Word of the Day

Friday, October 05, 2018

schadenfreude

[ shahd-n-froi-duh ]

noun

satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else's misfortune.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of schadenfreude?

Schadenfreude is a direct borrowing from German. In German Schadenfreude is a compound noun made up of the nouns Schaden “harm, injury, damage” and Freude “joy.” Schaden is related to English scathe (via Old Norse). Freude is a derivative of the adjective froh “happy,” and is related to English frolic, which comes from Dutch vrolijk “cheerful, gay.” Schadenfreude entered English in the late 19th century.

how is schadenfreude used?

Social media exploded with gleeful Schadenfreude.

Naomi Fry, "Searching for Meaning in the Leftover Merchandise of Fyre Festival," The New Yorker, May 24, 2018

It also let Peggy see the sagging flesh under Blanche’s chin. Since her own jawline was still pretty good, she soaked up some Schadenfreude on that score.

Harry Turtledove, The Big Switch, 2011
WORD OF THE DAY QUIZ
Put your wits to the test! New quizzes added weekly.
TAKE THE QUIZ
ALEXA, ENABLE DICTIONARY.COM
Now you can ask Alexa what the Word of the Day is at any time.
ENABLE ALEXA

Get A Vocabulary Boost In Your Inbox

Get the Word of the Day every day!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Thursday, October 04, 2018

tump

[ tuhmp ]

noun

British Dialect. a small mound, hill, or rise of ground.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of tump?

The noun tump has an obscure etymology. It is a dialect word used mostly in the British West Country (Somerset, Cornwall) and the West Midlands (around Birmingham). Tump may come from the Welsh noun twmp “round mass, hillock,” unless the Welsh word comes from English. Tump entered English in the 16th century.

how is tump used?

Despite the fine afternoon sunlight all around, the tump itself seemed steeped in perpetual shadow, brooding and ominous.

Stephen R. Lawhead, The Spirit Well, 2012

They buried the coffin in their garden. No cross marked it, just a brown tump in the bleak landscape.

Willy Peter Reese, A Stranger to Myself, translated by Michael Hofmann, 2005
Wednesday, October 03, 2018

notionate

[ noh-shuh-nit ]

adjective

Chiefly Midland and Southern U.S. strong-willed or stubborn.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of notionate?

Notionate, an adjective from the noun notion and the adjective suffix -ate, is a dialect word used mostly used in the Midland and Southern U.S., Northern Ireland, and Scotland. Notionate entered English in the 19th century.

how is notionate used?

He wouldn’t let me give a direction. He’s fussy sometimes and notionate.

George Madden Martin, The House of Fulfilment, 1904

In Saturday’s stretch run, Alysheba turned rank, or sour, refusing to run in a straight line, his head twisted in the manner of notionate colts, and he came out to sideswipe second-place Cryptoclearance.

Shirley Povich, "Belmont Unfolding Proves Alysheba Is Only Equine," Washington Post, June 8, 1987
Tuesday, October 02, 2018

rewild

[ ree-wahyld ]

verb

to return (land) to a more natural state: rewilding an unpopulated island for use as an animal preserve.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of rewild?

Rewild combines the word wild with the prefix re-, used to indicate withdrawal or a motion backwards toward another point. Rewild was first recorded in 1980–85.

how is rewild used?

“A big effort was made to rewild a huge swath of the Great Plains to its original flora, fauna and animal life,” Fallows says.

Gary Stoller, "Author of 'Our Towns' Best Seller Finds Ideal Vacation Spots While Seeing America Reinvent Itself," Forbes, August 21, 2018

I argue that the three r’s of the climate-catastrophe generation – reduce, reuse, recycle – need a serious upgrade. In their place I propose resist, revolt, rewild.

Mark Boyle, "My advice after a year without tech: rewild yourself," The Guardian, March 19, 2018
Monday, October 01, 2018

nugacity

[ noo-gas-i-tee, nyoo- ]

noun

triviality; insignificance.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of nugacity?

Nugacity is a direct borrowing from the Late Latin noun nūgācitās (stem nūgācitāt-), which first appears in the letters of St. Augustine of Hippo (354–430 a.d.). Nūgācitās means “worthlessness, frivolity” and is a derivative of the Latin adjective nūgāx (stem nūgāc-) “bungling, incompetent,” itself a derivative of the plural noun nūgae “absurdities, nonsense, frivolities, trifles” (its further etymology is unknown). Nugacity entered English in the 16th century.

how is nugacity used?

For this play that appears to address itself to a serious intellectual problem has almost nothing to say on the subject, and proceeds to disguise its nugacity by resorting to any number of modish–or, rather, outmoded–strategies.

John Simon, "All's Well That Ends 'Good'," New York, October 25, 1982

Somehow before I leave town I should find a graceful way to assure Jason that when I first met him I had had no inkling of that particular Aggrandizement report … even if the disclaimer obliges me to reveal the nugacity of my financial wardrobe.

Jonathan Bayliss, Gloucesterbook, 1992
Sunday, September 30, 2018

interloper

[ in-ter-loh-per ]

noun

a person who interferes or meddles in the affairs of others.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of interloper?

Interloper originally meant “unauthorized trader who trades on his own account and violates the rights or privileges of a trade monopoly.” It also has a tricky etymology. Inter-, its first element, is obviously the Latin preposition and prefix meaning “between, among.” The problem lies mostly with the second element -loper. Some authorities say that -loper is the same as in landloper “wanderer, vagrant,” an English borrowing from Dutch landlooper dating from about 1570. English interloper dates from the end of the 16th century, but a Dutch dictionary (1767) stated that the Dutch word enterlooper, phonetically equivalent to English interloper, is a borrowing from English. It is also difficult to reconcile an English word composed of the Latin prefix with the Dutch noun looper “runner.” It is more likely that -lope (and -loper) is a Middle English dialect variant of leap, ultimately from Old Norse hlaupa “to leap, spring, climb.” Interloper entered English on the late 16th century; the sense of “meddler” dates from the mid-17th century.

how is interloper used?

Caruso is a veteran narrator who has voiced audiobooks for the works of Joan Didion, Louisa May Alcott, and Jonathan Safran Foer—but to me, in the moment, she was instead an interloper. What was she doing here? Who was she to intrude on my literary shiva?

Arielle Pardes, "Listening Isn't Reading, but Audiobooks Still Resonate," Wired, August 1, 2018

… the Lorax is an environmental activist who wastes no time in berating the axe-wielding Once-ler, a shady money-grabbing interloper who lays waste to the environment to produce peculiar knitted outfits called thneeds.

Nicola Davis, "Dr Seuss's Lorax 'inspired by orange Kenyan monkeys'," Guardian, July 23, 2018
Saturday, September 29, 2018

diapason

[ dahy-uh-pey-zuhn, -suhn ]

noun

Music. a full, rich outpouring of melodious sound.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of diapason?

The English noun diapason comes from the Latin noun diapāsōn “musical interval of the octave,” extracted from the Greek phrase dià pāsôn (chordôn) “through all (the notes),” from the full phrase hē dià pāsôn chordôn symphōnía “the concord through all the notes of the scale.” Diapason entered English in the 14th century.

how is diapason used?

… and from the dell below rose in the night, now the monotonous chanting of the frogs, and now, as some great bull-frog took the note, a diapason worthy of a Brescian organ.

Stanley J. Weyman, Count Hannibal, 1901

… [Harley] concluded a speech which, for popular effect, had never been equalled in that hall, amidst a diapason of cheers that threatened to bring down the rafters.

Edward Bulwer Lytton, My Novel; or, Varieties in English Life, 1853

Get A Vocabulary Boost In Your Inbox

Get the Word of the Day every day!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.