priz-mat-ik ]

adjective

spectral in color; brilliant: prismatic colors.

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What is the origin of prismatic?

Prismatic ultimately comes from the Greek noun prîsma (inflectional stem prísmat-) “something sawed, sawdust, (in geometry) trilateral column, prism.” Prîsma is a derivative of príein “to saw, trephine (skulls), grind or gnash (teeth), cut off (syllables).” Prismatic entered English in the 17th century.

how is prismatic used?

He noted the prismatic colors in all the dewdrops upon a million blades of grass.

Ambrose Bierce, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," 1890

We get beautiful effects from wit,—all the prismatic colors,—but never the object as it is in fair daylight.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, "The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table," The Atlantic Monthly, January 1858
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Friday, June 28, 2019

symposiarch

[ sim-poh-zee-ahrk ]

noun

a toastmaster.

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What is the origin of symposiarch?

The uncommon noun symposiarch comes straight from Greek symposíarchos “leader or master of a symposium,” extended in English to “toastmaster.” The suffix –arch (and prefix arch-) “chief, leader, ruler” is naturalized in English. Sympósion “drinking party” breaks down to the prefix syn– “with, together with” and –posion, a derivative of pósis “drinking, a drink,” from pínein “to drink.” Symposiarch entered English in the early 17th century.

how is symposiarch used?

By election, or by some other means, a symposiarch was selected to preside over the mixing and the toasts.

James N. Davidson, Courtesans and Fishcakes, 1997

After dinner, the symposiarch, who acted as master of ceremonies, laid down the rules for the evening and established the order of events.

Michael Norris, Greek Art: From Prehistoric to Classical, 2000
Thursday, June 27, 2019

strawhat

[ straw-hat ]

adjective

of or relating to a summer theater situated outside an urban or metropolitan area: strawhat theater; strawhat circuit.

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What is the origin of strawhat?

Strawhat used as an attributive or adjective, as in strawhat circuit, was originally an Americanism and referred to the custom, still common, of people wearing straw hats in the summer for comfort. Strawhat entered English in the mid-1930s.

how is strawhat used?

Indeed, the strawhat impresario is not only at the mercy of the the customers but he is also subject to the tribulations and vagaries of the actors ….

Charlotte Harmon, "Confessions of a Strawhat Impresario," New York Times, June 16, 1957

After a million-dollar restoration, the old house reopened as a strawhat theater in 1963 with Price, a recent graduate of the Yale Drama School, as general manager.

Lynne Baranski, "Michael Price's Goodspeed Opera Doesn't Just Try Out Broadway Hits—It Creates Them," People, November 19, 1979

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