Word of the Day

Word of the day

Saturday, January 01, 2022

revitalize

[ ree-vahyt-l-ahyz ]

verb (used with object)

to give new vitality or vigor to.

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What is the origin of revitalize?

Revitalize “to give new vitality or vigor to” is a compound of the prefix re- “again, back” and the verb vitalize “to give life to.” Vitalize, in turn, is formed from vital “of or relating to life” and the verbal suffix -ize. Vital, from Latin vītālis, comes from the Latin noun vīta “life,” which is derived from the same Proto-Indo-European root, gwei- “to live,” that is also the source of English quick (from Old English cwic “living”), Latin vīvere “to live” (as in vivacious and vivid), Ancient Greek bíos “life” (as in amphibian and biotic), and Ancient Greek zôion “animal” (as in protozoa and zodiac). Revitalize was first recorded in English in the late 1850s.

how is revitalize used?

In Canada, on the coastal fjords of British Columbia, within the Great Bear Rainforest, lies a swath of land the size of Ireland that protects thousand-year-old trees and the rarest bear in the world. Within it, Spirit Bear Lodge—owned and operated by the Kitasoo Xai’xais Nation—welcomes visitors from all over the world whose dollars revitalize local communities and fund further conservation, including a successful effort to stop bear hunts …. Douglas Neasloss, chief councilor of the Kitasoo Xai’xais Nation …. [says,] “We’ve been able to revitalize our culture and create a sustainable business model where we’re not pulling out a fish or cutting down a tree.”

Norie Quintos, “Should some of the world’s endangered places be off-limits to tourists?” National Geographic, October 12, 2021

The partnership between the tribe and university helped create the Myaamia Center located on the Miami campus. Center founder Daryl Baldwin of the Myaamia tribe and others revitalized a language that was declared dead in the 1960s. Since the center’s beginnings in 2001, the program has set the bar for Indigenous language and cultural revitalization, winning support from the National Science Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Andrew Mellon Foundation and others.

Mary Annette Pember, "Myaamia tribe commemorates forced removal 175 years ago," Indian Country Today, October 18, 2021

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Word of the day

Friday, December 31, 2021

golem

[ goh-luhm, -lem ]

noun

a figure artificially constructed in the form of a human being and endowed with life.

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What is the origin of golem?

Golem “a figure constructed in the form of a human and endowed with life” is a borrowing by way of Yiddish goylem from Hebrew gōlem “embryo, larva, cocoon.” This Hebrew noun is a derivative of the verb l’galēm “to embody,” from the Semitic root glm “to cut, separate.” In Jewish folklore, a golem is a humanlike being created from raw material such as clay and brought to life to perform a specific duty or task. Golem was first recorded in English in the late 1890s.

how is golem used?

First mentioned in ancient Jewish texts, a golem is an artificial being made from mud or other inanimate material that’s brought to life through the power of Hebrew letters. It became popular and known outside Judaism in a famous story about the sixteenth-century Rabbi Judah Loew who is said to have created a golem out of clay in the hope it would help protect the Jews of Prague from persecution. However, the golem has a dark side, too. It often spins out of control and its superhuman powers can become a threat to the one who created it.

Kristen Grieshaber, “Berlin’s Jewish Museum opens show on mystic golem creature,” AP News, September 22, 2016

The most famous legend of the golem was of the one created in Prague by rabbi and kabbalist Judah Loew (1525–1609) …. The Golem of Prague directly inspired Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel “Frankenstein.” While the specifics of the settings and characters may differ, the stories share points of similarity …. Hal 9000, the sen­tient supercomputer in “2001,” is the ulti­mate golem. Like the Golem of Prague and Frankenstein, HAL gains inde­pen­dence from his cre­ators…

Nathan Abrams, "Why Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001’ is the ultimate golem story," Forward, July 7, 2020
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Word of the day

Thursday, December 30, 2021

wynd

[ wahynd ]

noun

a narrow street or alley.

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What is the origin of wynd?

Wynd “a narrow street or alley” is a Scots dialectal term derived from Old English gewind “winding path.” This Old English noun is related to the verbs wandrian, wendan, and windan (the sources of wander, wend, and wind in the sense “to proceed circuitously”). While the further etymology of these verbs is uncertain, hypotheses include a connection to the Proto-Indo-European root wei- “to turn, twist,” as explored further in the etymology for the recent Word of the Day iridescent. Wynd was first recorded in English around the turn of the 15th century.

how is wynd used?

With a chuckle, quickly suppressed, lest it should bring in Kitty Wilkie, who ought to have been watching her instead of wandering down the wynd to see who was to have salt-fish for supper, the child clutched the letter triumphantly, and, toddling to the door, slipped out of the house.

J. M. Barrie, When a Man's Single, 1888

Strolling amongst the cobbled streets and steep wynds of Edinburgh, unless you’re looking out from atop Arthur’s Seat, it’s easy to forget that the Scottish capital is also home to breathtaking stretches of silvery sands and dramatic coastal views which can give travelers a completely new perspective on the city.

Rachel Davies, "The best beaches near Edinburgh for hiking, birding and wild camping," Lonely Planet. September 15, 2021
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