Word of the Day

Friday, March 27, 2020

sciolism

[ sahy-uh-liz-uhm ]

noun

superficial knowledge.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of sciolism?

English sciolism “superficial knowledge, a pretension to learning,” comes from the Late Latin adjective and noun sciolus “pretending to knowledge; a person who pretends to knowledge,” and the common noun suffix -ism, originally Greek but completely naturalized in English. Sciolus comes from Latin scius “knowing, knowledgeable, cognizant,” a derivative of the verb scīre “to know (a fact), know for sure.” The obsolete English noun sciolus “one who possesses only superficial knowledge, particularly and especially an editor of a text,” comes directly from Late Latin sciolus. The uncommon English noun sciolist “a person of superficial knowledge or learning” is another derivative of sciolus. Sciolism entered English in the mid-18th century.

how is sciolism used?

Anderson faded, his showy sciolism proving as tiresome to voters as it had to his congressional colleagues.

Bill Kauffman, "I was expelled from the Electoral College before I was even admitted," The Spectator, February 22, 2020

An unseemly air of sciolism creeps into our insistence that we others know the difference between Benedict Arnold and Arnold Bennett.

"Dictated but Not Read, " New York Times, July 20, 1919

Listen to the word of the day

sciolism

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00
quiz icon
WHAT'S YOUR WORD IQ?
Think you're a word wizard? Try our word quiz, and prove it!
TAKE THE QUIZ
arrows pointing up and down
SYNONYM OF THE DAY
Double your word knowledge with the Synonym of the Day!
SEE TODAY'S SYNONYM

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, March 26, 2020

Cinderella

[ sin-duh-rel-uh ]

noun

a person or thing that achieves unexpected or sudden success or recognition, especially after obscurity, neglect, or misery.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of Cinderella?

Cinderella is a partial translation of French Cendrillon “Little ashes,” from Charles Perrault’s Cendrillon ou la petite pantoufle de verre “Cinderella or the Little Glass slipper” (1697). The story of Cinderella is ancient: The Greek geographer and historian Strabo tells the earliest recorded version of the folk tale in his Rhodopis (written between 7 b.c. and a.d. 24), the name of a Greek slave girl who married the King of Egypt. The first modern European version of the folk tale appears in Lo cunto de li cunti “The Tale of Tales” (also known as the Pentamerone), the collection of fairy tales written in Neapolitan dialect by the Neapolitan poet and fairy tale collector Giambattista Basile (1566-1632), from whom Charles Perrault and the German folklorists and philologists the Brothers Grimm later adapted material. Cinderella entered English in the 19th century.

how is Cinderella used?

The first Cinderella in the era of the 64-team bracket may be the greatest in history.

Tyler Lauletta, "The Cinderella team that busted everybody's March Madness brackets the year you were born," Business Insider, March 28, 2019

Ukraine is the new Cinderella. It could just metamorphose from bankruptcy and potential civil war to surpass elder sister Russia in reform and perhaps even consensus. 

Elizabeth Pond, "Cinderella Ukraine," Washington Post, November 20, 1994

Listen to the word of the day

Cinderella

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00
Wednesday, March 25, 2020

moue

[ moo ]

noun

a pouting grimace.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of moue?

The noun moue, “a pout, grimace,” still feels very French in its spelling. Some of its Middle English spellings include moue, mouwe, mowhe “grimace, wry face, grin,” all from Middle French mouwe, moe “lip, pout,” from Old French moe “grimace, pout.” Old French moe is probably from unrecorded Frankish mauwa “pout, protruding lip,” or Middle Dutch mouwe “protruding lip.” Moue entered English in the mid-19th century.

how is moue used?

“What, your stitching wasn’t good enough?” The woman made a sympathetic moue.

Tracy Chevalier, Girl with a Pearl Earring, 1999

Disapproval either goes unexpressed or is exaggerated, with a roll of the eye and a theatrical moue and a “She never takes any notice of me, anyway.”

Julian Barnes, "Complicity," The New Yorker, October 12, 2009

Listen to the word of the day

moue

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00

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.