Word of the Day

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

sanguine

[ sang-gwin ]

adjective

cheerfully optimistic, hopeful, or confident: a sanguine disposition; sanguine expectations.

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What is the origin of sanguine?

Sanguine comes from the Middle English adjective and noun sanguyn(e), sanguyn(e) “blood red, blood-red cloth, rosy hue, ruddy (of complexion), dominated by the humor blood, the humor blood.” The Middle English forms come from the Old French adjective sanguin(e), from the Latin adjective sanguineus “crimson, bloody, bloodstained. polluted with blood,” a derivative adjective of sanguis (stem sanguin-) “blood.” Neither sanguis nor sanguineus has any sense of the humor blood, which in medieval physiology is one of the four elemental fluids of the body (blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile) regarded as determining, by their relative proportions, a person’s physical and mental constitution (their complexion). The medieval physiological theory actually dates back at least as far as Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine,” (c460–375 b.c.); it was adopted by Galen (c129–216 a.d.), the Greek physician and medical writer and afterward by Muslim and medieval scholars. Sanguine entered English in the 14th century.

how is sanguine used?

Today, investors seem sanguine about risks.

Floyd Norris, "Going Long: Bond Buyers Are Sanguine," New York Times, May 9, 1993

As his temper therefore was naturally sanguine, he indulged it on this occasion, and his imagination worked up a thousand conceits, to favour and support his expectations of meeting his dear Sophia in the evening.

Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, 1749
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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

peacherino

[ pee-chuh-ree-noh ]

noun

Informal: Older Use.

person or thing that is especially attractive, liked, or enjoyed.

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What is the origin of peacherino?

Slang terms are notoriously difficult to etymologize, and peacherino is a slang term. Peacherino, with the variant spellings or words peachamaroot, peacherine, peachermaroot, is American in origin, formed from peach in the sense “someone or something especially attractive, liked, or enjoyed,” and the suffix –erino, of uncertain origin, but possibly from the suffix –eroo (of uncertain origin itself) augmented by the Spanish or Italian diminutive suffix –ino. The suffix –erino has its own variants, such as –arina, –arino, –erama, –ereeno, –erine. Peacherino entered English in the late 19th century.

how is peacherino used?

“It’s a peacherino!” declared Tom enthusiastically. “Just wait till you see it and listen to the music coming in.”

A. Hyatt Verrill, The Radio Detectives, 1922

Here’s a peacherino: “The dieter who is limited to one slide of bread per meal should divide it into four quarters. This gives him the feeling that he has had access to four slices of bread.”

Earl Wilson, "All the Diet Secrets," Sarasota Herald-Tribune, May 15, 1957
Monday, August 26, 2019

electorate

[ ih-lek-ter-it ]

noun

the body of persons entitled to vote in an election.

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What is the origin of electorate?

Electorate is composed of two elements derived from Latin. The first is elector “voter,” from Late Latin ēlēctor “chooser,” formed from ēligere “to pluck out, pick out, choose” and –tor, a suffix forming agent nouns. The second is –ate, a suffix denoting “office (or person performing it), function, institution, collective body, etc.,” as in professorate (the office of professor, group of professors); –ate is ultimately from Latin –ātus, as seen in augurātus “the office of augur” or senātus “senate (of Rome).” Electorate is first attested in English the late 17th century.

At that time, the elector in electorate referred to a very different voter than the word evokes today: an Elector (German Kurfürst) was a German prince of the Holy Roman Empire who could cast a vote in the election of the German king (Emperor). Elector was a powerful office until the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806; the territory the electors oversaw was their electorate, e.g., Elector of Cologne. It wasn’t the late 19th century that electorate was recorded as “body of persons entitled to vote in an election”—a group that was dramatically, and finally, expanded to include women in the U.S. with the certification on August 26, 1920, of the Nineteenth Amendment, which enshrined women’s suffrage in the Constitution.

how is electorate used?

The passage of the Nineteenth Amendment nearly doubled the size of the electorate in the United States.

Heather L. Ondercin, "The Evolution of Women's (and Men's) Partisan Attachments," 100 Years of the Nineteenth Amendment, 2018

… the views of Democrats on social media often bear little resemblance to those of the wider Democratic electorate.

Nate Cohn and Kevin Quealy, "The Democratic Electorate on Twitter Is Not the Actual Democratic Electorate," New York Times, April 9, 2019

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