Word of the Day

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

rhubarb

[ roo-bahrb ]

noun

a quarrel or squabble.

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What is the origin of rhubarb?

Rhubarb has a complicated origin. There are several odd Middle English spellings (as one would expect), e.g., reubarb, reubard, reubarbe, etc., from Anglo-French or Middle French reubarbe, rubarbe, reu barbare, all from Late Latin reubarbarum, rheubarbarum. The Latin forms are probably from Greek rhêon bárbaron “foreign rhubarb.” Rhêon is a variant of rhâ “the dried root of rhubarb used as a medicine,” perhaps ultimately related to Persian (an Iranian language) rewend “rhubarb.” Ancient Greek authors also associated rhâ (or Rhâ) with the Scythian (another Iranian language) name for the Volga River. The baseball slang meaning of rhubarb “a loud quarrel on the field, especially between a player and an umpire,” dates from about 1938. Rhubarb entered English in the late 14th century.

how is rhubarb used?

Power, newly acquired from the Minnesota Twins, was accused of the action during a rhubarb with the umpire on a play at third base.

Jet, "'Spitting' Accusation May Cost Vic Power $1,750," July 30, 1964

… Tom Meany stopped in a tavern the day after this thing happened … and the bartender said, “We had quite the rhubarb last night, Mr. Meany.”

Red Barber and Robert Creamer, Rhubarb in the Catbird Seat, 1968
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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

bardolatry

[ bahr-dol-uh-tree ]

noun

great or excessive adoration of or reverence for William Shakespeare: I crossed the line into bardolatry halfway through my thesis on the psyche of Lady Macbeth.

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What is the origin of bardolatry?

Bardolatry, an excessive devotion to “the Bard” (William Shakespeare), is a combination of bard, from common Celtic bardos (Old Irish bard, Welsh bardd), and the combining form –latry, from Greek latreía “service, worship.” Bardolatry was coined by George Bernard Shaw in 1901.

how is bardolatry used?

So much for Bardolatry!

George Bernard Shaw, "Better Than Shakespear?" Three Plays for Puritans, 1901

… a fellow who’d been sizing up Aaron’s Bardolatry credentials had boasted that he himself had disproven all three leading theories about the identities of Shakespeare’s Dark Lady and Fair Youth, and would soon be the one to unearth the true identities of Shakespeare’s female and male paramours.

Rachel Kadish, The Weight of Ink, 2017
Monday, April 22, 2019

Anthropocene

[ an-thruh-puh-seen, an-throp-uh‐ ]

noun

Geology.

a proposed epoch of the present time, occurring since mid-20th century, when human activity began to effect significant environmental consequences, specifically on ecosystems and climate.

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What is the origin of Anthropocene?

Anthropocene is a compound of Greek ánthrōpos “human being, man (as opposed to an animal or a god)” and the English combining form –cene, which was extracted from words like Miocene, Pliocene, and Oligocene, names of geological strata and epochs. The combining form –cene ultimately comes from the Greek adjective kainós “new, recent”; it was coined by the English geologist Sir Charles Lyell (1797–1875). Anthropocene entered English in the 20th century.

how is Anthropocene used?

He proposed that humans had so throughly altered the fundamental processes of the planet—through agriculture, climate change, and nuclear testing, and other phenomena—that a new geological epoch had commenced: the Anthropocene, the age of humans.

Robinson Meyer, "Geology's Timekeepers Are Feuding," The Atlantic, July 20, 2018

The meetings addressed ideas including how to accessibly present complex data, and grappled with many aspects of life in the Anthropocene age—today’s geological era, marked by human domination of the environment.

Kimberly Bradley, "The End Is Nigh. Can Design Save Us?" New York Times, March 20, 2019

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