Word of the Day

Sunday, May 26, 2019

seriatim

[ seer-ee-ey-tim, ser- ]

adverb, adjective

in a series; one after another.

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What is the origin of seriatim?

The English adverb seriatim “one after another, in a series,” comes directly from the Medieval Latin adverb seriātim, which has the same meaning. Seriātim is composed of the Latin noun seriēs “line, series” and the adverb suffix –ātim, extracted from Latin adverbs like gradātim “by steps, ascending or descending gradually,” and certātim “in rivalry, emulously.” The suffix is a useful one, forming adverbs like literātim “literally, letter for letter, literatim,” and verbātim “literally, word for word, verbatim.” Seriatim entered English in the late 15th century.

how is seriatim used?

I’ve been reading all the “Doonesbury” strips from the fall of 1976 through January of 1980, seriatim.

Rick Perlstein, "Rick Perlstein: By the Book," New York Times, August 28, 2014

This is no place to list his achievements, nor need his failures be set down seriatim.

"President Taft," The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 109, 1912
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Saturday, May 25, 2019

hermitage

[ hur-mi-tij ]

noun

any secluded place of residence or habitation; retreat; hideaway.

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What is the origin of hermitage?

The history of the English noun hermitage is complicated by the unetymological h-. Middle English and Old French have both hermitage and ermitage (and many other spellings). Late Latin (in a 5th-century Christian author) has erēmīta (correctly) “eremite, hermit,” from Greek erēmī́tēs, a very rare noun and adjective meaning “of the desert,” and first occurring in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible dating from the 3rd century b.c.) in the Book of Job. The Greek noun (and therefore the Latin, too) is a derivative of erêmos (also érēmos), an adjective and noun meaning “solitary, desolate, lonely; a desert.” The spellings herēmīta and its derivative herēmītagium “hermitage” first appear in Medieval Latin. Hermitage entered English in the late 13th century.

how is hermitage used?

… I had found out for myself a little hermitage. It was a kind of leafy cave, high upward into the air, among the midmost branches of a white-pine tree.

Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Blithedale Romance, 1852

In the end, the legend holds, Lancelot goes to live in penitence in a hermitage, while the king, mortally wounded, is set adrift on a ship—to one day rise again.

Kathryn Schulz, "Rapt," The New Yorker, March 2, 2015
Friday, May 24, 2019

proselyte

[ pros-uh-lahyt ]

noun

a person who has changed from one opinion, religious belief, sect, or the like, to another; convert.

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What is the origin of proselyte?

The English noun proselyte comes via Old French and Late Latin prosēlytus “sojourner, foreigner, stranger, a convert from paganism to Judaism.” Prosēlytus first occurs in the Vulgate, the Latin version of the Bible, prepared chiefly by Saint Jerome at the end of the 4th century a.d. Prosēlytus comes from Greek prosḗlytos “one who has arrived, stranger, sojourner.” Prosḗlytos and its kindred terms occur in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible dating from the 3rd century b.c.) and the Greek New Testament. Prosḗlytos is equivalent to an unrecorded prosḗlythos, a derivative of the verb prosérchesthai “to come forward, go, approach.” Proselyte entered English in the 14th century.

how is proselyte used?

… I began to believe that if he did not make a proselyte of me, I should certainly make one of him ….

Charlotte Lennox, Henrietta, 1758

Still, proselytes often find that being Paleo quickly becomes a round-the-clock duty.

Alex Williams, "The Paleo Lifestyle: The Way, Way, Way Back," New York Times, September 19, 2014

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