Word of the Day

Saturday, November 09, 2019

strepitous

[ strep-i-tuhs ]

adjective

boisterous; noisy.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of strepitous?

Strepitous comes from Latin strepitus “noise,” from strepere “to make noise, rattle, clatter.” Strepere also yields (through the verb obstrepere “to make noise at”) the Latin adjective obstreperus “clamorous.” Obstreperus is the source of a more familiar synonym for strepitous: obstreperous. Strepitous entered English in the late 1600s.

how is strepitous used?

The New Orleans-based songwriter … leans into more explicitly gospel territory here, letting his strepitous guitar take a backseat to an upright-piano melody and choral harmonies.

Rachel Horn, "Songs We Love: Benjamin Booker, 'Witness (Feat. Mavis Staples)'," NPR, March 9, 2017

The fair in its last years degenerated into the usual thing we understand nowadays as a fair: … a gaudy and strepitous saturnalia of roundabouts and mountebanks.

Charles G. Harper, The Old Inns of Old England, Vol. 1, 1906
quiz icon
WHAT'S YOUR WORD IQ?
Think you're a word wizard? Try our word quiz, and prove it!
TAKE THE QUIZ
arrows pointing up and down
SYNONYM OF THE DAY
Double your word knowledge with the Synonym of the Day!
SEE TODAY'S SYNONYM

Get A Vocabulary Boost In Your Inbox

Get the Word of the Day every day!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Friday, November 08, 2019

salutary

[ sal-yuh-ter-ee ]

adjective

promoting or conducive to some beneficial purpose; wholesome.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of salutary?

Salutary ultimately comes from Latin salūs (inflectional stem salūt-) “health, welfare, safety.” In its sense of “promoting or conducive to some beneficial purpose; wholesome,” salutary entered English in the late 1400s. Salutary, in its sense of “favorable to or promoting health; healthful,” emerged in the mid-1600s. A synonym for salutary (“healthful”) is salubrious, which is also rooted in Latin salūs. Salūs could also mean “greeting,” as in greeting someone with “best wishes (for their well-being).” This meaning of salūs gave rise to the verb salūtāre “to greet, hail,” source of the English noun and verb salute.

how is salutary used?

After Gutenberg, books became widely available, setting off a cascade of salutary movements and innovations, including but not limited to the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the steam engine, journalism, modern literature, modern medicine, and modern democracy.

Andrew Marantz, "The Dark Side of Techno-Utopianism," The New Yorker, September 23, 2019

However salutary these tactics may be with regard to the evaporation of the national debt in the countries just mentioned, the fact is nevertheless incontestable that the gold mentality of the world remains unaffected.

Henry Miller, "Money and How It Gets That Way," Stand Still Like the Hummingbird, 1962
Thursday, November 07, 2019

picayune

[ pik-ee-yoon, pik-uh- ]

adjective

Informal.

of little value or account; small; trifling: a picayune amount.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of picayune?

In the early 1800s in Louisiana, Florida, and other Southern U.S. states, the noun picayune designated a coin equal to a Spanish half-real, which was worth a mere six-and-one-quarter cents. Picayune comes from Provençal picaioun (compare French picaillons “money”), a type of copper coin from the historical region of Savoy in southeastern France. While the picayune, as currency, fell out of circulation in the U.S., the word picayune did not. Picayune—on the basis of the coin’s paltry sum—extended as an adjective meaning “of little value or account; small; trifling.” The name of the former coin also survives in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, which cost one picayune when the newspaper was established (as The Picayune) in 1837.

how is picayune used?

The point is less to dwell on the picayune details of what was once known as the “browser wars” than to show how hard it is to escape the hold these companies’ ecosystems have on our lives.

Jacob Silverman, "Breaking up Big Tech may be impossible. It's still worth trying." Washington Post, June 5, 2019

“My client is determined to have his day in court.” “But why?” Swan said. “It’s such a picayune amount of money.”

Matt Braun, Dodge City, 2006

Get A Vocabulary Boost In Your Inbox

Get the Word of the Day every day!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.