Word of the Day

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

pullulate

[ puhl-yuh-leyt ]

verb

to breed, produce, or create rapidly.

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What is the origin of pullulate?

The English verb pullulate derives from the Latin verb pullulāre “to sprout, put forth shoots, bring forth,” a derivative of the noun pullus “young animal, foal.” The Latin words derive from the Proto-Indo-European root pau-, pōu-, pū- (with various suffixes) “little, small, few.” The suffixed forms pau-o- and pau-ko form Germanic (English) few and Latin paucus “small, slight,” respectively (the Latin adjective is also the source of Spanish and Italian poco). The suffixed form pō-los yields Greek pôlos “foal, young girl, young boy,” and Germanic (English) foal. The suffixed form pu-er- forms Latin puer “boy” and puella “girl” (from assumed puerla). Pullulate entered English in the early 17th century.

how is pullulate used?

Abundant foodstuffs, a benign climate, lack of natural enemies, high reproductive rate, minimal shooting pressure, and adequate habitat had all combined to allow the birds to pullulate wildly out of control–in fact to reach pestilential proportions.

Stuart Williams, "Andean Doves Come High," Field & Stream, July 1972

It is evident, for anyone with eyes to see, that for half a century, animals and people alike have tended to multiply, to proliferate, to pullulate in a truly disquieting proportion.

Eugene Mouton, "The End of the World," 1872
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Monday, March 19, 2018

dornick

[ dawr-nik ]

noun

a small stone that is easy to throw.

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What is the origin of dornick?

Dornick is an Americanism dating back to 1830–40 from Irish dornóg “small stone, handful,” from dorn “fist.”

how is dornick used?

Indulging a few moments’ contemplation of its freckled rind, I broke it open with a stone, a rock, a dornick, in boy’s language.

Mark Twain, "Mighty Mark Twain Overawes Marines," New York Times, May 12, 1907

The rock throwers must have been cads or they wouldn’t have flung a dornick at that small bundle of pink-and-white loveliness …

Pete Martin, Have Tux, Will Travel, 1954
Sunday, March 18, 2018

polemology

[ poh-luh-mol-uh-jee ]

noun

the analysis of human conflict and war, particularly international war.

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What is the origin of polemology?

Polemology was first recorded in 1935–40. It comes from Greek pólemos “war” and -logy, a combining form used in the names of bodies of knowledge.

how is polemology used?

Closely related to the surge of interest in aggressive human behavior is the rise of a new science: polemology.

Walter Sullivan, "An Attack on Man the Aggressor," New York Times, August 26, 1968

For the study of Greek warfare, or the polemology of ancient Greece, cannot be separated from the project of a general, very broadly political history of ancient Greek civic mentality, social structure and economic organization.

Paul Cartledge, Spartan Reflections, 2001

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