Septentrion “the north” derives from Latin septentriōnēs, which refers to the seven stars of the asterism Big Dipper, part of the constellation Ursa Major (the “Greater Bear”). These seven stars, because of their location in the northern sky near the North Star, have long had an association with the north in various cultures; we only need to look at the state flag of Alaska to see this association alive and well today! Latin septentriōnēs is equivalent to septem “seven” and triō (stem triōn-) “plowing ox.” Another Latin word for “the north” is the noun boreās, the source of aurora borealis (literally, the “northern dawn”), which is a borrowing of Ancient Greek Boréās, the personification of the north wind. In modern Romance languages, instead of deriving from Latin septentriōnēs or boreās, the words for “north” (such as French nord and Spanish norte) are adapted from Old English north. Septentrion was first recorded in English in the late 14th century.
Past midnight I awoke. Overhead there was such a bright light I almost had to shade my eyes. Then I realized what I was looking at, the Milky Way. What joy I felt as I recognized my lost constellation, Ursa Major. I now knew in fact what prompted Paul Fort to write, “The sky is one great emerald from south to septentrion.” With joy I knew again the seven stars of Ursa Major, the Great Bear, now commonly known as the “Big Dipper”. From Latin: septem (seven) and triones (a team of three plow oxen). I now knew septentrion, to the north, as did Paul Fort.
On the very ground Alone she sat, as she had there been left A guard upon the wain, which I beheld Bound to the twyform beast. The seven nymphs Did make themselves a cloister round about her, And in their hands upheld those lights secure From blast septentrion and the gusty south.
tending to move away from a stimulus or situation.
Abient “tending to move away from a stimulus or situation” comes from the Latin term abiēns (stem abient-) “going away,” the present participle of the verb abīre “to go away, exit, depart.” Abīre is formed from the preposition ab “from, away” and the verb īre “to go,” which has two stems: -ient and -it. The verb īre also gives rise to ambīre “to go around,” inīre “to go into, begin,” and trānsīre “to go across, cross,” and to see evidence of all these Latin verbs in English today, compare ambient and ambition, initial and initiate, and transient and transit. The -it stem also pops up in circuit (from Latin circumīre “to go round, circle”), exit (from exīre “to go out”), and even obituary (from obīre “to go toward,” often used euphemistically in the sense “to meet one’s death”). Abient was first recorded in English in the early 1930s.
In the case of negative affect, the motivating experience can be best described, not as punishing, but as experience that tends to be psychologically noxious and difficult to tolerate. Such experience instigates abient behavior—behavior that tends to produce avoidance and to reduce attention to and/or communion with the object of the affect when there is an object.
To avoid writing, I engage in abient behavior: walking the dog, cleaning the floor, ironing T-shirts, or reading junk mail.
a full day's travel across a desert without a stop for taking on water.
Jornada “a full day’s travel across a desert” is a loanword from Spanish, and prior to Spanish, the term derived via Occitan, a language once widely spoken in southern France, from a Vulgar Latin word akin to diurnāta “a day’s time, day’s work,” from Latin diurnus “daily.” Though some modern Romance languages derive their words for “day” from the Latin noun diēs “day” (compare Portuguese dia, Romanian zi, and Spanish día), others base their words for “day” on the adjective diurnus (compare French jour, Italian giorno, and Occitan jorn). Both diēs and diurnus come from the Proto-Indo-European root dyeu- “to shine; sky, heaven,” which is also the ultimate source of the recent Words of the Day toujours perdrix, circadian, and jovial. Jornada was first recorded in English in the 1650s.
Last night around the campfire Pattie had explained that when they rolled out this morning it might take as much as two and a half days, if they were unlucky, a double Jornada, to travel from the banks of the Arkansas to the Cimarron. And between the two rivers, he warned, the landscape would change dramatically. For sixty or seventy miles there would be nothing but an immense barren plain—nothing at all, no wood and no water, not a stream, not a creek, not a puddle, not a drip of spit (he said) until they reached either the Cimarron River, which was itself often dry, or a spot just to the north of it called the Lower Springs.
The terrain was thick with cholla and clumps of it clung to the horses with spikes that would drive through a boot-sole to the bones within and a wind came up through the hills and all night it sang with a wild viper sound through that countless reach of spines. They rode on and the land grew more spare and they reached the first of a series of jornadas where there would be no water at all and there they camped.
Get A Vocabulary Boost In Your Inbox