Word of the Day

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

solipsism

[ sol-ip-siz-uhm ]

noun

extreme preoccupation with and indulgence of one's feelings, desires, etc.; egoistic self-absorption.

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What is the origin of solipsism?

The usual sense of solipsism is “extreme preoccupation with and indulgence of one’s feelings or desires; egoistic self-absorption,” and not the philosophical sense “the theory that only the self exists or can be proved to exist.” Solipsism comes from New Latin sōlipsismus “extreme self-centeredness,” formed from the Latin adjective sōl(us) “lone, alone,” the pronoun and adjective ips(e) “himself, herself,” and –ismus, a noun suffix borrowed from Greek –ismós, forming action nouns from verbs ending in –ízein (-izāre in Latin), as baptismós “dipping, baptism” (baptismus in Latin), from baptízein (baptizāre in Latin). A literal translation of sōlipsimus would be the ungainly “myselfaloneism.” Solipsism entered English in the first half of the 19th century.

how is solipsism used?

Murdoch’s fiction frequently offers work as the way out of the self-serving fantasies of solipsism, even simple labor proving therapeutic.

Peter J. Reed, "Introduction," 2001,  A Fairly Honourable Defeat, 1970

“Lady Bird” takes its protagonist through adolescent solipsism to recognition and gratitude ….

Richard Brody, "Greta Gerwig's Exquisite, Flawed 'Lady Bird'," The New Yorker, November 2, 2017
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Monday, October 21, 2019

bon vivant

[ bon vee-vahnt; French bawn vee-vahn ]

noun

a person who lives luxuriously and enjoys good food and drink.

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What is the origin of bon vivant?

Bon vivant is completely unnaturalized in English; indeed, if the term were naturalized, it would lose its je ne sais quoi. In French bon vivant simply means “good liver” (a person, not the organ about which every French person is concerned). Bon is a masculine singular adjective meaning “good,” which comes straight from Latin bonus. Vivant is the masculine singular present participle of vivre “to live,” straight from Latin vīvere. The plural of bon vivant is bons vivants, which has the same pronunciation. One also sees the feminine form (not nearly so common), bonne vivante and its plural bonnes vivantes. Bon vivant entered English at the end of the 17th century.

how is bon vivant used?

… his creditors had tampered with his honest name and reputation as a bon vivant. He have bad wine! For shame! He had the best from the best wine-merchant …..

William Makepeace Thackeray, The Adventures of Philip on His Way Through the World, 1862

Jean-Jacques was a bon vivant and might even bring along a couple Cuban cigars ….

M. L. Longworth, Death in the Vines, 2013
Sunday, October 20, 2019

pepita

[ puh-pee-tuh, pe- ]

noun

the edible seed of a pumpkin or squash, used in cooking and often dried or toasted and eaten as a snack food.

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What is the origin of pepita?

Pepita in 16th-century Spanish meant “naturally occurring nugget or lump of metal, especially gold,” an extension of its original meaning “seed, kernel.” The more recent sense of pepita, “the edible seed of a pumpkin or squash,” arose in the early 1940s.

how is pepita used?

… if you want a crunchy, moderately healthy Halloween snack to munch on … head to the bulk aisle of your local health food store and pick up some pepitas that are actually fit for human consumption.

L. V. Anderson, "You're Doing It Wrong: Pumpkin Seeds," Slate, October 30, 2013

Claire ladled out a Hubbard squash bisque sprinkled with chili-crusted pepitas.

Steven Raichlen, Island Apart, 2012

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