Word of the Day

Friday, May 24, 2019

proselyte

[ pros-uh-lahyt ]

noun

a person who has changed from one opinion, religious belief, sect, or the like, to another; convert.

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What is the origin of proselyte?

The English noun proselyte comes via Old French and Late Latin prosēlytus “sojourner, foreigner, stranger, a convert from paganism to Judaism.” Prosēlytus first occurs in the Vulgate, the Latin version of the Bible, prepared chiefly by Saint Jerome at the end of the 4th century a.d. Prosēlytus comes from Greek prosḗlytos “one who has arrived, stranger, sojourner.” Prosḗlytos and its kindred terms occur in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible dating from the 3rd century b.c.) and the Greek New Testament. Prosḗlytos is equivalent to an unrecorded prosḗlythos, a derivative of the verb prosérchesthai “to come forward, go, approach.” Proselyte entered English in the 14th century.

how is proselyte used?

… I began to believe that if he did not make a proselyte of me, I should certainly make one of him ….

Charlotte Lennox, Henrietta, 1758

Still, proselytes often find that being Paleo quickly becomes a round-the-clock duty.

Alex Williams, "The Paleo Lifestyle: The Way, Way, Way Back," New York Times, September 19, 2014
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Thursday, May 23, 2019

overmorrow

[ oh-ver-mawr-oh, ‐mor-oh ]

noun

the day after tomorrow: I’ve heard that tomorrow and overmorrow may bring exceptionally high waves.

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What is the origin of overmorrow?

Overmorrow had a brief history, first recorded in the first half of the 16th century and lasting into the second half of that same century. The rare word occurred in the phrase “today, tomorrow, and overmorrow.”

how is overmorrow used?

It comes round on the overmorrow / Then why we wake we know aright.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832), Faust, translated by Thomas E. Webb, 1880

“Do ye stop in tha cove over ‘morrow, Ralph?” she asked, with a sanguine intonation.

W. F. Alexander, "Down Zabuloe Way," The Gentleman's Magazine, August 1898
Wednesday, May 22, 2019

self-possessed

[ self-puh-zest, self- ]

adjective

having or showing control of one's feelings, behavior, etc.; composed; poised.

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What is the origin of self-possessed?

The adjective self-possessed, which entered English in the mid-18th century, is a derivative of the earlier noun self-possession, which appeared a hundred years earlier.

how is self-possessed used?

There was an occasional copied page of her diary in which she appeared contented, and self-possessed: autonomous in a way I could not imagine for myself.

Alice Walker, Possessing the Secret of Joy, 1992

Unburdening himself his coat, he was not self-possessed enough to find in his pocket the scroll of resolutions which every one saw protruding from it …

Wendell Phillips, "Mobs and Education," Speeches, Lectures, and Letters, 1863

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