Word of the Day

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

shog

[ shog, shawg ]

verb (used without object)

to jog along.

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What is the origin of shog?

The verb (and noun) shog “to shake, jolt, to jog along” is now used mostly in British dialect. The Middle English verb shogge(n) is possibly a variant of shock “to strike, jar” and is probably related to the Old High German noun scoc “a swinging, a swing,” Middle High German schock “a swing, a seesaw,” and Middle Dutch, Dutch schok “a shake, a jolt.” Shog entered English in the early 15th century.

how is shog used?

If you don’t mind I’ll shog on! I’ve got to walk fast now, or Gerda will be worrying.

John Cowper Powys, Wolf Solent, 1929

Then shog along homeward, chat over the fight / And hear in our dreams the sweet music all night.

Charles Kingsley, "Go Hark!" 1856
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Tuesday, June 18, 2019

epiphonema

[ ep-uh-foh-nee-muh ]

noun

Rhetoric.

a sentence that is an exclamation, a general or striking comment, or a succinct summary of what has previously been said.

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What is the origin of epiphonema?

In classical rhetoric, epiphonema is a term for an exclamation or reflection that strikingly sums up a previous passage or discourse—a kind of moral of the story. It comes via Latin epiphōnēma from Greek epiphṓnēma “a witty saying,” from epiphōneîn “to mention by name, call out, address,” composed of a prefixal use of the preposition epí “upon, on” and phōneîn “to make a sound.” Phōneîn is derived from phonḗ “sound, tone, voice,” ultimately seen in a variety of English words, such as Anglophone, microphone, phonetics, phonology, polyphony, and (tele)phone. Oh, what euphonious words derive from ancient Greek!

how is epiphonema used?

To round off his argument, Montaigne reaches for an epiphonema … “Oh, what a sweet and soft and healthy pillow is ignorance and incuriosity, to rest a well-made head!”

Kathy Eden, "Cicero's Portion of Montaigne's Acclaim," Brill's Companion to the Reception of Cicero, 2015

When the Great Teacher wished to recall or rouse attention he employed an epiphonema, saying, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear,” “Verily, verily, I say unto you,” “Hearken unto me every one of you.”

George Winfred Hervey, A System of Christian Rhetoric, for the Use of Preachers and Other Speakers, 1873
Monday, June 17, 2019

caterpillar

[ kat-uh-pil-er, kat-er- ]

noun

a person who preys on others; extortioner.

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What is the origin of caterpillar?

Caterpillar has a complicated history. Late Middle English has catyrpel, catirpiller (and other variants). These are probably alterations of catepelose, an Old North French variant of Old French chatepelose “hairy cat,” from chate “(female) cat,” from Late Latin cattus (masculine) and catta (feminine) “cat” and pelose, pelouse “hairy,” from Latin pilōsus. The Middle English spelling with –yr– is probably due to association with cater “tomcat” (as in caterwaul “to utter long, wailing cries”); the final –er is probably by association with piller “despoiler.” Caterpillar in its original sense “larva of a butterfly or moth” entered English in the 15th century; the sense “extortioner” arose in the late 15th century; the sense “a tractor with two endless steel bands for moving over rough terrain” is a trademark dating from the early years of the 20th century, just in time for World War I.

how is caterpillar used?

The caterpillars of the commonwealth, / Which I have sworn to weed and pluck away.

William Shakespeare, Richard II, 1623

By dismissing the Hanoverians … we shall only send away the caterpillars which devour our victuals …

Statement of the Earl of Chesterfield, January 31, 1744, The Parliamentary History of England, Vol. 13, 1812

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