Word of the Day

Word of the day

Thursday, December 31, 2020

sayonara

[ sahy-uh-nahr-uh; Japanese sah-yaw-nah-rah ]

interjection, noun

farewell; goodbye.

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What is the origin of sayonara?

Sayonara comes from Japanese sayōnara, a shortening of sayōnaraba, which means literally “if it be so (that the time for parting has come).” Sayonara consists of sayō “thus” and naraba “if it be.” Sayonara entered English in the second half of the 19th century.

how is sayonara used?

First of all, Joey is terrible at Nintendo. As little brothers go, he’s probably the worst. If he gets to play Zelda, you can say sayonara to your rupees.

Benjamin Flores, "On the Peaceful Transfer of the Nintendo Controller," The New Yorker, October 23, 2020

Turchin published one final monograph … then broke the news to his UConn colleagues that he would be saying a permanent sayonara to the field, although he would continue to draw a salary as a tenured professor in their department.

Graeme Wood, "The Next Decade Could Be Even Worse," The Atlantic, December 2020

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Word of the day

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

bonbonnière

[ bon-buh-neer, -nyair; French bawn-baw-nyer ]

noun

a box or dish for candies.

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What is the origin of bonbonnière?

A bonbonnière is a person or store that sells candies, or a box or tray for serving candies. Bonbonnière, a French noun, has been in English for more than 200 years, but it is still completely unnaturalized. Bonbonnière is a derivative of the noun bon-bon, literally “good-good,” French baby talk for “candy” (especially chocolate candy). Bonbonnière entered English in the first half of the 19th century.

how is bonbonnière used?

He drew from his pocket a marvellous bonbonnière, formed out of a single emerald, and closed by a golden lid, which unscrewed and gave passage to a small ball of a greenish colour, and about the size of a pea.

Alexander Dumas, The Count of Monte-Cristo, translated from French in 1846

At Sotheby’s the Rivers collection includes a gold and enamel cigarette case with pink rosettes, a carved nephrite gold and enamel bonbonnière, whose lid has Cupid riding an eagle on a cloud, and several elephants in bowenite, obsidian and aventurine.

Wendy Moonan, "An Easter Feast Of Rare Fabergé," New York Times, April 13, 2001

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Word of the day

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

eidetic

[ ahy-det-ik ]

adjective

of, relating to, or constituting visual imagery vividly experienced and readily reproducible with great accuracy and in great detail.

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What is the origin of eidetic?

Eidetic “pertaining to visual images vividly experienced and readily reproducible” is a technical term used in psychology. It comes via German eidetisch from the equally technical Greek adjective eidētikós, whose senses include “constituting an image; (of a number) capable of being represented by a mathematical figure; formal (cause).” Eidētikós is a derivative of eídēsis, one of the several Greek nouns meaning “knowledge.” Eidetic entered English in the first half of the 20th century.

how is eidetic used?

His eidetic memory went to work, conjuring an image of a large-scale map he had once studied. Closing his eyes he laid off the exact distance, latitude and longitude, individual islands.

Poul Anderson, "The Sensitive Man," Fantastic Universe, January 1954

Dr. Matsuzawa said the ability reminded him of the phenomenon called eidetic imagery, in which a person memorizes details of a complex scene at a glance.

Henry Fountain, "Chimps Exhibit Superior Memory, Outshining Humans," New York Times, December 4, 2007

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