Word of the Day

Sunday, December 23, 2018

stodge

[ stoj ]

verb

to stuff full, especially with food or drink; gorge.

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What is the origin of stodge?

The adjective stodgy “thick, heavy, dull (of food, clothes, books, people)” is fairly common, but not so its source, the verb stodge “to stuff full, gorge; trudge along.” Stodgy appeared in the 19th century and applied to glutinous mud and roads; a quarter of a century later (in the 1850s), stodgy referred to heavy foods like porridge or potatoes; in the 1870s stodgy meant “dull, boring (of people, one’s own life).” The etymology of stodge is unknown; it entered English in the 17th century.

how is stodge used?

A “City man,” on the other hand … stodges his stomach with rich food three times a day …

T. Clifford Allbutt, "Nervous Diseases and Modern Life," Contemporary Review, February 1895

… as he cuts, bolts, and gulps, smacks, sniffs, and stodges, his eyes examine, his eyes observe, the ever-diminishing remnant upon the plate …

Alfred Döblin, Berlin Alexanderplatz, translated by Eugene Jolas, 1931
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Saturday, December 22, 2018

turtledove

[ tur-tl-duhv ]

noun

a sweetheart or beloved mate.

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What is the origin of turtledove?

The turtle in turtledove has nothing to do with the aquatic and terrestrial reptile whose trunk is enclosed in a shell. The ultimate derivation of the reptilian turtle is Greek Tartaroûchos “controlling Tartarus, holding the nether world”; the word turtle entered English in the 17th century. Turtledove is a compound of Old English turtla, from Latin turtur “turtledove,” imitating the call of the bird. Dove comes from Old English dufe, dūfe and is related to the verb dive. Similar forms are found in other Germanic languages. Turtledove entered English in the 14th century.

how is turtledove used?

You look anything but miserable, my turtledove. In fact, I never saw you look so well.

E. F. Harkins, The Schemers, 1903

A whole new world was mine the day … I met my turtledove … for since we’ve been together … my heart has been in love.

Ben Burroughs, "Since We Met," Gettysburg Times, February 2, 1962
Friday, December 21, 2018

hibernal

[ hahy-bur-nl ]

adjective

of or relating to winter; wintry.

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What is the origin of hibernal?

Hibernal “wintry, appearing in winter” and also “pertaining to the winter of life” comes straight from the Late Latin adjective hībernālis “wintry,” first appearing in the Vulgate (the Latin version of the Bible as edited or translated by St. Jerome). Hībernālis comes from Latin hībernus, which comes from a hypothetical Proto-Indo-European adjective gheimrinos, source also of Greek cheimerinós “in winter, winter’s,” and Slavic (Polish) zimny “cold.” Gheimrinos is formed from the Proto-Indo-European root ghei-, ghi- “snow, winter.” The form ghimo- appears in the Sanskrit noun himá- “cold, frost, snow,” familiar to us in the Himālaya Mountains, “Snow’s abode.” Hibernal entered English in the 17th century.

how is hibernal used?

The sky was in its grey wintry mood where there is no blue break in the clouds to be expected, no bright spell to hope for, nothing for it but to accept the hibernal darkness the way you accept love or death.

Jean Rouaud, The World More or Less, translated by Barbara Wright, 1998

Here’s where to engage in sledding, animal tracking, tree tapping, cross-country skiing, and other hibernal pursuits without ever leaving town.

, "Out in the Cold," New York, January 12, 1981

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