• Word of the day
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    Saturday, January 13, 2018

    pseud

    noun [sood]
    Informal. a person of fatuously earnest intellectual, artistic, or social pretensions.
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    What is the origin of pseud?

    Pseud is a derogatory colloquialism derived by shortening from pseudointellectual. It dates from the mid-20th century.

    How is pseud used?

    But many of his students thought him a pseud for his high diction and his passion for complicated European writers. Tobias Wolff, Old School, 2003

    He hated the idea of being considered a pseud when it came to food and drink, but there were those who thought him overenthusiastic on both counts. Tim Heald, Poison at the Pueblo, 2011

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  • Word of the day
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    Friday, January 12, 2018

    silver-tongued

    adjective [sil-ver-tuhngd]
    persuasive; eloquent: a silver-tongued orator.
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    What is the origin of silver-tongued?

    Silver-tongued may be named for the pleasing resonance of a silver bell. Even more pleasing and eloquent, therefore, would be chrysostom or chrysostomos “golden-mouthed,” from Greek chrysόstomos, from chrysόs “gold” and stόma “mouth.” As an epithet, chrysostom is reserved for the ancient Greek philosopher and historian Dio (or Dion) Chrysostom (c40–c115 a.d.), but in particular for the Greek patriarch and Church Father John Chrysostom (c347–407). On the first page of Ulysses, the unreliable, malevolent narrator refers to Buck Mulligan, who has gold fillings in his teeth and a very bawdy wit, as chrysostomos. Silver-tongued entered English in the late 16th century.

    How is silver-tongued used?

    "Always speak to the folks in the back rows, my boy," said the silver-tongued orator, "and the rest will be sure to hear you." Paul O'Neil, "Grand Old King of the Senate," Life, March 26, 1965

    The American representatives were not fools, and before accepting such a proposal, they investigated it from all angles, but when they talked with silver-tongued Santa Anna, who knew English well enough to smother them with glibness at any difficult juncture, they convinced themselves that here was a noble patriot who wished only to end a disagreeable war on terms favorable to both sides. James A. Michener, Texas, 1985

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  • Word of the day
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    Thursday, January 11, 2018

    jannock

    adjective [jan-uh k]
    British, Australian Informal. honest; fair; straightforward.
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    What is the origin of jannock?

    Jannock “honest, straightforward” is a British and Australian word of recent origin and uncertain etymology, first recorded only in the 19th century.

    How is jannock used?

    ... this beautiful damsel that lived in the kingdom of the great Mogul, had many suitors--sweethearts as we call them in Lancashire--but none of them was jannock but one ... Samuel William Ryley, The Itinerant; or, Memoirs of an Actor, Volume VI, 1817

    For instance, it was "scarcely jannock" of your reviewer to suggest that I borrowed part of my plot from some other novelist when he cannot in the nature of things know that I did so. William Westall, "To the Editor of The Speaker," The Speaker, April 26, 1902

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  • Word of the day
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    Wednesday, January 10, 2018

    denouement

    noun [dey-noo-mahn]
    the outcome or resolution of a doubtful series of occurrences.
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    What is the origin of denouement?

    Denouement is from the French word meaning literally “an untying,” equivalent to dénouer “to untie.” It ultimately derives from Latin nōdāre, derivative of nōdus “knot.” It entered English in the mid-1700s.

    How is denouement used?

    Both the irrational-Nixon and the rational-Nixon theories lead to the same denouement: "My fellow Americans ... farewell." Richard Reeves, "Nixon in the Twilight Zone," New York, November 5, 1973

    Yet, inexorably, he must be carried on to the final grim denouement. Every step he took seemed to be charted in advance. Arthur J. Burks, "The White Wasp," All Detective, May 1933

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  • Word of the day
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    Tuesday, January 09, 2018

    suspiration

    noun [suhs-puh-rey-shuh n]
    a long, deep sigh.
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    What is the origin of suspiration?

    English suspiration comes directly from Latin suspīrātiōn-, the stem of the noun suspīrātiō “a sigh,” a derivative of the verb suspīrāre “to fetch a deep breath, breathe out, exclaim with a sigh.” The combining form su- is a reduced form of the preposition and prefix sub “under, from under.” The Latin verb spīrāre “to breathe” is also the source of English spirit and sprite. Suspiration entered English in the 16th century.

    How is suspiration used?

    ‘Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother … Nor windy suspiration of forced breath ... That can denote me truly. William Shakespeare, Hamlet, 1603

    ... the breast dilated and swelled, as when one draws a heavy suspriation; no sound accompanied the motion. , "A Soldier's Recollections: A Ghost Story," Tait's Edinburgh Magazine, No. XIII, April 1883

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  • Word of the day
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    Monday, January 08, 2018

    stardust

    noun [stahr-duhst]
    a naively romantic quality: There was stardust in her eyes.
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    What is the origin of stardust?

    Stardust was first recorded in 1835–45.

    How is stardust used?

    "I seem to remember you had a different opinion of her once." ... "I guess I must've had some stardust in my eyes. But that was a thousand years ago. ..." Alan Hunter, Gently with Love, 1975

    It sounds corny, but I got stardust in my eyes the first time I saw the boulevard. Harold Robbins, Never Enough, 2001

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  • Word of the day
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    Sunday, January 07, 2018

    horsefeathers

    interjection [hawrs-feth-erz]
    Slang. rubbish; nonsense; bunk (used to express contemptuous rejection).
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    What is the origin of horsefeathers?

    Horsefeathers is a polite euphemism, originally American, for the impolite horseshit. The cartoonist William “Billie” De Beck (1890–1942) claimed credit for coining the word in 1928.

    How is horsefeathers used?

    At the risk of seeming disrespectful, I rise to cry: "Horsefeathers!" John R. Tunis, "Are Fraternities Worthwhile? No!" The Rotarian, September 1937

    "Horsefeathers!" Gus snorted. "Why, that's the dumbest--" Arnold Bateman, "Gus," Boys' Life, April 1949

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