Word of the Day

Sunday, November 25, 2018

serry

[ ser-ee ]

verb

Archaic. to crowd closely together.

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What is the origin of serry?

The uncommon verb serry has always had a military sense “to press close together in ranks.” Serry comes from French serré, the past participle of serrer “to press together, crowd.” French serrer comes from Italian serrare “to close ranks,” from Vulgar Latin serrāre, from Latin serāre, “to lock, bolt.” Serry entered English in the 16th century.

how is serry used?

Serry your ranks, there,” said the Major amiably as they edged past.

Edmund Crispin, The Glimpses of the Moon, 1977

Fish laid to serry like roofing tiles, glinting in their own oils.

Gregory Maguire, Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, 1999
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Saturday, November 24, 2018

waggish

[ wag-ish ]

adjective

roguish in merriment and good humor; jocular; like a wag: Fielding and Sterne are waggish writers.

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What is the origin of waggish?

The origin of waggish is uncertain. It was first recorded in 1580–90.

how is waggish used?

He was always ready for either a fight or a frolic; but had more mischief than ill will in his composition, and, with all his overbearing roughness, there was a strong dash of waggish good humor at the bottom.

Washington Irving, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, 1820

They had recognized the goodness of his heart, the charm of his glance, his waggish temperament.

Fred Chappell, Look Back All the Green Valley, 1999
Friday, November 23, 2018

doorbuster

[ dawr-buhs-ter, dohr- ]

noun

Informal. a retail item that is heavily discounted for a very limited time in order to draw customers to the store. b. the price of such an item.

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What is the origin of doorbuster?

Doorbuster originally (in the 1890s) meant “one who breaks into or forces his way into a room or building.” By the first part of the 20th century, doorbuster also meant “a retail item heavily discounted for a short time to attract customers,” and towards the end of the 20th century, a doorbuster meant “a tool or device to force doors open.” The words bust and buster arose in the mid-17th century as regional or colloquial pronunciations of burst and burster, as also happened with curse and cuss, arse and ass, and parcel and passel.

how is doorbuster used?

At night, they slept in sleeping bags and hammocks as they prepared for the year’s biggest competition: beating their neighbors to discounted doorbusters.

Abha Bhattarai, "The Black Friday frenzy officially begins today. But many say the thrill is gone." Washington Post, November 23, 2017

Stores run “doorbuster” sales on the day after Thanksgiving, offering huge markdowns for a few hours, or “one-day sales” every day, because fostering a sense of time pressure, however artificial, makes shoppers more willing to buy.

James Surowiecki, "A Buyer's Christmas," The New Yorker, December 24, 2007

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