• Word of the day
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    Wednesday, March 21, 2018

    disjune

    noun [dis-joon]
    Scot. Obsolete. breakfast.
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    What is the origin of disjune?

    The rare word disjune is formed from the Old French prefix des-, dis-, which comes from the Latin prefix dis- “apart, asunder, in two, in different directions” (the prefix dis- is related to the Latin numeral duo “two”). The Latin prefix may also be used like the English prefix un- to express the reverse or negative of the positive, e.g., untie, undo. Old French desjeün is thus an “unfast.” The Old French element -jun, -jeün comes from the Latin adjective jējūnus “hungry, fasting” and by extension “poor, barren.” In Medieval Latin the noun jējūnum (the neuter singular of the Latin adjective jējūnus) means “middle part of the small intestine,” so called because the jejunum was often found empty after death. The etymology of Latin jējūnus is unknown. The noun disjune entered English in the late 15th century; its use as a verb dates from the late 16th century.

    How is disjune used?

    Take a disjune of muscadel and eggs! Ben Jonson, The New Inn, 1629

    And when the two comrades were in the midst of their disjune the knight began to ask the monk (who knew everybody) about the barge he had seen the day before. Arthur Machen, "The Spigot Clerk's Second Tale," The Chronicle of Clemendy, 1888

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  • Word of the day
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    Tuesday, March 20, 2018

    pullulate

    verb [puhl-yuh-leyt]
    to breed, produce, or create rapidly.
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    What is the origin of pullulate?

    The English verb pullulate derives from the Latin verb pullulāre “to sprout, put forth shoots, bring forth,” a derivative of the noun pullus “young animal, foal.” The Latin words derive from the Proto-Indo-European root pau-, pōu-, pū- (with various suffixes) “little, small, few.” The suffixed forms pau-o- and pau-ko form Germanic (English) few and Latin paucus “small, slight,” respectively (the Latin adjective is also the source of Spanish and Italian poco). The suffixed form pō-los yields Greek pôlos “foal, young girl, young boy,” and Germanic (English) foal. The suffixed form pu-er- forms Latin puer “boy” and puella “girl” (from assumed puerla). Pullulate entered English in the early 17th century.

    How is pullulate used?

    Abundant foodstuffs, a benign climate, lack of natural enemies, high reproductive rate, minimal shooting pressure, and adequate habitat had all combined to allow the birds to pullulate wildly out of control--in fact to reach pestilential proportions. Stuart Williams, "Andean Doves Come High," Field & Stream, July 1972

    It is evident, for anyone with eyes to see, that for half a century, animals and people alike have tended to multiply, to proliferate, to pullulate in a truly disquieting proportion. Eugene Mouton, "The End of the World," 1872

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  • Word of the day
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    Monday, March 19, 2018

    dornick

    noun [dawr-nik]
    a small stone that is easy to throw.
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    What is the origin of dornick?

    Dornick is an Americanism dating back to 1830–40 from Irish dornóg “small stone, handful,” from dorn “fist.”

    How is dornick used?

    Indulging a few moments' contemplation of its freckled rind, I broke it open with a stone, a rock, a dornick, in boy's language. Mark Twain, "Mighty Mark Twain Overawes Marines," New York Times, May 12, 1907

    The rock throwers must have been cads or they wouldn't have flung a dornick at that small bundle of pink-and-white loveliness ... Pete Martin, Have Tux, Will Travel, 1954

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  • Word of the day
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    Sunday, March 18, 2018

    polemology

    noun [poh-luh-mol-uh-jee]
    the analysis of human conflict and war, particularly international war.
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    What is the origin of polemology?

    Polemology was first recorded in 1935–40. It comes from Greek pólemos “war” and -logy, a combining form used in the names of bodies of knowledge.

    How is polemology used?

    Closely related to the surge of interest in aggressive human behavior is the rise of a new science: polemology. Walter Sullivan, "An Attack on Man the Aggressor," New York Times, August 26, 1968

    For the study of Greek warfare, or the polemology of ancient Greece, cannot be separated from the project of a general, very broadly political history of ancient Greek civic mentality, social structure and economic organization. Paul Cartledge, Spartan Reflections, 2001

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  • Word of the day
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    Saturday, March 17, 2018

    craic

    noun [krak]
    fun and entertainment, especially good conversation and company (often preceded by the): Come for the beer, lads, and stay for the craic!
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    What is the origin of craic?

    Craic is an Irish Gaelic spelling that represents the English pronunciation of English crack and was then taken back into English. English crack was apparently introduced from Scots into Irish English via Northern Ireland (Ulster) in the mid-20th century and was thereafter adopted into Irish Gaelic and Irish English. In Scottish English and in northern English dialect, crack has the sense “chat, gossip,” which may be the source of craic. Alternatively, craic may be a shortening of crack “witty remark, wisecrack.” Craic entered English in the 20th century.

    How is craic used?

    The public bar's men only so I haven't been in since we got back. ... I've been missing the craic there. Patrick Taylor, Fingal O'Reilly, Irish Doctor, 2013

    The craic now was two doors down, where a bunch of lads were drinking Harp lager, eating fish and chips, and playing what sounded like Dinah Washington from a portable record player on a long lead outside Bobby Cameron's house. Adrian McKinty, Gun Street Girl, 2015

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  • Word of the day
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    Friday, March 16, 2018

    bunglesome

    adjective [buhng-guh l-suh m]
    clumsy or awkward.
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    What is the origin of bunglesome?

    Bunglesome is an Americanism dating back to 1885–90.

    How is bunglesome used?

    He is a little awkward, a little bunglesome in starting, but if you would--could exercise just a little patience for a few days--a day, I am sure he would please you. Oscar Micheaux, The Homesteader, 1917

    To the traveler coming down from Florence to Rome in the summertime, the larger, more ancient city is bound to be a disappointment. It is bunglesome; nothing is orderly or planned; there is a tangle of electric wires and tramlines, a ceaseless clamor of traffic. Elizabeth Spencer, The Light in the Piazza, 1960

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  • Word of the day
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    Thursday, March 15, 2018

    dekko

    noun [dek-oh]
    British Slang. a look or glance.
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    What is the origin of dekko?

    It is hard to believe that dekko, originally British army slang meaning "to look; a look," is related to dragon. Dekko and dragon both ultimately come from the Proto-Indo-European root derk- (and its variant dṛk-) “to see, look.” The form derk- forms Greek dérkesthai “to look”; the variant dṛk- forms the Greek aorist (a kind of past tense) édrakon “I saw, looked,” the aorist active participle drakṓn “looking,” and the noun drákōn “serpent, (huge) snake,” also the name of a winged mythical monster, half reptilian, half mammalian, whose look could kill. In Sanskrit the root derk- forms the causative verb darśáyati “(he) makes see.” The Sanskrit root darś-, dṛś- develops into the Hindi root dekh- “to see,” which forms the infinitive dekhnā “to see,” and the imperative dekho “look, see.” Dekko entered English in the late 19th century.

    How is dekko used?

    I'll have a dekko at the furnace, and see what tools I need. Helen Dunmore, The Lie, 2014

    Oh yes, he's here, replied Monteiro Rossi, but he doesn't like to burst in just like that, he's sent me on ahead to take a dekko. Antonio Tabucchi, Pereira Declares, translated by Patrick Creagh, 1995

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