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Ravelment, “entanglement; confusion,” is a compound of the verb ravel “to tangle, entangle” and the noun suffix –ment, here denoting a resulting state. Ravel most likely comes from Dutch ravelen “to become entangled or confused, (of fabric or thread) to fray.” Ravelment entered English in the first half of the 19th century.
We are prone to seek out one cause as the single cause, which by itself determines all later events in a chain of events. But historical causes are a ravelment and there can be no single turning point from which all events flow.
This jagged shard of American history has become a ravelment of an election, a tangle of confusion and complexity.
a tendency to think favorably of something in particular; partiality; preference.
Predilection, “a tendency to think favorably of something; partiality; preference,” has several origins. One is Middle French prédilection, from the second half of the 15th century; another is Italian predilezione from the early 17th century ; and the final source is the rare Medieval Latin noun praedīlectiō (inflectional stem praedīlectiōn-), dating from the 10th century. Praedīlectiō is a derivative of the verb praedīligere, “to prefer over others,” a compound of the preposition and prefix prae, prae– “before” and dīligere “to love” (usually not as strong as amāre). Dīligere in turn is a compound of the prefix dis– “apart” and the simple verb legere “to choose, select.” Predilection entered English in the first half of the 17th century.
It turns out that Swedes have an unlikely predilection for the American South. The Scandinavian country is a major hub for country music. Swedes have their own square dancing association. And thanks to one man, Johan Fritzell, they also have Holy Smoke BBQ, arguably the most authentic Texas barbecue in all of Europe.
Most of us hold unrealistically optimistic views of the future, research shows, downplaying the likelihood that we will have bad experiences. Now a study… has found clues to the brain’s predilection for the positive, identifying regions that may fuel this “optimism bias” by preferentially responding to rosier information.
the mid-central, neutral vowel sound typically occurring in unstressed syllables in English, however spelled, as the sound of a in alone and sofa, e in system, i in easily, o in gallop, u in circus.
Schwa, the neutral vowel sound like the a in sofa, comes via German Schwa from Hebrew shəwā, a variant of shāw’, literally “nothingness, emptiness, vanity.” Jewish grammarians used the word to mean “a diacritic mark that shows a neutral vowel quality or no vowel at all.” Schwa entered English toward the end of the 19th century.
The top six girls’s names in 2014—Emma, Olivia, Sophia, Isabella, Ava, and Mia—all end in “a,” and, what’s more, they end in the same unstressed vowel sound that linguists call schwa.
The schwa—the vowel sound at the end of the word “America,” represented in dictionary pronunciation guides with a backward and upside down “e” (ə)—is the most common vowel sound in the English language.