Word of the Day

Saturday, December 01, 2018

shrievalty

[ shree-vuhl-tee ]

noun

the office, term, or jurisdiction of a sheriff.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of shrievalty?

Shrievalty, “the office, term, or jurisdiction of a sheriff,” is a rare word. Shrieve is one of many, many spelling variants of the Late Middle English compound noun shire-reeve. A shire is “the office of administration, jurisdiction of an office or county,” and a reeve is “a high official in charge of an administrative district.” Sheriff is an ordinary outcome of shire-reeve. The suffix -alty is taken from such political and legal terms as mayoralty (from mayoral and the suffix -ty, from Old French -tet, ultimately from Latin -tās, a suffix for forming abstract nouns from adjectives). The equally rare but more transparent noun sheriffalty was also formed from sheriff and -alty. Shrievalty entered English in the 16th century.

how is shrievalty used?

You must give up your shrievalty immediately and I will get the Shire Court to appoint a caretaker sheriff in your place until the will of the King is known.

Bernard Knight, Witch Hunter, 2004

Judges, small magistrates, officers large and small, the shrievalty, the water office, the tax office, all were to come within its purview.

Theodore Dreiser, The Titan, 1914
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.
Friday, November 30, 2018

modish

[ moh-dish ]

adjective

in the current fashion; stylish.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of modish?

The adjective modish is formed from the noun mode “fashion, current fashion” and the suffix -ish. Modish, very common in the 17th and 18th centuries, entered English in the 17th century.

how is modish used?

It’s a work both modish and antique, apparently postmodern in emphasis but fed by the exploratory energies of the Renaissance.

James Wood, "'Flights,' A Novel That Never Settles Down," The New Yorker, October 1, 2018

Describing hairstyles is not my forte, I lack the vocabulary, but there was something of the fifties film star to it, what my mother would call ‘a do’, yet it was modish and contemporary too.

David Nicholls, Us, 2014
Thursday, November 29, 2018

keek

[ keek ]

verb

Scot. and North England. to peep; look furtively.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of keek?

Keek “to peep” is a verb used in Scotland and northern England. It does not occur in Old English but is related to, if not derived from, Middle Dutch and Middle Low German kīken “to look.” Keek dates from the late 14th century, first appearing in The Canterbury Tales.

how is keek used?

I will be near by him, and when he keeks round to spy ye, I will bring him such a clout as will gar him keep his eyes private for ever.

Alfred Ollivant, "Danny," Everybody's Magazine, Volume 6, January to June, 1902

And at that he keeks out o’ the wee back window, plainly fearing that old Hornie himself was on the tracks o’ him.

Michael Innes, From London Far, 1946

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.