Word of the Day

Word of the day

Saturday, August 04, 2018

squiz

[ skwiz ]

noun

a quick, close look.

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What is the origin of squiz?

The noun squiz is a piece of slang used in Australian and New Zealand. Most slang terms are of uncertain origin, and squiz is no exception: it is possibly a blend of quiz and squint. Squiz entered English in the 20th century.

how is squiz used?

He’d been at me for months to come in and have a squiz at the work he’d done, but I really didn’t care that much, and kept putting him off.

Peter Doyle, The Devil's Jump, 2001

She shrugged–which sort of annoyed me too–and I led her clomping to the front room where the sun was streaming in, and I had another squiz.

Anne Kennedy, The Last Days of the National Costume, 2013
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Word of the day

Friday, August 03, 2018

arctophile

[ ahrk-tuh-fahyl ]

noun

a person who is very fond of and is usually a collector of teddy bears.

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What is the origin of arctophile?

Arctophile means just “bear loving, bear lover,” but in modern English specifically a lover of teddy bears, not grizzlies. The suffix -phile “lover of, enthusiast for” is completely naturalized in English, as in cinephile, audiophile. The element arcto- comes from Greek árktos “bear,” the Greek result of a very widespread (and complicated in its development) Proto-Indo-European noun ṛ́tko- (earlier H₂ṛ́tko-) “bear” (the H₂ was possibly pronounced as in German Bach). Greek transposed the -tk- to -kt-. In Hittite the original H₂ṛ́tkos (spelled ḫartaggaš in the clumsy Hittite cuneiform) was probably pronounced hartkas, which is very close to the hypothetical form but is of uncertain meaning: the name of a predatory animal (?), a cult official (?). In the Indo-Iranian languages, Sanskrit ṛkṣa- and Avestan arša- are regular developments from ṛ́tko-. Italic (Latin) ursus has two problems: u- instead of o-, and the exact source of the first s. Celtic artos becomes art in Middle Irish, and arth in Welsh (Arthur in Welsh means “bear man”). Arctophile entered English in the 20th century.

how is arctophile used?

Unless you’re an arctophile, which is just a fancy way of saying a teddy bear devotee, the name likely doesn’t mean much, but it means a lot to collectors.

John J. Lamb, The Crafty Teddy, 2007

I am a past president of the American Society of Teddy Bear Collectors and have contributed dozens of articles to Teddy Bear Review and other arctophile journals.

Clifford Chase, Winkie, 2006

Word of the day

Thursday, August 02, 2018

nubilous

[ noo-buh-luhs, nyoo- ]

adjective

cloudy or foggy.

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What is the origin of nubilous?

The English adjective nubilous comes straight from Latin nūbilus, a derivative of nūbēs “cloud.” The uncommon Proto-Indo-European root sneudh- “fog, mist, cloud” lies behind the Latin words and appears as well in several Iranian languages, e.g., Avestan snaodha- “clouds” and Baluchi nōd “light clouds, fog”; Greek nythós “dark, dumb,” and Welsh nudd “mist, fog.” Nubilous entered English in the 16th century.

how is nubilous used?

… it seemed, in their arbitrary disposition of the world’s affairs, the Fates had ordained that Peyton’s sky should always be nubilous

Montgomery G. Preston, "An Eventful Evening," Godey's Lady's Book and Magazine," February 1876

Her azure eyes are nubilous.

Antoinette van Heugten, Saving Max, 2010

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