Word of the Day

Word of the day

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

sacrosanct

[ sak-roh-sangkt ]

adjective

extremely sacred or inviolable.

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What is the origin of sacrosanct?

Sacrosanct “extremely sacred or inviolable” comes directly from Latin sacrōsanctus, which more correctly should be a phrase sacrō sanctus “made holy by a sacred rite.” Sacrō is the ablative singular of the noun sacrum “sacred object or place; sacrificial victim; religious observance or rite.” Sanctus “secured by religious sanctions, inviolate” is an adjective use of the past participial of sancīre “to ratify solemnly, prescribe by law; consecrate.” The Romans liked everything nice and tidy, legal, watertight, and sacrōsanctus is just such a word. In the 500 years of the Roman Republic, the Tribunes of the People (Tribūnī Plēbis) defended the rights of the common people against the patricians, controlling the power of the magistrates, issuing vetoes right and left. The tribunes derived their power not from statute but from the oath that the plebeians swore to maintain the tribunes’ sacrōsanctitās, their sacrosanctity. Sacrosanct entered English in the 17th century.

how is sacrosanct used?

The result is a standoff between two camps that regard the site as sacrosanct for very different reasons, and have spent years in a quiet tug of war between ancient traditions and modern regulations.

Sam Dolnick, "Hindus Find a Ganges in Queens, to Park Rangers’ Dismay," New York Times,

Voting in the United States of America is a sacrosanct right. It is both a precious obligation and a sacred opportunity we all have to participate in our democracy, and our voting process should be treated with the gravity and seriousness that it demands.

Cory Booker and Tiffany Muller, "How the Next Congress Can Improve U.S. Elections and Protect Voting Rights," Time, December 30, 2020

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Word of the day

Monday, June 28, 2021

belvedere

[ bel-vi-deer, bel-vi-deer ]

noun

a building, or architectural feature of a building, designed and situated to look out upon a pleasing scene.

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What is the origin of belvedere?

Belvedere, “a building, or architectural feature of a building, designed and situated to look out upon a pleasing scene,” comes straight from Italian belvedere “beautiful view,” a compound of bel, bello “beautiful” (from Latin bellus “pretty, charming”) and the infinitive vedere “to see” (from Latin vidēre), here used as a noun meaning “view or sight.” In Italian architecture a belvedere is an upper story, or part of one, or even a small tower or kiosk that is open to the air on at least one side, affording a pleasing view and an opportunity to enjoy the cool air of the evening. Belvedere entered English in the first half of the 16th century.

how is belvedere used?

In the early evening time Doctor Kemp was sitting in his study in the belvedere on the hill overlooking Burdock. … For a minute perhaps he sat, pen in mouth, admiring the rich golden colour above the crest ….

H. G. Wells, The Invisible Man, 1897

For them, it’s enough to sit in the belvedere and watch the tide turning and the geese migrating with the seasons.

Julie V. Iovine, "A House With a View As Well as a Conscience," New York Times, January 26, 1995

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Word of the day

Sunday, June 27, 2021

shivoo

[ shi-voo ]

noun

a boisterous party or celebration.

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What is the origin of shivoo?

Shivoo “a loud party” is an Australian colloquialism of uncertain origin. An earlier spelling, shiveau, appears at the end of the 18th century in the U.K. The nearly 20 spelling variants, including chevaux and cheveaux, lead some scholars to suggest that the origin of shivoo may be from the French phrase chez vous “at your house.” The Australian spelling shivoo dates from 1881.

how is shivoo used?

The place was packed, there being more people present than at any previous moment of this festival … “What a show, Brian! What a shivoo! You can’t go to sleep yet. Here, I’ve brought you a drink to toast Old Ireland with.”

William Upfield, Bony and the Kelly Gang, 1960

In that traditional lull between reporting season and the start of annual meetings, the balance of Australia’s most senior chief executives are clocking up air miles and enjoying the hospitality of investment bank JP Morgan at its annual Edinburgh shivoo.

"It's CEO party time," Sydney Morning Herald, October 10, 2003

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