Word of the Day

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

suborn

[ suh-bawrn ]

verb

to bribe or induce (someone) unlawfully or secretly to perform some misdeed or to commit a crime.

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What is the origin of suborn?

The Latin verb subornāre, the ultimate source of English suborn, is composed of the prefix sub- “under, subordinate, near to, partially, secretly” and the verb ornāre “to prepare, equip, arrange.” Ornāre is from an assumed ordnāre, a derivative of the noun ordō (stem ordin-) “line, row, rank, grade.” Subornāre has several meanings: when the sense of the verb ornāre predominates, the compound means “to supply, furnish; to dress up (in costume or disguise); when the sense of the prefix sub-, meaning “secretly, covertly,” predominates, the compound means “to instigate secretly or underhandedly, prepare clandestinely.” An extension of this last sense, “to induce someone to commit a crime or perjury,” from suborner in Old and Middle French, is its current sense in English. Suborn entered English in the 16th century.

how is suborn used?

… he had been concerned “because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals.”

Elizabeth Olson, "Former C.I.A. Chief John Brennan to Become a Fellow at Fordham," New York Times, September 4, 2017

… I had been brought in as a spy, to help in betraying him, and Joyce had suborned him to the act of treachery.

Bram Stoker, The Snake's Pass, 1890
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Tuesday, May 08, 2018

infomania

[ in-fuh-mey-nee-uh, -foh- ]

noun

Digital Technology. a. an obsessive need to constantly check emails, social media websites, online news, etc.: The fear of being out of the loop, not in the know, fuels infomania, especially among teens. b. the effects of this obsession, especially a decline in the ability to concentrate: She attributes her increasingly poor “life management skills” to infomania.

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What is the origin of infomania?

Infomania is a modern combination of information and mania. It entered English in the 1970s.

how is infomania used?

The Bagus Gran Cyber Cafés are Tokyo’s grand temples of infomania. … At first glance the spread looks officelike, but be warned: these places are drug dens for Internet addicts.

Virginia Heffernan, "In Tokyo, the New Trend Is 'Media Immersion Pods'," New York Times, May 14, 2006

Since then, he has led the charge at Intel to deal with “infomania,” which he describes as a debilitating state of mental overload–caused by backlogs of e-mail, plus interruptions such as e-mail notifications, cell phones and instant messages.

Stephanie Overby, "A Cure for Infomania," CIO, July 1, 2007
Monday, May 07, 2018

ocellated

[ os-uh-ley-tid, oh-sel-ey-tid ]

adjective

having eyelike spots or markings.

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What is the origin of ocellated?

The English adjective ocellated is a derivative of the Latin noun ocellus “(little) eye,” a diminutive of oculus “eye.” Ocellus is used especially in affectionate language, equivalent to “apple of my eye” or “darling.” As a horticultural term, ocellus means “incision made in the bark for inserting a bud or scion.” The only modern sense of ocellus does not occur in Latin; it is a zoological term meaning “simple eye or light-sensitive organ; a colored spot on birds’ feathers or butterflies” and dates from the 18th century.

how is ocellated used?

… Méline’s nose and eyes are such that you would swear you were looking at an ocellated butterfly, perching on a rosebud.

Éric Chevillard, On the Ceiling, translated by Jordan Stump, 2000

Fantasia was quick to push close the door behind them, although when doing so momentarily trapped the end of the cockbird’s ocellated or ‘eyed’ tail-feathers which, as a consequence, gave the signal for pandemonium to break loose.

Jeremy Mallinson, The Count's Cats, 2004

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