a heavy, one-edged sword, usually slightly curved, used especially by cavalry.
Saber “a heavy, one-edged sword” is a borrowing of French sabre, earlier sable, from German Sabel (modern Säbel). Prior to German, the term either passed through a Slavic intermediary such as Polish szabla or came directly from Hungarian szablya. Note that the sz consonant pair is pronounced as “sh” in Polish but simply as “s” in Hungarian, and the Hungarian letter pair ly is pronounced as simply “y” as in “yes.” Though the ultimate source of szablya is uncertain, the prevailing theory is an origin in a Tungusic language; compare sele “iron” and seleme “dagger” in Manchu, an endangered language in Manchuria. The languages of the Tungusic family are predominantly spoken in Siberia, with a few members spoken in northern China. Although efforts have been made to connect the Tungusic languages to the Mongolic and Turkic families (as we learned from the recent Word of the Day yurt), and even to Japanese and Korean, any relationship among these families is inconclusive. Saber was first recorded in English in the 1670s.
Knocking off the top of a Champagne bottle with a saber—known as sabrage—is an old rite in Europe, and a novel addition to American celebrations. But there’s an art to doing it right …. “Apparently, this started in the time of Napoleon when there were wars all through the Champagne region. And the soldiers would come and grab a bottle of Champagne while they were on horseback; they would just take their saber and knock the top and drink it down,” [Becky Sue Epstein, author of Champagne: A Global History] says.
The other boys showed off their lead toy soldiers, their bicycles. We showed my father’s saber, which we took down secretly in the dark sitting room among the furniture covered in dust sheets. Compared to his saber, the security guard’s machete was a mere penknife. This (my unfeeling hand slides over the surface, divested of weight and consistency) was our town’s most precious emblem.
an official bulletin or communication, usually to the press or public.
Communiqué “an official bulletin or communication” is a borrowing from French, in which it means “communicated” and is the past participle of the verb communiquer “to communicate.” Communiquer comes from Latin commūnicāre “to impart, make common,” based on the adjective commūnis “common,” which itself is likely related to mūnus (stem mūner-) “gift, duty” and immūnis “exempt from taxes” (compare English remunerate and immunity). The French suffixes -é and -i are used to mark past participles and derive from Latin -ātus and -ītus, which are preserved in English as -ate and -ite, in Portuguese and Spanish as -ado and -ido, and in Italian as -ato and -ito or -uto. Communiqué was first recorded in English in the early 1850s.
Nearly all the messages that humans have broadcast into space so far start by establishing common ground with a basic lesson in science and mathematics …. A far messier question is how to encode these concepts into the communiqué. Human languages are out of the question for obvious reasons, but so are our numeral systems. Though the concept of numbers is nearly universal, the way we depict them as numerals is entirely arbitrary.
The United States and China have given a bit of a lift to the United Nations COP26 gathering in Glasgow. The world’s two largest polluters issued a surprise joint statement on Wednesday …. On the face of it, the U.S.-China communiqué does almost nothing to change the trajectory .… Politically, however, their statement is more powerful. For starters, simply having the two countries unite on a message is a victory of sorts.
prosperous, happy, or peaceful.
Saturnian “prosperous, happy, or peaceful” derives from the Latin adjective Sāturnius “of Saturn.” The mythological figure Saturn, known to the Romans as Sāturnus and considered an equivalent of the Ancient Greek figure Kronos (Latinized as Cronus), was a Titan and a god of agriculture. The positive aspects of Saturn’s reign, referred to as the “golden age,” are what give Saturnian its meaning. Though Saturnian shares an origin with saturnine, they are almost antonyms; saturnine means “sluggish, gloomy, taciturn” and derives its meaning from astrology, in which the influence of the planet Saturn is associated with negative personality traits (in contrast to the recent Word of the Day jovial). The name Sāturnus is likely of Etruscan origin—compare the name of the Etruscan god Satre—but has long attracted (false) folk etymology hypotheses, such as derivations from Latin satus “sown” or satis “enough.” Saturnian was first recorded in English in the 1550s.
Days came and went; and now returned again / To Sicily the old Saturnian reign; / Under the Angel’s governance benign / The happy island danced with corn and wine, / And deep within the mountain’s burning breast / Enceladus, the giant, was at rest.
How seemed this globe of ours when thou didst scan it? / When, in its lusty youth, there sprang to birth / All that has life, unnurtured, and the planet / Was Paradise, the true Saturnian Earth! / Far toward the poles was stretched the happy garden; / Earth kept it fair by warmth from her own breast; / Toil had not come to dwarf her sons and harden; / No crime (there was no want) perturbed their rest.
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