Word of the Day

Monday, April 13, 2020

quidnunc

[ kwid-nuhngk ]

noun

a person who is eager to know the latest news and gossip; a gossip or busybody.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of quidnunc?

Quidnunc comes from Latin quid nunc “what now?”  Readers of the Roman poet Horace might recognize quidnunc as a quote from one of his humorous and elegant Epistles: “Albius, frank judge of my Epistles, / What now shall I say you are doing …?” Horace’s two lines are a trope for someone who wants to hear all the latest gossip, like Horace, the second person narrator in his Epistle. Quidnunc entered English in the early 18th century.

how is quidnunc used?

It’s hard enough to get on with one’s life without the tittle-tattle of a quidnunc spotlighting your weaknesses.

James Tate, "Friends," Dreams of a Robot Dancing Bee, 2002

It is a restaurant with a loyal clientele and, as a quidnunc might put it, a place whose fame has been hushed about for seven years.

Craig Claiborne, "Restaurant on Review: Chinese Fare," New York Times, July 14, 1961

Listen to the word of the day

quidnunc

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00
quiz icon
WHAT'S YOUR WORD IQ?
Think you're a word wizard? Try our word quiz, and prove it!
TAKE THE QUIZ
arrows pointing up and down
SYNONYM OF THE DAY
Double your word knowledge with the Synonym of the Day!
SEE TODAY'S SYNONYM

Get A Vocabulary Boost In Your Inbox

Get the Word of the Day every day!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Sunday, April 12, 2020

daffadowndilly

[ daf-uh-doun-dil-ee ]

noun

Chiefly British Dialect.

a daffodil.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of daffadowndilly?

Daffodil has given rise to many, many playful, fanciful variations: daffadowndilly, daffadoondilly, daffadilly, daffodilly, daffydowndilly. The Middle English word is affodil (also affadil and affedil) “asphodel,” the name of several plants, including the daffodil. Affodil comes from French affadille and Medieval Latin affodillus (also asfodillus), from Latin asphodelus, from Greek asphódelos “asphodel.” Spellings with and without initial d– have always existed side-by-side in English, but the initial d– in daffadowndilly (and daffodil) has never been satisfactorily explained. Daffadowndilly entered English in the 16th century.

how is daffadowndilly used?

With your kirtle of green and your gay yellow gown, Daffadowndilly.

Ellen Thorneycroft Fowler, "Daffadowndilly," Love's Argument and Other Poems, 1905

Growing in the vale / By the uplands hilly, / Growing straight and frail, / Lady Daffadowndilly.

Christina Rossetti, "Growing in the Vale," Sing-Song: A Nursery Rhyme Book, 1872

Listen to the word of the day

daffadowndilly

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00
Saturday, April 11, 2020

cosset

[ kos-it ]

verb (used with object)

to treat as a pet; pamper; coddle.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of cosset?

The verb cosset “to treat as a pet, pamper, coddle” is a derivative verb use of the noun cosset “a lamb raised as a pet.” The noun cosset has no certain etymology, but it has been suggested that it comes from Middle English cot-sēte “cottage dweller, cottager,” from Old English cot-sǣta. Cot-sēte, a rare enough word, is last recorded about 1400. Modern cosset (in the sense “pet lamb”) first appears in English in The Shepheardes Calender (1579) by Edmund Spenser, who uses words and spellings that were already archaic in his time.

how is cosset used?

It occurred to me, as I took my bag over, that it might be airline policy to comfort those who were going home for reasons such as mine with an upgrade, to cosset them through the night with quiet sympathy and an extra blanket or something.

Colm Tóibín, "One Minus One," The New Yorker, April 30, 2007

We cosset and succor its every sniffle with enormous devotion, even as we more or less ignore the increasingly urgent fever that the globe is now running.

Bill McKibben, "Money? Happiness. QED." Mother Jones, March–April 2007

Listen to the word of the day

cosset

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00

Get A Vocabulary Boost In Your Inbox

Get the Word of the Day every day!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.