Word of the Day

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

ship

[ ship ]

verb

to take an interest in or hope for a romantic relationship between (fictional characters or famous people), whether or not the romance actually exists: I’m shipping for those guys—they would make a great couple!

learn about the english language

What is the origin of ship?

The verb ship, originally meaning “to discuss or portray a romantic couple in fiction, especially in a serial” is a shortening of (relation)ship and dates only from 1996.

how is ship used?

The characters are ‘shipped by enough people that the duo has a name: Reylo.

Alexis Rhiannon, "Kylo Ren & Rey's 'Last Jedi' Relationship Is Tearing The Fandom Apart & Here's Why," Bustle, December 2017

It’s a popular misunderstanding that one can only ship two characters who are not already romantically involved on a show. In fact, it’s perfectly appropriate to ship, for example, Jim and Pam from “The Office.”

Jonah Engel Bromwich, "Who Do You Ship? What Tumblr Tells Us About Fan Culture," New York Times, December 4, 2017
quiz icon
WHAT'S YOUR WORD IQ?
Think you're a word wizard? Try our word quiz, and prove it!
TAKE THE QUIZ
arrows pointing up and down
SYNONYM OF THE DAY
Double your word knowledge with the Synonym of the Day!
SEE TODAY'S SYNONYM

Get A Vocabulary Boost In Your Inbox

Get the Word of the Day every day!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Aesopian

[ ee-soh-pee-uh n, ee-sop-ee- ]

adjective

conveying meaning by hint, euphemism, innuendo, or the like: In the candidate's Aesopian language, “soft on Communism” was to be interpreted as “Communist sympathizer.”

learn about the english language

What is the origin of Aesopian?

The English adjective Aesopian has multiple origins. The Latin adjective has the forms Aesōpīus and Aesōpēus, from Greek Aisṓpeios, derivative adjective of the proper name Aísōpos (Aesop). Aesop was a Greek slave who supposedly lived c620 b.c.–c560b.c. on the island of Samos and told animal fables that teach a lesson, e.g., “The Tortoise and the Hare.” Aesopian entered English in the late 17th century.

how is Aesopian used?

Gauss taught that past political thinkers wrote in a kind of code–an Aesopian language of double or multiple meanings–in order to avoid persecution in their own day and to communicate with contemporaries and successors who knew how to read between the lines, as it were.

Terence Ball, Rousseau's Ghost, 1998

By then, some Soviet writers had learned to use the Aesopian language, with its hints and euphemisms, to get their books into print.

Elena Gorokhova, "Beyond Banned: Books That Survived the Censors," NPR, March 30, 2011
Monday, February 12, 2018

madeleine

[ mad-l-in, mad-l-eyn ]

noun

something that triggers memories or nostalgia: in allusion to a nostalgic passage in Proust's Remembrance of Things Past.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of madeleine?

The etymology of madeleine (in full, gâteau à la Madeleine), which is named after an 18th-century cook named Madeleine Paulnier or Paumier, is dubious. Madeleines (the small cakes) are popular today, but perhaps the word madeleine “something that evokes a memory or nostalgia” has more significance from the use of madeleine in this sense in Swann’s Way (1922), the first volume of Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time (À la recherche du temps perdu), also known in English as Remembrance of Things Past.

how is madeleine used?

… thus temporarily bringing the sounds and smells of his dream world to him, a madeleine of the ever-postponed future.

Jane DeLynn, Real Estate, 1988

To reread this is like scenting a Madeleine of the drama and struggle that once was.

Mustapha Marrouchi, Edward Said at the Limits, 2004

Get A Vocabulary Boost In Your Inbox

Get the Word of the Day every day!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.