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[ skol-ahrk ] [ ˈskɒl ɑrk ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


the head of a school.

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More about scholarch

Scholarch “the head of a school” comes from Ancient Greek scholárchēs, of the same general meaning, which is a compound of scholḗ “leisure employed in learning” and -archēs, a combining form of árchos “leader.” Scholḗ, of course, is the source of scholar, scholastic, and school. The trigraph sch has two predictable pronunciations in English: sch is pronounced as “shuh” in words of German origin (such as the recent Words of the Day schwa and Weltanschauung) and as “skuh” in words of Ancient Greek or Italian origin (such as the recent Words of the Day paschal and scherzando). Scholarch was first recorded in English in the early 1860s.

how is scholarch used?

We do know that after having served as Lector in the Academy and being described as its “Mind” by Plato, Aristotle was not chosen as the latter’s successor. The job of scholarch, or head of the school, went to Speusippus, Plato’s nephew. Aristotle left Athens shortly after Plato’s death and stayed away for around 12 years.

Simon Critchley, “Athens in Pieces: In Aristotle’s Garden,” The New York Times, February 18, 2019

The scholarch had been instituted in the Strassburg gymnasium in 1528 as well as in the schools of Bern and Basel to assist the rector in his administrative tasks, particularly in the allocation of public funds, and to serve as the government’s representative to the school.

Alan Karp, “John Calvin and the Geneva Academy: Roots of the Board of Trustees,” History of Higher Education Annual, Vol. 5, 1985
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[ tes-uh-leyt ] [ ˈtɛs əˌleɪt ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


to form of small squares or blocks, as floors or pavements; form or arrange in a checkered or mosaic pattern.

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More about tessellate

Tessellate “to form of small squares” comes from Latin tessellātus “mosaic,” based on ​​tessella “small square stone or cube.” The Latin noun tessella is a diminutive of tessera, a small piece used in mosaic work that often has four sides, which comes from Ionic Greek tésseres “four.” Ionic is one of several dialects of Ancient Greek, and the word for “four” in the well-known Attic dialect is téttares. Téttares and tésseres together are the source of tetrapod “a four-limbed animal,” the game Tetris, trapezoid, trapezium, and the recent Word of the Day tesseract. Tessellate was first recorded in English circa 1790.

how is tessellate used?

You can tile a floor with certain geometric shapes–like squares, triangles and hexagons–because they tessellate, meaning that they can be slotted together in a repeating pattern with no overlaps or gaps. You can’t do this with pentagonal or heptagonal tiles. They can’t be tessellated, so they’d leave irregular gaps on your floor.

Robert A. Jackson, “Geometrically baffling ‘quasicrystals’ found in the debris of the first-ever nuclear blast,” The Conversation, June 2, 2021

In 1975, a San Diego woman named Marjorie Rice read in her son’s Scientific American magazine that there were only eight known pentagonal shapes that could entirely tile, or tessellate, a plane. Despite having had no math beyond high school, she resolved to find another.

Manil Suri, “The Importance of Recreational Math,” The New York Times, October 12, 2015
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[ sweyn ] [ sweɪn ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


a male admirer or lover.

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More about swain

Swain “a male admirer” comes by way of Middle English swein “servant” from Old Norse sveinn “boy, servant.” Linguists consider the earliest sense of sveinn and its relatives in other Germanic languages to have been “one’s own (man)”; a similar shift in meaning appears with swami, from Sanskrit svāmī “master, owner,” which may have originally meant “one’s own (master).” Both swain and swami come from a root meaning “one’s, oneself” that also appears in self and sibling. Today, swain can be found in the nautical-themed compounds boatswain and coxswain (pronounced a little counterintuitively as “boh-suhn” and “kok-suhn”). Swain was first recorded in English before 1150. For more love-related terms, check out past Words of the Day inamorata, turtledove, and jo!

how is swain used?

Undeterred by the fact that her mate is under a spell that makes him a swine by day and a swain by night, Flora falls in love with him and, when he is abducted by a wicked old woman, she goes in ardent galactic pursuit of him, aided by the sun, moon and north wind.

Michael Billington, “The Enchanted Pig,” The Guardian, December 15, 2006

If this love-sick swain and innocent lass, hardening their hearts against each other, could have peeped into the secret drawer in a certain specialist’s office in Mt. Clare, they would have lost no time in apologizing for a misunderstanding for which neither was to blame.

J. McHenry Jones, Hearts of Gold, 1896
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