• Word of the day
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    Tuesday, November 13, 2018

    sequacious

    adjective [si-kwey-shuhs]
    Archaic. following, imitating, or serving another person, especially unreasoningly.
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    What is the origin of sequacious?

    The adjective sequacious comes from Latin sequac-, stem of sequāx “following closely or eagerly, disposed to be a follower, (of materials) responsive to manipulation or control, pliant” (sequāx lacks the sense “following smoothly or logically”). Sequāx is formed from the verb sequī “to follow” and the adjective suffix -āx (inflectional stem -āc-). Sequī is a Latin formation from the very widespread Proto-Indo-European root sekw-, sokw- “to follow,” which appears in Sanskrit, Greek and the Celtic and Germanic languages. Other Latin derivatives of sekw-, sokw- include the noun socius “follower, partner, ally” (from sokwyos) with its derivative adjective sociālis, source of English social. In Germanic, sokwyos becomes sagjaz “follower, retainer, warrior,” becoming in Old English secg, a noun used only in poetry. Sequacious entered English in the 17th century.

    How is sequacious used?

    In a world peopled with limp critics and sequacious art historians the ruthlessness with which he used the battering ram of talent invariably earned my admiration and almost invariably my support. Grace Glueck, "The Pope of the Art World," New York Times, May 26, 1991

    Those superstitious horrors that enslave / The fond sequacious herd, to mystic faith ... James Thompson, Summer, 1727

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  • Word of the day
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    Monday, November 12, 2018

    valorous

    adjective [val-er-uhs]
    having valor; courageous; valiant; brave.
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    What is the origin of valorous?

    Valorous comes from Late Latin valor “worth, honor,” a derivative of valēre “to be powerful.” The Latin noun comes from the Proto-Indo-European root wal-, which also appears in Tocharian B walo “king” (Tocharian A and B were spoken in the Tarim Basin, now part of Xinjiang Uygur, China, and died out about 1100 a.d.). The extended form wald- “strong, be strong” underlies English wield and the proper name Oswald (from os “god” and weald “power”). In Slavic wald- appears in the Polish personal name Włodzimierz, Old Russian Volodimĕr “(having) great power, famous.” Modern Russian Vladimir is based on Old Church Slavonic Vladiměrŭ. Valorous entered English in the 15th century.

    How is valorous used?

    He praised his soldiers for their valorous devotion ... Stephen Harrigan, The Gates of the Alamo, 2000

    Because I am valorous, chivalrous, generous, and handsome as the day is long! Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, 2004

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  • Word of the day
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    Sunday, November 11, 2018

    armistice

    noun [ahr-muh-stis]
    a temporary suspension of hostilities by agreement of the warring parties; truce: World War I ended with the armistice of 1918.
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    What is the origin of armistice?

    Armistice comes via French from Latin armistitium, from Latin arma “tools, weapons, arms” and the element -stitium “a stop, stopping,” which appears also in solstice (from Latin solstitium “stopping of the sun”). Armistice first appears in the 17th century.

    How is armistice used?

    On November 6, Berlin dispatched envoys to carry an armistice proposal to Supreme Allied Commander Marshal Ferdinand Foch. David M. Kennedy, Over Here: The First World War and American Society, 1980

    The armistice is coming soon, I believe it now too. Then we will go home. Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front, translated by A. W. Wheen, 1929

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  • Word of the day
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    Saturday, November 10, 2018

    solmization

    noun [sol-muh-zey-shuhn, sohl-]
    Music. the act, process, or system of using certain syllables, especially the sol-fa syllables, to represent the tones of the scale.
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    What is the origin of solmization?

    Solmization comes from French solmization, a derivative of solmiser “to (sing) sol-fa.” The system of solmization is attributed to Guido of Arezzo (c995-1049), a Benedictine monk from Arezzo, Tuscany, who also invented the staff notation used in Western music. Solmization entered English in the 18th century.

    How is solmization used?

    The pupil seems to gain the knowledge of intervals with the power of making them. But surely it would facilitate the labour were the knowledge of distances first instilled by means of solmization. "On Reading Music," The Quarterly Musical Magazine and Review, Vol. IX, 1827

    Guido has been properly called the father of modern music, and the title is richly deserved for in addition to the so-called Guido scale, or hexachord, or solmization--or whatever you call his do-re-mi, plan or fancy--he also invented the staff lines and intervals in music, and many other methods of teaching music in use to this very day. "Monk Started Guido Scale 900 Years Ago in Italy," The Reading Eagle, November 14, 1965

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  • Word of the day
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    Friday, November 09, 2018

    rococo

    adjective [ruh-koh-koh, roh-kuh-koh]
    ornate or florid in speech, literary style, etc.
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    What is the origin of rococo?

    If any word looks Italian or Spanish, rococo certainly does. But in fact rococo is a French word meaning “out of style, old-fashioned” and is a humorous distortion of rocaille “pebble-work, shellwork,” which was done to excess in some 18th-century art, furniture, and architecture. The French word may have been influenced by the Italian adjective barocco “baroque.” Rococo entered English in the 19th century.

    How is rococo used?

    Should you contemplate purchasing a copy of Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez, a "mega-genius" according to Aaron (in private), he will tell you beforehand that García Márquez "is so rococo and torporific you'll need an insulin shot every twenty pages." John Nichols, On Top of Spoon Mountain, 2012

    ... such versions respond to perfectly legitimate concerns about what is comprehensible to a child, who might well feel 'squashed by the words and strangled by the sentence' ... when faced by some of Kingsley's more rococo passages ... Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, "Introduction," The Water-Babies (1863) by Charles Kingsley, 2013

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  • Word of the day
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    Thursday, November 08, 2018

    volute

    noun [vuh-loot]
    a spiral or twisted formation or object.
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    What is the origin of volute?

    Volute is a technical word, a noun used in architecture, ornamental decoration, and marine biology. It comes from French volute or from Latin volūta “scroll.” Volūta is a noun use of volūtus, the past participle of volvere “to turn.” Volute entered English in the late 17th century.

    How is volute used?

    The interior of the tiny temple was dim, and wisps of incense smoke made graceful volutes in the air. John Maddox Roberts, SPQR IX: The Princess and the Pirates, 2005

    My, how light this Alonso de Avila was, forced to walk on mere earth only because of the richness and gravity of his damask and jaguar-skin suits, his gold chains, and his tawny mantle decorate with a reliquary--all of it lightened, let me assure you, by the feathers in his cap and the volutes of his mustache, the wings of his face. Carlos Fuentes, The Orange Tree, translated by Alfred Mac Adam, 1994

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  • Word of the day
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    Wednesday, November 07, 2018

    dissemble

    verb [dih-sem-buhl]
    to conceal one's true motives, thoughts, etc., by some pretense; speak or act hypocritically.
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    What is the origin of dissemble?

    Dissemble comes from late Middle English dissemile, dissimill, an alteration of the verb dissimule (from Old French dissimuler “to keep one’s intentions hidden,” from Latin dissimulāre, “to disguise or conceal one’s thoughts”), and associated in form with the noun semblance and the obsolete verb semble (from Old French sembler, from Latin similāre and simulāre “to pretend”). Dissemble entered English in the sense “to pass over, ignore, neglect” in the 16th century.

    How is dissemble used?

    He counted heavily on his ability to dissemble, knowing that every decent lawyer had at least several drops of dissimulation in his blood. Elizabeth George, Missing Joseph, 1993

    I didn't know how to dissemble, I quite openly acknowledged the mistakes I made, and didn't try hard to hide them. Johann Michael von Loën, The Honest Man at Court, 1748, translated by John R. Russell, 1997

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