Word of the Day

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

skulduggery

[ skuhl-duhg-uh-ree ]

noun

dishonorable proceedings; mean dishonesty or trickery: bribery, graft, and other such skulduggery.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of skulduggery?

Skulduggery was originally an Americanism, a variant of Scottish sculduddery “fornication, lewd conduct, obscenity.” In American usage, skulduggery has cleaned up its act and means only “dishonorable dealings, trickery.” Neither sculduddery nor skulduggery has a reliable etymology. Sculduddery entered English in the first half of the 18th century, skullduggery in the second half.

how is skulduggery used?

corporate malfeasance is too often hidden in quarterly reports and harder for most people to follow. Political skulduggery is done in the open—and on C-Span—and is easier to portray.

Alessandra Stanley, "Pol Watchers: Everyone's a Bad Guy," New York Times, April 11, 2013

the club was a renowned haunt of maverick sea captains, wily eccentrics, and semi-alcoholic miscreants up to their necks in all manner of skulduggery.

Jason Lewis, The Seed Buried Deep, 2014

Listen to the word of the day

skulduggery

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00
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, June 09, 2020

osmatic

[ oz-mat-ik ]

adjective

of or relating to the sense of smell.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of osmatic?

Osmatic, “relating to the sense of smell or to animals with a keen sense of smell,” is a borrowing from French osmatique, which was coined by the 19th-century French surgeon and anthropologist Paul Broca in 1878. Osmatique derives from the Greek noun osmḗ (also odmḗ) “smell, odor, scent” and the French adjectival suffix -atique, from the same source as the English suffix –atic. Osmḗ is the classical Attic form of earlier and dialectal odmḗ, from a root od- “to smell” and is closely related to Latin odor “a smell, odor, whiff, hint.” Osmatic entered English in 1880.

how is osmatic used?

Each of our senses diminish their acuity at a slightly different rate as we fall off to sleep. Our auditive, osmatic, thermal, and tactile responses become seemingly dormant …

Richard Neutra, Nature Near: The Late Essays of Richard Neutra, 1989

Osmatic messages permit recognition of others as individuals or as members of a social category, or signal a certain emotional state.

Guy Ankerl, Experimental Sociology of Architecture, 1981

Listen to the word of the day

osmatic

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00
Monday, June 08, 2020

alligate

[ al-i-geyt ]

verb (used with object)

Obsolete.

to attach; bind.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of alligate?

The rare verb alligate comes from Latin alligātus, the past participle of alligāre “to tie, tie up, tie together,” especially in the combination or mixture of elements of different qualities or values. Alligate entered English in the 16th century.

how is alligate used?

light weight of truth, spun out to cob-web tenuity, might be alligated with fancies and spangled with glittering fallacies, the whole bearing the name of homeopathy …

, "Article XII," American Journal of Dental Science, Vol. 4, July 1854

We are not, dear sisters, called to go into the field of battle and expose our lives to the devouring sword; but we are alligated by every principle of religion and virtue to mourn the sins which render these calamities necessary …

Mary Webb, "An Address from the Boston Female Society for Missionary Purposes to Females Professing Godliness," Massachusetts Baptist Missionary Magazine, March 1813

Listen to the word of the day

alligate

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00

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.