Word of the Day

Word of the day

Friday, December 03, 2021

stewardship

[ stoo-erd-ship, styoo- ]

noun

the responsible overseeing and protection of something considered worth caring for and preserving.

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What is the origin of stewardship?

Stewardship is a compound of the common noun steward “a manager of someone’s property or finances” and the native English suffix –ship, which denotes condition, office, or skill. From about the beginning of the 20th century, stewardship in many Christian denominations has acquired the sense “obligation for the responsible use of time, money, and talents in the service of God and of one’s neighbor.” Stewardship entered English in the 15th century.

how is stewardship used?

Stewardship means, for most of us, find your place on the planet, dig in, and take responsibility from there—the tiresome but tangible work of school boards, county supervisors, local foresters—local politics. … Get a sense of workable territory, learn about it, and start acting point by point.

Gary Snyder, Turtle Island, 1974

On the campaign trail, [Michelle Wu] put forward bold policy proposals and vowed to use the bully pulpit of the mayorship to push for change in arenas outside the purview of City Hall, such as rent control and a fare-free T system …. Wu laid out an agenda to take on inequality and “uneven opportunity” in Boston under her stewardship.

Christopher Gavin, "7 things to know about Michelle Wu," Boston.com, November 2, 2021

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Word of the day

Thursday, December 02, 2021

prerogative

[ pri-rog-uh-tiv, puh-rog- ]

noun

a right, privilege, etc., limited to a specific person or to persons of a particular category.

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What is the origin of prerogative?

Prerogative “a right limited to a specific person” derives via Middle English from Latin praerogātīvus “voting first,” a compound of the preposition prae “before” and the verb rogāre “to ask, propose.” Prae is the source of the prefix pre-, which appears in three other words in this paragraph, while rogāre gives rise to several question- and claim-related words, such as arrogant (originally meaning “presuming”), interrogate, and surrogate (originally meaning “to nominate as a substitute”). Prerogative was first recorded in English in the late 1300s.

how is prerogative used?

“The law of Treasure Trove, as we call it in this country, is in a most chaotic state …. The law, such as it is, seems to rest on Royal Prerogative; but what the base of that prerogative is, no one seems exactly to know.”

Bram Stoker, The Mystery of the Sea, 1902

It’s a president’s prerogative to replace the chair of the Federal Reserve Board, if desired, when that person’s four-year term runs out. But most presidents reappoint if the chair wants to stay on the job.

"Keep Jerome Powell as Fed chair", Star Tribune, November 9, 2021

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Word of the day

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

anorak

[ an-uh-rak, ah-nuh-rahk ]

noun

a hooded pullover jacket originally made of fur and worn in the Arctic, now made of any weather-resistant fabric.

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What is the origin of anorak?

Anorak “a hooded pullover jacket made of fur” is an adaptation of Greenlandic Inuit annoraaq. Though anoraks were originally made from fur, over the past century, additional fabric options have emerged as alternatives. The Inuit groups of Greenland developed anoraks, while parkas, which are similar garments, arose among the peoples of northern Russia who speak one of the Nenets languages. An additional sense of anorak in British slang—and a very specific sense at that—refers to socially awkward people who are passionate about hobbies that others find tedious. Anorak was first recorded in English in the early 1920s.

how is anorak used?

On an early morning last June, I hit the streets of Lyme Regis dressed in a borrowed pair of Wellington boots and an anorak, hood cinched around my face against a cold wind. Sheets of rain had turned the steep streets of the historic town into rivulets, and the surrounding hilltops were shrouded in a dense, milky fog, known locally as Rousdon Mist. It was high summer on England’s southwest coast.

David Shaftel, “Searching for Dinosaurs in a Seaside English Town,” New York Times, May 23, 2018

The actor Richard Madden, all in black, fastened a punctilious safety pin on his lapel, while the singer Frank Ocean wore a nylon Prada anorak that transformed him into a backpack. Elegance is refusal.

Troy Patterson, "The Best-Dressed Men at the Met Gala 2019: Risking Foolishness, Arriving at Defiant Good Taste," The New Yorker, May 7, 2019

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