Word of the Day

Sunday, October 11, 2020

roister

[ roi-ster ]

verb (used without object)

to act in a swaggering, boisterous, or uproarious manner.

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What is the origin of roister?

The English verb roister, “to act boisterously; to revel without restraint,” started life as a noun meaning “noisy bully” (now roisterer), from Middle French rustre, ru(i)stre “ruffian, boor, lout,” from the adjective ruste “rude, rough,” from the Latin adjective rusticus “rural, rustic.” Roister entered English in the 16th century.

how is roister used?

Haerlem, Schiedam and Olifant were the ships, and they tied up so that their sailors could roister ashore, and large fights broke out because sailors from the first two ships, which bore honorable names, began to tease those. from the Olifant, Dutch for elephant.

James A. Michener, The Covenant, 1980

Their tails had become sticky with pine sap, then got knotted together as the squirrels roistered around.

John Kelly, "What do you do when five baby squirrels accidentally tie their tails together?" Washington Post, April 16, 2019

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Saturday, October 10, 2020

newfangled

[ noo-fang-guhld, -fang-, nyoo- ]

adjective

of a new kind or fashion.

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What is the origin of newfangled?

Newfangled comes from Middle English new– “new,” –fangel, –fangol, an otherwise unrecorded adjective suffix meaning “taken, inclined to take,” and the adjective suffix –ed, the entire adjective meaning “taken by the new, inclined to the new.” The element –fangel, –fangol most likely is from the same root as the British dialect verb fang “to seize, grab” and the standard English noun fang “canine tooth” (that is, “the seizer”), all from fang-, the stem of the Old English verb fōn “to take.” Newfangled entered English at the end of the 15th century.

how is newfangled used?

Both the floss and the AI toothbrush had surprised me. … But they had also sparked a desire for the potentially unnecessary, as newfangled things are prone to do.

Lauren Goode, "Don't Brush Off Mouth Tech As a Passing Fad," Wired, January 24, 2020

YouTube was less than two years old—Justin Bieber had not yet been discovered there—and still resembled a newfangled version of “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”

Michael Schulman, "Bo Burnham's Age of Anxiety," The New Yorker, June 25, 2018

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Friday, October 09, 2020

discommode

[ dis-kuh-mohd ]

verb (used with object)

to cause inconvenience to; disturb, trouble, or bother.

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What is the origin of discommode?

Discommode, “to cause inconvenience or trouble to,” comes from Middle French discommoder, a compound formed from the Latin prefix dis– “apart, away,” here with a privative or negative force, and the French adjective commode “convenient, easy,” from Latin commodus “of standard size or weight, suitable, convenient.” Commodus is a compound of the Latin prefix com-, here with the intensive force “completely,” and the noun modus, “measured amount, size, or quantity.” Discommode entered English in the second half of the 17th century.

how is discommode used?

I decided not to discommode him further on walks by abruptly bringing him out into the same car-whizzing streets that had so shivered and terrified him, so when we went outside it was through the back door into a warren of unthreatening urban alleyways.

Gene Weingarten, "The tail of a ruff few days," Washington Post, February 13, 2020

“We didn’t know we were discommoding you so.” Norma liked that word and she said it over under her breath. “Discommode —I wouldn’t want to discommode you, Mr. Gable, but I think you should know…”

John Steinbeck, The Wayward Bus, 1947

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