Word of the Day

Sunday, November 22, 2020

regale

[ ri-geyl ]

verb (used with object)

to entertain lavishly or agreeably; delight.

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What is the origin of regale?

Regale “to entertain lavishly; delight” comes from the French verb régaler “to feast, entertain,” from the Old French noun regale, rigal(l)e, a derivative of gale “festivity, feast, lavish meal.” The prefix re– or ri– is borrowed from the verb (se) rigoler “to amuse (oneself)”; (se) rigoler in its turn is a derivative of galer “to make merry.” The French present participle of galer is galant, which in Middle English becomes galaunt, galant “merry, gay, gaily dressed,” English gallant. Regale entered English in the second half of the 17th century.

how is regale used?

It used to be that road-weary travelers would regale their nightly hosts with tales of rivers forded, vistas taken in, injuries sustained, and possibly even enemies vanquished.

Joe Pinsker, "What Airlines Don't Get About Delays," The Atlantic, April 23, 2015

One dinnertime, he regaled me with the story of how Lord Byron’s challenge to Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley to write a ghostly tale led to the creation of Frankenstein.

Morgan Jerkins, That Will Be My Undoing, 2018 

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Saturday, November 21, 2020

crankle

[ krang-kuhl ]

verb (used with or without object)

to bend; turn; crinkle.

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What is the origin of crankle?

The uncommon verb crankle “to bend, turn; crinkle” is a frequentative verb derived from crank “to rotate a shaft with a handle or crank.” A frequentative verb is one that expresses frequent or repeated action. In English such verbs end in –er (as flutter from float, slither from slide) and –le (as dazzle from daze, bobble from bob). English frequentatives are a closed set, that is, English no longer produces frequentatives with the suffixes –er and –le. Instead, modern English expresses the frequentative by the plain present tense, e.g., “I walk to school (habitually, usually),” as opposed to the present progressive “I am walking to school (right now).” Crankle entered English at the end of the 16th century.

how is crankle used?

Two miles down, the river crankles round an alder grove.

Henry Taylor, Philip van Artevelde, 1834

She pleaded with Dagda not to take her child, but her pleading was no more than the sound that a river makes when it crankles between stones.

Alexander McCall Smith, Dream Angus, 2006

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Friday, November 20, 2020

obstreperous

[ uhb-strep-er-uhs ]

adjective

noisy, clamorous, or boisterous.

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What is the origin of obstreperous?

Obstreperous “noisy, clamorous” comes straight from the Latin adjective obstreperus, a derivative of the verb obstrepere “to make (a loud) noise against.” Obstrepere is a compound of the preposition and prefix ob, ob– “toward, against” and the simple verb strepere “to make a loud noise (of any kind), shout confusedly, clamor.” The facetious, almost comic adjective obstropolous, in existence since the first half of the 18th century, is a variant of obstreperous. Unfortunately there is no further etymology for strepere. Obstreperous entered English at the beginning of the 17th century.

how is obstreperous used?

I could not have been the only one in that obstreperous crowd, made up overwhelmingly of Michiganders, to know the presumably important fact that, well…those car plants didn’t exist.

Mark Danner, "The Con He Rode In On," New York Review of Books, November 19, 2020

For one critic, the final movement [of Beethoven’s Ninth] was sometimes “exceedingly imposing and effective” but its “Szforzandos, Crescendos, Accelerandos, and many other Os” would “call up from their peaceful graves… Handel and Mozart, to witness and deplore the obstreperous roarings of modern frenzy in their art”.

Emily Bootle, "The many Beethoven myths," New Statesman, July 22, 2020

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