Word of the Day

Friday, November 16, 2018

scienter

[ sahy-en-ter ]

noun

a mental state in which one has knowledge that one’s action, statement, etc., is wrong, deceptive, or illegal: often used as a standard of guilt: The court found that the company had the requisite scienter for securities fraud.

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What is the origin of scienter?

In English scienter is both a noun and an adverb used in the law; in Latin scienter is an adverb only and is not restricted to legal usage. Latin scienter “skillfully, expertly; knowingly, consciously” breaks down to scien(t)-, the inflectional stem of the present participle sciēns from the verb scīre “to know, know how to” (scientia “knowledge, science” is a derivative of scient-), and the Latin adverbial suffix -ter, which is regularly used with adjectives and participles whose inflectional stem ends in -nt- (the t of the -nt- is dropped). Scienter entered English in the 17th century.

how is scienter used?

Now, there is absolutely nothing in this case to prove that he had any guilty knowledge to the effect that his account was too low to meet the draft in question. You have proven no scienter whatever.

Arthur Cheney Train, The Confessions of Artemas Quibble, 1911

Lawyers say that Stewart’s insider-trading case will come down to a question of scienter. Did she know she was doing something wrong when she sold her ImClone stock?

Andrew Feinberg, "Are You Guilty of Insider Trading?" Kiplinger's Personal Finance, January 2004
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Thursday, November 15, 2018

voluptuary

[ vuh-luhp-choo-er-ee ]

noun

a person whose life is devoted to the pursuit and enjoyment of luxury and sensual pleasure.

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What is the origin of voluptuary?

The adjective and noun voluptuary comes via French voluptuaire from Late Latin voluptuārius from Latin voluptārius, an adjective derived from voluptās “agreeable sensation, pleasure, delight.” The second u in voluptuārius probably comes from association with the Latin adjective and noun sumptuārius “pertaining to monetary expenses (especially sumptuary laws); a servant in of charge domestic expenses.” Voluptuary entered English in the 17th century.

how is voluptuary used?

Hartmann, a voluptuary, lowered a spoonful of brown sugar crystals into his coffee cup, then placed a square of bitter chocolate on his tongue, and, while it was dissolving, lit his first cigarette. The ensuing mélange of tastes and aromas pleased him profoundly …

Anita Brookner, Latecomers, 1988

Quin is a real voluptuary in the articles of eating and drinking, and so confirmed an epicure, in the common acceptation of the term, that he cannot put up with ordinary fare.

Tobias Smollett, The Expedition of Humphry Clinker, 1771
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

catastrophize

[ kuh-tas-truh-fahyz ]

verb

to view or talk about (an event or situation) as worse than it actually is, or as if it were a catastrophe: Stop catastrophizing and get on with your life! She tends to catastrophize her symptoms.

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What is the origin of catastrophize?

The verb catastrophize, used mostly in psychology and psychotherapy, is formed from the Greek noun katastrophḗ “overturning, subjugation, conclusion, denouement,” and the Greek verb-forming suffix -ízein that was adopted into Latin as -īzāre and has become thoroughly naturalized in English. Catastrophize entered English in the 20th century.

how is catastrophize used?

I was inspired to catastrophize by my father, who believed that “90 percent of the things we worry about never come to pass.” He added cheerily that it was the other 10 percent, coming out of nowhere, that usually did us in.

Pat Snyder, "De-stress with a sigh of relief," Tri-Village News, August 18, 2004

Today’s news media will “catastrophize” anything they can.

Ben Stein, "Avoid the Craziness at No One Gets Hurt," New York Times, August 26, 2007

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