Word of the Day

Word of the day


[ suhf-rij ] [ ˈsʌf rɪdʒ ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


the right to vote, especially in a political election.

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More about suffrage

Suffrage “the right to vote” comes from Latin suffrāgium “voting tablet,” and though suffrage resembles suffer, the two are not completely related. While suffer comes from Latin sufferre “to endure,” suffrage is ultimately based on the verb suffrāgārī “to support.” These two Latin verbs share a prefix, the preposition sub “under” (which assimilates to suf- when followed by an f for easier pronunciation), but sufferre combines sub with ferre “to bear,” and the -frāgārī part of suffrāgārī is of uncertain origin. The most popular hypothesis is that -frāgārī is related to the verb frangere “to break,” which would make suffrage a relative of fracture, fragile, fragment, and frangible. Suffrage was first recorded in English in the late 14th century.

how is suffrage used?

Prominent U.S. suffrage organizations ignored the exclusion of Puerto Rican women from the 19th Amendment—just as many of them ignored the struggles of women of color to gain citizenship or exercise voting rights within the states …. Not until another electoral coalition including Socialists won control of the Puerto Rican legislature in 1933 did it become possible to extend suffrage to all women.

Anne S. Macpherson, “The 19th Amendment didn’t grant Puerto Rican women suffrage,“ Washington Post, August 26, 2020

References are often made to the challenges concerning universal suffrage in Somalia, but in fact, away from the central government in Mogadishu, some states in the Somali federal system are showing what is possible—for example, the state of Puntland successfully made local elections with a one person, one vote system in some districts in recent months.

Claire Thomas and Mohamed Eno, “An election successfully completed—but at what price?” Open Global Rights, June 6, 2022
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[ lib-uh-rey-shuhn ] [ ˌlɪb əˈreɪ ʃən ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


the act or fact of gaining equal rights or full social or economic opportunities for a particular group.

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More about liberation

Liberation “the act of gaining equal rights” is adapted from Latin līberātiō “a setting free, a release,” which comes from the verb līberāre “to free” and, ultimately, the adjective līber “free, open, frank.” From here, there is the possibility for confusion, as the adjective līber “free,” the noun līber “child,” and the noun liber “book, bark” are all common words in Latin. Līber “free” is also the source of deliver, liberal, libertarian, and liberty, and it comes from an ancient root meaning “people”; compare the names Leopold (literally “bold people”) and Luther (“people army”). Līber “child” literally means “free one” and almost exclusively appears as plural līberī “children.” Meanwhile, liber “book” is the source of libel, library, and libretto, and it is unrelated to either līber. Take care not to confuse these nearly identical words! Liberation was first recorded in English in the early 15th century.

how is liberation used?

In 1982, … young gay rights activists including [Ralf] Dose hoped to shed light on LGBTQ persecution and activism. He and others were eager to learn about their predecessors in the 1920s, figures like [Magnus] Hirschfeld who’d made great strides in liberation before being exiled or killed by the Nazis …. As he pieced together these findings, Dose realized how much broader Hirschfeld’s focus was than gay liberation.

Nina Strochlic, “The great hunt for the world's first LGBTQ archive,” National Geographic, June 28, 2022

It is also a good time to remember Anahita Ratebzad, the mother of Afghan women’s liberation, and to uphold the gender equality she fought so hard to achieve. When the April Revolution erupted in Afghanistan in 1978, Ratebzad was in the thick of the battle, a leader of the People’s Democratic Party.

Tim Wheeler, “Remembering Anahita Ratebzad, socialist leader and mother of Afghan women’s liberation,” People’s World, August 19, 2021
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Word of the day


[ gal-vuh-nahyz ] [ ˈgæl vəˌnaɪz ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling

verb (used with object)

to startle into sudden activity; stimulate.

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More about galvanize

Galvanize “to startle into sudden activity” is adapted from French galvaniser, of the same meaning. The change from French s to English z reflects the spelling standards of modern English; while UK English has largely preserved the original s and uses galvanise, US English typically prefers the use of -ize in verbs—though there are exceptions such as advertise and advise. French galvaniser is the namesake of Luigi Galvani, an Italian physiologist who conducted experiments with electricity in the 18th century. Though there is no consensus on the source of the surname Galvani, one hypothesis is that it shares an origin with Gawain, the name of a knight of the Round Table, which likely comes from the Welsh word gwalch “hawk.” Galvanize was first recorded in English circa 1800.

how is galvanize used?

The presence of the enemy seemed to galvanize the growers, underscoring the subtext of Elliot’s message: that their industry was under attack, and they needed D&W’s crisis-management services.

Ruth Ozeki, All Over Creation, 2003

Police and city leaders in several Jersey Shore towns are ready to shut down any raucous pop-up parties. In recent weeks, content creators on TikTok or other social media platforms have galvanized thousands of people to head to the Jersey Shore.

Astrid Martínez, “Point Pleasant Beach taking steps to prevent future pop-up parties,” CBS News, June 18, 2022
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