Word of the Day

Word of the day

Sunday, September 29, 2019

spitzenburg

[ spit-suhn-burg ]

noun

any of several red or yellow varieties of apple that ripen in the autumn.

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What is the origin of spitzenburg?

A spitzenburg or spitzenberg is a variety of apple from Esopus, New York, a town on the west bank of the Hudson River about 100 miles north of New York City. The full name of the variety of apple is Esopus Spitzenberg, after Esopus, a Lenape (Delaware Indian) word meaning “high banks,” and Dutch spits “point” and berg “mountain” (a seedling was found on a hill near Esopus). This variety of apple was a favorite of Thomas Jefferson, who had several trees of the variety planted at Monticello. Spitzenburg entered English at the end of the 18th century.

how is spitzenburg used?

… the old gentleman turned in his tracks, looked at me severely, and said, “Young man, the Spitzenburg is the best apple God ever invented.”

Fred Lape, Apples & Man, 1979

Biting into a Spitzenburg produces an explosion of flavor; the yellow flesh is crisp, firm, tender, juicy with an extremely rich, aromatic flavor: the ultimate gourmet apple.

Peter J. Hatch, The Fruits and Fruit Trees of Monticello, 1998
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Word of the day

Saturday, September 28, 2019

maugre

[ maw-ger ]

preposition

Archaic.

in spite of; notwithstanding.

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What is the origin of maugre?

The archaic preposition maugre “in spite of; notwithstanding” shows its origin in some of its other Middle English spellings, e.g., malgrie, malgre, from Old French maugré, malgré, mal gré, malgreit. The open compound mal gré shows the etymology of maugre: the Old French adjective mal “bad, wrongful” (from Latin malus “bad, unpleasant, evil”) and the noun gré, gred, gret “pleasure, goodwill, favor” (from Latin grātum “(something) pleasing,” a noun use of the neuter of the adjective grātus). Old French gré is the source of Middle English gre “goodwill, favor,” from which English has the archaic noun gree in the same sense. Maugre entered English at the end of the 13th century.

how is maugre used?

He had his faults; but maugre them all, I loved him.

Willis Gaylord Clark, "Everard Graham," Atkinson's Casket, July 1831

In his only tender moment, [Shakespeare’s] Aaron promises: ” This before all the world do I prefer, This maugre all the world will I keep safe. “

Mary Wiltenburg, "Acting with conviction," Christian Science Monitor, July 24, 2001

Word of the day

Friday, September 27, 2019

viridity

[ vuh-rid-i-tee ]

noun

youth; innocence; inexperience.

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What is the origin of viridity?

English viridity “greenness (as of vegetation); youth and inexperience,” comes via Old French viridité “greenness,” from Latin viriditās (stem viriditāt-) “greenness (as of vegetation); youth and inexperience” (a sense lacking in the French), a derivative of the adjective viridis “green, abounding in vegetation, unripe (vegetables and cereals), clear, fresh (of the air after rain).” Viridity entered English in the 15th century.

how is viridity used?

What intellectual viridity that exemplary creature possesses!

Theodore Edward Hook, "Passion and Principle," Sayings and Doings, Vol. 2, 1825

I preface the incident thus abruptly, from a desire to extenuate in some measure at the outset my dear parent’s viridity and trustfulness in the matter ….

, "Watching the Clock," Chambers's Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Arts, February 13, 1858

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