Word of the Day

Thursday, February 15, 2018

SOS

[ es-oh-es ]

noun

any call for help: We sent out an SOS for more typists.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of SOS?

SOS comes from the Morse code alphabet, in which three dots (or short clicks) represents the letter S and three dashes (or long clicks) represents the letter O.

how is SOS used?

When an SOS is heard, there is an immediate response by almost anyone who is in a position to be of assistance and a prayerful response by those are unable to assist.

Gilbert P. Pond, "SOS ... SAS," The Rotarian, July 1955

SOS is not only a signal of despair, it is a larger symbol of hope.

, "SOS," New York Times, December 24, 1956
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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

ship

[ ship ]

verb

to take an interest in or hope for a romantic relationship between (fictional characters or famous people), whether or not the romance actually exists: I’m shipping for those guys—they would make a great couple!

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What is the origin of ship?

The verb ship, originally meaning “to discuss or portray a romantic couple in fiction, especially in a serial” is a shortening of (relation)ship and dates only from 1996.

how is ship used?

The characters are ‘shipped by enough people that the duo has a name: Reylo.

Alexis Rhiannon, "Kylo Ren & Rey's 'Last Jedi' Relationship Is Tearing The Fandom Apart & Here's Why," Bustle, December 2017

It’s a popular misunderstanding that one can only ship two characters who are not already romantically involved on a show. In fact, it’s perfectly appropriate to ship, for example, Jim and Pam from “The Office.”

Jonah Engel Bromwich, "Who Do You Ship? What Tumblr Tells Us About Fan Culture," New York Times, December 4, 2017
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Aesopian

[ ee-soh-pee-uh n, ee-sop-ee- ]

adjective

conveying meaning by hint, euphemism, innuendo, or the like: In the candidate's Aesopian language, “soft on Communism” was to be interpreted as “Communist sympathizer.”

learn about the english language

What is the origin of Aesopian?

The English adjective Aesopian has multiple origins. The Latin adjective has the forms Aesōpīus and Aesōpēus, from Greek Aisṓpeios, derivative adjective of the proper name Aísōpos (Aesop). Aesop was a Greek slave who supposedly lived c620 b.c.–c560b.c. on the island of Samos and told animal fables that teach a lesson, e.g., “The Tortoise and the Hare.” Aesopian entered English in the late 17th century.

how is Aesopian used?

Gauss taught that past political thinkers wrote in a kind of code–an Aesopian language of double or multiple meanings–in order to avoid persecution in their own day and to communicate with contemporaries and successors who knew how to read between the lines, as it were.

Terence Ball, Rousseau's Ghost, 1998

By then, some Soviet writers had learned to use the Aesopian language, with its hints and euphemisms, to get their books into print.

Elena Gorokhova, "Beyond Banned: Books That Survived the Censors," NPR, March 30, 2011

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