Word of the Day

Word of the day

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

saudade

[ soh-dah-duh ]

noun

a deep emotional state of melancholic longing for a person or thing that is absent.

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What is the origin of saudade?

Portuguese saudade ultimately derives from Latin sōlitāt-, the stem of sōlitās “loneliness, solitude.” (Latin –l– between vowels is lost in Portuguese; Latin –t– between vowels becomes –d– in Portuguese and Spanish.) The original Old Portuguese form soidade was altered to saudade under the influence of the verb saudar “to salute, greet” (from Latin salūtāre “to keep safe, pay one’s respects”). Saudade entered English in the 20th century.

how is saudade used?

Saudade is a bittersweet feeling of longing for a loved person or a place that is gone,” I finally said, as melancholic memories of my beloved ones forcefully surfaced in my mind. “Some people translate it as the love that remains. It is painful, yet you yearn for it because you only feel saudade when you deeply love.”

Beatriz Vasconcellos, "From Hygge To Saudade: The Power of Untranslatable Words," WBUR, January 3, 2021

Many vibes don’t have specific names, but some do. Saudade, the Portuguese word for a bittersweet longing, could count as a vibe.

Kyle Chayka, "TikTok and the Vibes Revival," The New Yorker, April 26, 2021

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Word of the day

Monday, August 09, 2021

hegira

[ hi-jahy-ruh, hej-er-uh ]

noun

any flight or journey to a more desirable or congenial place.

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What is the origin of hegira?

Hegira, “a flight to a more desirable or safer place,” comes from Medieval Latin hegira, a Latinization of Arabic hijrah “emigration, flight, departure,” a derivative of the verb hajara “he departed.” Hijrah specifically refers to the flight of Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina to escape persecution in July c.e. 622. The Arabic form hijrah (more fully al hijrat) for Muslims marks the beginning of the Muslim Era. Hegira entered English in the late 16th century; the spelling hijra in the late 19th.

how is hegira used?

After The San Francisco News assigned [John] Steinbeck to write a series about the pathetic living conditions of the Dust Bowl refugees in California’s San Joaquin Valley, he actively began The Grapes of Wrath, his touching 1939 novel about the hegira of these Oklahoma sharecroppers.

Brenda Wineapple, "John Steinbeck, Bard of the American Worker," New York Times, October 6, 2020
[T. S.] Eliot’s hegira from starchy student to the Nobel laureate who packed out baseball stadiums on an American tour remains one of the most compelling and strange of modern poetic careers.

David Wheatley, "The Poems of T.S. Eliot: The Annotated Text review–a monumental achievement," The Guardian, November 13, 2015

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Word of the day

Sunday, August 08, 2021

chuffle

[ chuhf-uhl ]

verb (used without object)

(of the larger species of cats) to make a low snuffling sound analogous to the purring of smaller cat species, often as a greeting.

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What is the origin of chuffle?

Chuffle, “to make a low snuffling sound analogous to the purring of smaller cat species,” is likely of imitative origin, rendering in letters a close approximation of the sound in question. A comparable sound that steam engines emit is the source of the similar verbs chuff, chug, and even choo-choo. The ending, –le, is likely the frequentative suffix also found in verbs such as sparkle and twinkle, indicating repetitive action or motion.

how is chuffle used?

Tigers make a sound called a chuffle. These guys can’t purr like house cats. They’re roaring cats, they roar. So they chuffle; it’s like blowing air through their nose. That means they’re happy. It’s an affectionate sound.

Peter Laufer, Forbidden Creatures, 2010

“Indira’s our most playful and friendly animal at the retreat,” Ms. Wilson, Zambi’s operations manager, said. “She’s everybody’s favourite; she’s the first one to run up and chuffle at you – that’s her friendly sound.”

Kim Arlington, "Eye of the tiger: Sydney veterinary specialists work to save Indira's sight," Sydney Morning Herald, July 13, 2016

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