• Word of the day
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    Saturday, November 10, 2018

    solmization

    noun [sol-muh-zey-shuhn, sohl-]
    Music. the act, process, or system of using certain syllables, especially the sol-fa syllables, to represent the tones of the scale.
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    What is the origin of solmization?

    Solmization comes from French solmization, a derivative of solmiser “to (sing) sol-fa.” The system of solmization is attributed to Guido of Arezzo (c995-1049), a Benedictine monk from Arezzo, Tuscany, who also invented the staff notation used in Western music. Solmization entered English in the 18th century.

    How is solmization used?

    The pupil seems to gain the knowledge of intervals with the power of making them. But surely it would facilitate the labour were the knowledge of distances first instilled by means of solmization. "On Reading Music," The Quarterly Musical Magazine and Review, Vol. IX, 1827

    Guido has been properly called the father of modern music, and the title is richly deserved for in addition to the so-called Guido scale, or hexachord, or solmization--or whatever you call his do-re-mi, plan or fancy--he also invented the staff lines and intervals in music, and many other methods of teaching music in use to this very day. "Monk Started Guido Scale 900 Years Ago in Italy," The Reading Eagle, November 14, 1965

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  • Word of the day
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    Friday, November 09, 2018

    rococo

    adjective [ruh-koh-koh, roh-kuh-koh]
    ornate or florid in speech, literary style, etc.
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    What is the origin of rococo?

    If any word looks Italian or Spanish, rococo certainly does. But in fact rococo is a French word meaning “out of style, old-fashioned” and is a humorous distortion of rocaille “pebble-work, shellwork,” which was done to excess in some 18th-century art, furniture, and architecture. The French word may have been influenced by the Italian adjective barocco “baroque.” Rococo entered English in the 19th century.

    How is rococo used?

    Should you contemplate purchasing a copy of Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez, a "mega-genius" according to Aaron (in private), he will tell you beforehand that García Márquez "is so rococo and torporific you'll need an insulin shot every twenty pages." John Nichols, On Top of Spoon Mountain, 2012

    ... such versions respond to perfectly legitimate concerns about what is comprehensible to a child, who might well feel 'squashed by the words and strangled by the sentence' ... when faced by some of Kingsley's more rococo passages ... Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, "Introduction," The Water-Babies (1863) by Charles Kingsley, 2013

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  • Word of the day
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    Thursday, November 08, 2018

    volute

    noun [vuh-loot]
    a spiral or twisted formation or object.
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    What is the origin of volute?

    Volute is a technical word, a noun used in architecture, ornamental decoration, and marine biology. It comes from French volute or from Latin volūta “scroll.” Volūta is a noun use of volūtus, the past participle of volvere “to turn.” Volute entered English in the late 17th century.

    How is volute used?

    The interior of the tiny temple was dim, and wisps of incense smoke made graceful volutes in the air. John Maddox Roberts, SPQR IX: The Princess and the Pirates, 2005

    My, how light this Alonso de Avila was, forced to walk on mere earth only because of the richness and gravity of his damask and jaguar-skin suits, his gold chains, and his tawny mantle decorate with a reliquary--all of it lightened, let me assure you, by the feathers in his cap and the volutes of his mustache, the wings of his face. Carlos Fuentes, The Orange Tree, translated by Alfred Mac Adam, 1994

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  • Word of the day
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    Wednesday, November 07, 2018

    dissemble

    verb [dih-sem-buhl]
    to conceal one's true motives, thoughts, etc., by some pretense; speak or act hypocritically.
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    What is the origin of dissemble?

    Dissemble comes from late Middle English dissemile, dissimill, an alteration of the verb dissimule (from Old French dissimuler “to keep one’s intentions hidden,” from Latin dissimulāre, “to disguise or conceal one’s thoughts”), and associated in form with the noun semblance and the obsolete verb semble (from Old French sembler, from Latin similāre and simulāre “to pretend”). Dissemble entered English in the sense “to pass over, ignore, neglect” in the 16th century.

    How is dissemble used?

    He counted heavily on his ability to dissemble, knowing that every decent lawyer had at least several drops of dissimulation in his blood. Elizabeth George, Missing Joseph, 1993

    I didn't know how to dissemble, I quite openly acknowledged the mistakes I made, and didn't try hard to hide them. Johann Michael von Loën, The Honest Man at Court, 1748, translated by John R. Russell, 1997

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  • Word of the day
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    Tuesday, November 06, 2018

    dopester

    noun [dohp-ster]
    a person who undertakes to predict the outcome of elections, sports events, or other contests that hold the public interest.
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    What is the origin of dopester?

    The dope at the heart of this Americanism refers to information, data, or news. This slang term dates to 1905–10.

    How is dopester used?

    The 1954 season for predicting the Congressional elections is now in full swing and the political dopesters will be hard at it from now until Nov. 2, when the voters will select more than one-third of the Senators and all of the Congressmen who will sit in the Eighty-fourth Congress. Ruth Silva, "A Look Into a Crystal Election Ball," New York Times, October 10, 1954

    We make no prediction, not being either a dopester or an expert. Ernest C. Hastings, "Stock the Goods That Women Want," Dry Goods Economist, October 21, 1922

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  • Word of the day
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    Monday, November 05, 2018

    bewhiskered

    adjective [bih-hwis-kerd, -wis-]
    ancient, as a witticism, expression, etc.; passé; hoary: a bewhiskered catchword of a bygone era.
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    What is the origin of bewhiskered?

    Bewhiskered is first recorded in 1755–65. It combines be-, a prefix used in the formation of verbs, with whiskered.

    How is bewhiskered used?

    That bewhiskered saying that "pride goeth before a fall" is true only in the case of ignorant people, says The International Lifeman. "Stick Up Your Chin," The Spectator: Life Insurance Supplement, January 7, 1915

    Good things come in small packages. ... This wrinkled and bewhiskered expression haunts our editorial vision when we pause to contemplate the career of a life, progressive citizen of the gopher state, a man small in stature but big in brain. "Sidelights on Men in the Trade," Domestice Engineering, October 3, 1914

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  • Word of the day
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    Sunday, November 04, 2018

    fillip

    noun [fil-uhp]
    anything that tends to rouse, excite, or revive; a stimulus: Praise is an excellent fillip for waning ambition.
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    What is the origin of fillip?

    Fillip is imitative, or onomatopoeic, in origin. Earlier forms include filip, fylippe, philip, and phillip. Fillip looks like a variant of flip, but flip is first recorded in the late 17th century, whereas fillip dates from the 16th.

    How is fillip used?

    It is so pleasant to receive a fillip of excitement when suffering from the dull routine of everyday life! Anthony Trollope, Barchester Towers, 1857

    His ordinary government allowance of spirits, one gill per diem, is not enough to give a sufficient fillip to his listless senses ... Herman Melville, White-Jacket; or, The World in a Man-of-War, 1850

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