Word of the Day

Word of the day

Saturday, December 04, 2021

ransack

[ ran-sak ]

verb (used with object)

to search through for plunder; pillage.

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What is the origin of ransack?

Ransack “to search thoroughly through” derives via Middle English from Old Norse rannsaka “to search, examine (a house for stolen goods), pillage,” a compound of rann “house” and saka “to search.” Rann is a close relative of the English word barn, which was originally a compound of bere “barley” and ern or ǣrn “house.” Saka, a variant of sœkja, is a cognate of the English verbs seek and beseech; in combination with rann, the resulting verb rannsaka originally entailed searching through a house. This definition broadened over time to refer to searching through any building and then shifted to include violence and theft. Ransack was first recorded in English in the early 1200s.

how is ransack used?

Regarded as a symbol of the power and aggression of church and monarchy, the building was ransacked during the French Revolution. The heads of the 28 statues in the Gallery of Kings on the main doorway were struck from their bodies, … Lead from the roof was pillaged for bullets. The bronze bells were melted down to make cannon. Only the enormous Emmanuel bell … was spared.

José Luís Corral Fuentes, “An 800-year history of Paris's Notre Dame Cathedral,” National Geographic, April 15, 2019

A self-described Michigan “soccer mom” who had “every belonging” taken from her family in a 2014 drug raid has been cleared of all criminal charges, 19 months after heavily armed drug task force members ransacked her home and her business. But in many ways, her ordeal is only beginning.

Christopher Ingraham, "What life is like after police ransack your house and take ‘every belonging’—then the charges are dropped," Washington Post, March 30, 2016

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Word of the day

Friday, December 03, 2021

stewardship

[ stoo-erd-ship, styoo- ]

noun

the responsible overseeing and protection of something considered worth caring for and preserving.

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What is the origin of stewardship?

Stewardship is a compound of the common noun steward “a manager of someone’s property or finances” and the native English suffix –ship, which denotes condition, office, or skill. From about the beginning of the 20th century, stewardship in many Christian denominations has acquired the sense “obligation for the responsible use of time, money, and talents in the service of God and of one’s neighbor.” Stewardship entered English in the 15th century.

how is stewardship used?

Stewardship means, for most of us, find your place on the planet, dig in, and take responsibility from there—the tiresome but tangible work of school boards, county supervisors, local foresters—local politics. … Get a sense of workable territory, learn about it, and start acting point by point.

Gary Snyder, Turtle Island, 1974

On the campaign trail, [Michelle Wu] put forward bold policy proposals and vowed to use the bully pulpit of the mayorship to push for change in arenas outside the purview of City Hall, such as rent control and a fare-free T system …. Wu laid out an agenda to take on inequality and “uneven opportunity” in Boston under her stewardship.

Christopher Gavin, "7 things to know about Michelle Wu," Boston.com, November 2, 2021

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