Word of the Day

Sunday, April 01, 2018

shavie

[ shey-vee ]

noun

Scot. a trick or prank.

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What is the origin of shavie?

Shavie is a rare word used in Scottish poetry, first appearing in English in the 18th century and current for just a little more than a century after that.

how is shavie used?

But urchin Cupid shot a shaft / That play’d a dame a shavie

Robert Burns, "The Jolly Beggars," 1785

‘Twas then that Love played him a shavie, / And strak his dart in donsie Davie.

William Nicholson, "The Country Lass," Tales in Verse and Miscellaneous Poems: Descriptive of Rural Life and Manners, 1814
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Saturday, March 31, 2018

kosher

[ koh-sher ]

adjective

Informal. a. proper; legitimate. b. genuine; authentic.

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What is the origin of kosher?

Kosher is one of the most common words of Yiddish origin in American English. Yiddish kosher comes from Hebrew kosher (Ashkenazi pronunciation), from Hebrew kāshēr “right, fit, proper.” Kosher as an adjective “pertaining to foods prepared according to Jewish dietary law” dates from the mid-19th century; the sense “proper, legitimate” dates from the late 19th century. Kosher as a noun “kosher food, kosher store” dates from the late 19th century.

how is kosher used?

This is kosher. I’m an officer of the court requesting assistance from a citizen.

Loren D. Estleman, King of the Corner, 1992

Forsyth knew that was all a cover story. He knew the whole setup wasn’t kosher.

Michael Savage, Abuse of Power, 2011
Friday, March 30, 2018

sepulcher

[ sep-uh l-ker ]

noun

a tomb, grave, or burial place.

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What is the origin of sepulcher?

Sepulcher comes via French from Latin sepulcrum “grave, tomb,” a derivative of the verb sepelīre “to perform the funeral rites, bury, inter.” The Latin verb comes from the Proto-Indo-European root sep- “to honor,” extended to sep-el- “sorrow, care, awe.” The same root appears in Sanskrit sapati “(he) worships, tends.” The Greek derivative of sep- is the root hep-, which usually occurs in compound verbs, e.g., amphiépein “to look after, tend to,” as in the last line of the Iliad, “Thus they tended to (amphíepon) the funeral of horse-taming Hector.” Sepulcher entered English in the 13th century.

how is sepulcher used?

The stale suffocating room felt like a sepulcher

Sue Monk Kidd, The Invention of Wings, 2014

A clattering-rattling sound. A bony sound. Like the skeletons of long-dead men clawing their way out of a sepulcher.

Dean Koontz, Phantoms, 1983

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