Word of the Day

Saturday, December 15, 2018

supplicate

[ suhp-li-keyt ]

verb

to pray humbly to; entreat or petition humbly.

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What is the origin of supplicate?

Supplicate comes directly from Latin supplicātus, past participle of the verb supplicāre “to sue for forgiveness or mercy, make a humble petition.” The Latin verb is a derivative of the adjective supplex (stem supplic-) “bringing peace, making humble petition.” Supplex and supplicāre come from the root plāk-, plak-, the source of Latin placēre “to please, be acceptable to” (source of English placebo “I shall please” and pleasant, via Old French), and plācāre “to conciliate, calm,” whose past participle plācātus is the source of English placate. Supplicate entered English in the 15th century.

how is supplicate used?

Alas! on my knees I supplicate you to forbear–Will you leave me a prey to Frederic?

Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto, 1746

I ask you but to extend to one whose fault was committed under strong temptation that mercy which even you yourself, Lord King, must one day supplicate at a higher tribunal, and for faults, perhaps, less venial.

Sir Walter Scott, The Talisman, 1825
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Friday, December 14, 2018

luculent

[ loo-kyoo-luhnt ]

adjective

convincing; cogent.

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What is the origin of luculent?

English luculent comes straight from the Latin adjective lūculentus, a derivative of lux (stem lūc-) “light,” from a very widespread Proto-Indo-European root leuk-, louk-, luk- “light, bright.” (The suffixed form leuktom becomes leuhtan in Germanic, lēoht in Old English, and light in English.) Latin lūculentus and English luculent are not much used in their literal senses but have a metaphorical sense like splendid and the colloquial British brilliant. Luculent entered English in the 15th century.

how is luculent used?

The thundering acclamations, which greeted the close of that luculent and powerful exposition, the zeal with which the concourse hailed him unanimously Savior of Rome and Father of his country …

Henry William Herbert, The Roman Traitor, 1846

… now he would favour us with a grace … expatiating on this text with so luculent a commentary, that Scott, who had been fumbling with his spoon long before he reached his Amen, could not help exclaiming as he sat down, ‘Well done, Mr. George!”

John Gibson Lockhart, The Life of Sir Walter Scott, 1837–1838
Thursday, December 13, 2018

nummary

[ nuhm-uh-ree ]

adjective

of or relating to coins or money.

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What is the origin of nummary?

The adjective nummary comes straight from Latin nummārius “pertaining to coins or money,” a derivative of nummus (also nūmus), the name of several silver or gold coins. The Latin nouns come from noûmmos “current coin” in a western Doric Greek dialect spoken in southern Italy and Sicily and equivalent to Greek nómos “law, custom, something in customary or habitual use.” Nummary entered English in the early 17th century.

how is nummary used?

… Re-coinages, which had the same Effect in depreciating nummary Denominations in France, that frequent and large Emissions of Paper-Money have in our Colonies …

William Douglass, "A Discourse Concerning the Currencies of the British Plantations in America," 1740

His capital does not have a numerical or nummary value, but it nonetheless has a value, if only in the sustenance he gets out of putting it to productive use.

Manu Saadia, Trekonomics, 2016

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