Can You Guess The
Word Of The Year?
the study of elections.
Psephology, “the study of elections,” comes from Greek psêphos “small stone, pebble.” (The Greeks used pebbles in counting and arithmetic functions; the ancient Athenians also used pebbles to cast votes in elections and trials.) The element –logy is the completely naturalized combining form used in the names of sciences (geology, biology) and bodies of knowledge (theology, astrology). The 20th-century British historian R.B. McCallum wrote in a personal letter that while with C.S. Lewis and other heavy-hitting philologists, he proposed the term electionology, which so offended the sensibilities of Lewis and the others that they proposed the etymologically correct psephology, avoiding the dreadful Latin-Greek hybrid. Psephology entered English in the mid-20th century.
You don’t need a degree in psephology from the Kennedy School of Government to figure out that without the female vote and the male vote it’s hard to be elected President.
Well, for one thing, we’re inveterate psephology addicts—but also, the more special elections that occur, the more data we have to identify patterns not only across special elections, but within them.
a cloud, aura, atmosphere, etc., surrounding a person or thing.
Nimbus, “shining cloud surrounding a deity; dense clouds with ragged edges,” comes straight from Latin nimbus, “rainstorm, rain cloud, cloud (of smoke), cloudburst.” Nimbus comes from a complicated Proto-Indo-European root (e)nebh-, (n)embh– “damp, vapor, cloud,” as in Sanskrit nábhas– “fog, vapor, cloud, heaven,” Latin nebula, Greek nephélē, néphos “cloud,” Old Irish nem and Welsh nef, both meaning “heaven,” Polish niebo “sky, heaven,” Hittite nebis “heaven,” German Nebel “fog, mist,” and Old Norse nifl–heimr “home of fog, abode of the dead, Niflheim.” Nimbus entered English in the early 17th century.
She had a capacity for excess, and a nimbus of exhausted hedonism trailed along with her.
It is curious how certain words accumulate a nimbus of positive associations, while others, semantically just as innocuous, wind up shrouded in bad feelings.
something wanted or needed.
The noun desideratum (plural desiderata) means “something wanted or needed.” It is a noun use of the Latin neuter past participle dēsīderātum, from the verb dēsīderāre “to long for, desire.” According to the Roman grammarian Festus, dēsīderāre and its close relative cōnsīderāre “to observe attentively, contemplate,” were compound verbs formed from sīdus (stem sīder-) “heavenly body, star, planet,” that is, dēsīderāre and cōnsīderāre were originally terms used in astrology in general or Roman augury in particular, but aside from Festus there isn’t much evidence for the sidereal connection. Desideratum entered English in the 17th century.
Power becomes its own desideratum. The search for it can trump economic well being, stability and safety.
Sitzfleisch, or “sitting still,” became the ultimate desideratum for showing one’s understanding of the new language of classical music.
mild or merciful in disposition or character; lenient; compassionate.
Clement, “mild in disposition, merciful,” comes from Latin clēmēns (inflectional stem clēment-) “merciful, lenient, mild (of weather), calm (of water).” Clēmēns has no reliable etymology; its most common derivative is the noun clēmentia “clemency, leniency.” The phrase “clemency of Caesar” is not much used nowadays: It comes from Latin Clēmentia Caesaris, which first appears as part of an inscription on a Roman coin dating to 44 b.c., therefore shortly before Caesar’s assassination, and a nice bit of propaganda in his honor. Clement entered English in the late 15th century.
I know you are more clement than vile men Who of their broken debtors take a third …
And the spirit of the times is happily growing more clement toward a greater fulness and variety of life.
grumpy or moody; sulky.
Mardy is a British dialect (the North and Midlands) adjective and noun meaning “spoiled, spoiled child; childish sulkiness.” Mardy is most likely formed from the adjective marred “damaged, spoiled,” originally the past participle of mar, and the native adjective suffix –y. Mardy entered English in the second half of the 19th century.
There was a fleeting reference to the Doctor being in a “mardy mood” during the opening scene. Otherwise, no sign.
Pa would rise before daylight had kicked nighttime into touch. He’d return after dark, when he’d be mardy until he’d eaten.
one whose personality type is intermediate between extrovert and introvert.
Ambivert, literally “turned both ways,” is a term used in psychology, meaning “one whose personality type is between introvert and extrovert.” Ambivert is based on Latin elements: the prefix ambi– “both, on both sides, around” (as in English ambient “surrounding, encompassing” and ambiguous “open to several interpretations”), and the suffix –vert, extracted from the verb vertere “to turn” (as in English convert “to turn completely,” and divert “to turn aside, deflect”). Ambivert, first recorded in 1927, is modeled on the somewhat earlier words introvert (1916) and extrovert (1918).
Drew was more of an ambivert. He wasn’t as outgoing as his younger sister, but he wasn’t as reserved as his parents either.
A well-developed ambivert, he [Abraham Lincoln] could hold complexity and contradiction to stand firmly behind words America desperately needed ….
style of speaking or writing as dependent upon choice of words.
Diction ultimately comes from Latin dictiō (inflectional stem dictiōn-) “speaking, act of speaking, (oracular) utterance, word, expression,” a derivative of the verb dīcere “to say, speak, talk.” Dictiō, though a word in general Latin vocabulary, is naturally connected very closely with rhetoric and law, two very important professions among the Romans. Dīcere, earlier deicere, comes from the very common Proto-Indo-European root deik- (also deig-), dik- (dig-) “to show, point out,” and appears in Greek deíknysthai “to show, point out,” Gothic ga-teihan “to show, make clear,” and German zeigen “to show.” The 13th-century English philologist, grammarian, and university professor John of Garland coined the word dictiōnārius as the title for one of his Latin textbooks in which he grouped lexical items thematically. Garland explained that his dictiōnārius was not based on the sense of dictiō as a single word, but dictiō in the sense of connected discourse. In the 14th century the Benedictine monk, translator, and encyclopedist Pierre Bersuire used the term dictiōnārium as the title for an alphabetical encyclopedia of the Vulgate (St. Jerome’s version of the Latin Bible, completed at the end of the 4th century). By the 15th century, dictiōnārium acquired the generalized sense “alphabetized wordbook.” Diction entered English in the 15th century.
She did more than powder noses; she advised on diction and apparel and helped commanders in chief put their best selves forward for television.
His diction mirrors the emotional gravity in each scene, which, combined with raw honesty, is what makes his writing so relatable.