Word of the Day

Sunday, March 04, 2018

seriocomic

[ seer-ee-oh-kom-ik ]

adjective

partly serious and partly comic: a seriocomic play.

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What is the origin of seriocomic?

Seriocomic was first recorded in 1775-85. It links the words serious and comic with -o-, the typical ending of the first element of compounds of Greek origin, often used in English as a connective irrespective of etymology.

how is seriocomic used?

Suddenly, here toward the year’s end, when the new films are plunging toward the wire and the prospects of an Oscar-worthy long shot coming through get progressively more dim, there sweeps ahead a film that is not only one of the best of the year, but also one of the best seriocomic social satires we’ve had from Hollywood since Preston Sturges was making them.

Bosley Crowther, "The Graduate," New York Times, December 22, 1967

Jonesy had seen representations of him on a hundred “weird mysteries” TV shows, on the front pages of a thousand tabloid newspapers (the kind that shouted their serio-comic horrors at you as you stood prisoner in the supermarket checkout lanes) …

Stephen King, Dreamcatcher, 2001
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Saturday, March 03, 2018

tzimmes

[ tsim-is ]

noun

fuss; uproar; hullabaloo: He made such a tzimmes over that mistake!

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What is the origin of tzimmes?

Tzimmes comes from Yiddish tsimes and is related to Swabian German zimmes, zimbes “compote, stew” and Swiss German zimis “lunch.” The German noun is a compound word, originally a prepositional phrase, formed from Middle High German z, ze, an unstressed variant of zuo “at, to” (German zu) and the Middle High German noun imbiz, imbīz “snack, light meal” (German Imbiss). Imbiz is a derivative of Old High German enbīzan “to take nourishment,” which is related to English in and bite. Tzimmes entered English in the late 19th century.

how is tzimmes used?

Don’t make a tzimmes out of it. You gonna upset the children …

Mary Doria Russell, Epitaph, 2015

Why do you have to make such a tzimmes over the maids’ stairs.

Péter Nádas, Parallel Stories, translated by Imre Goldstein, 2011
Friday, March 02, 2018

phub

[ fuhb ]

verb

Slang. to ignore (a person or one's surroundings) when in a social situation by busying oneself with a phone or other mobile device: Hey, are you phubbing me?

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What is the origin of phub?

Phub was first recorded in 2010–14. It blends the words phone and snub.

how is phub used?

I found myself glancing at my phone in the middle of conversations … conveniently forgetting how annoyed I felt when other people phubbed me.

Catherine Price, How to Break Up with Your Phone, 2018

What we discovered was that when someone perceived that their partner phubbed them, this created conflict and led to lower levels of reported relationship satisfaction.

Jo Piazza, How to Be Married, 2017

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