Word of the Day

Sunday, May 06, 2018

sabulous

[ sab-yuh-luhs ]

adjective

sandy; gritty.

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What is the origin of sabulous?

The English adjective sabulous is a clear-cut borrowing from Latin sabulōsus ”gravelly, sandy,” a derivative of sabulum “coarse sand, gravel.” Sabulum comes from an assumed Italic psaflom. (Italic is the branch of the Indo-European language family that includes Latin, Oscan, Umbrian, and the modern Romance languages.) Psaflom comes from the same Proto-Indo-European root bhes- “to rub” as Greek psêphos “pebble” and Germanic sandam (Old English and English sand, German Sand). Sabulous entered English in the 17h century.

how is sabulous used?

But clearly the beach is also a stage, a studio, indeed an arena, sabulous or otherwise, at the heart of the culture.

Peter D. Osborne, Travelling light, 2000

The plants rose from the stones like a conjurer’s trick, working roots down into hidden pockets of sabulous soil …

Olivia Laing, To the River, 2011
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Saturday, May 05, 2018

cinquefoil

[ singk-foil ]

noun

any of several plants belonging to the genus Potentilla, of the rose family, having yellow, red, or white five-petaled flowers, as P. reptans (creeping cinquefoil) of the Old World, or P. argentea (silvery cinquefoil) of North America.

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What is the origin of cinquefoil?

The English noun cinquefoil comes from Middle French cincfoille “five leaves.” Cincfoille corresponds to Latin quīnque folia, a translation of Greek pentáphyllon, literally “five leaves,” and the name of the creeping cinquefoil (Potentilla reptans) or the silvery cinquefoil (P. argentea). Cinquefoil entered English in the 15th century.

how is cinquefoil used?

Cinquefoil, with small yellow blossom, and ranunculus, with glossy yellow cup, edged the sunny roads …

Janet Lewis, The Trial of Sören Qvist, 1947

This was my curious labor all summer,–to make this portion of the earth’s surface, which had yielded only cinquefoil, blackberries, johnswort, and the like, before, sweet wild fruits and pleasant flowers, produce instead this pulse.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854
Friday, May 04, 2018

sith

[ sith ]

adverb, conjunction, preposition

since.

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What is the origin of sith?

In English sith is an archaic or dialect word whose functions as an adverb, preposition, and conjunction have been taken over by since. The Old English siththa is a variant of siththan (originally sīth thām “after that, subsequent to”), an adverbial and prepositional phrase formed from the comparative adverb sīth “subsequently, later” (akin to German seit “since”) and thām, the dative of the demonstrative pronoun, the phrase meaning “subsequent to that, after that.”

how is sith used?

… for ever sith the lord Clisson turned French, he never loved him.

Jean Froissart (1333?– c.1400), The Chronicles of Froissart, translated by John Bourchier, 1523–25

“Of course you see now, Sir Thomas, how ill a match Master John Feversham should have been for Blanche.” “Wherefore?” was the short answer. “Sith he is no longer the heir.”

Emily Sarah Holt, Clare Avery, 1876

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