Word of the Day

Word of the day

Saturday, January 16, 2021

terrene

[ te-reen, tuh-, ter-een ]

adjective

earthly; worldly.

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What is the origin of terrene?

Terrene ultimately comes, via Middle English terrene, terrain, from Anglo-French terreine, terren, from Old French terrïen, from Latin terrēnus “belonging to or living on dry land, earthly, earthy, pertaining to the material part of humans, belonging to this mortal world (as opposed to the celestial or divine).” Terrēnus is a derivative of the noun terra (from unrecorded tersa) “land, dry land, mainland, surface of the earth,” from the Proto-Indo-European root ters– “to dry,” from which Greek derives térsesthai “to become dry,” Albanian ter “to dry (in the open air),” and Old English thurst “dryness,” English “thirst.” Terrene entered English in the 14th century.

how is terrene used?

Over all this Raynaud looked from his high citadel as if he had no concern in these terrene matters.

C. F. Keary, "The Four Students," Macmillan's Magazine, January 1892

we were created, and sent into the world, to struggle through many hardships; some to serve for examples to deter others from vice, some to prove that Virtue enables her votaries to rise above all terrene objects.

Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, Emma; or, The Unfortunate Attachment, 1773

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Friday, January 15, 2021

ergo

[ ur-goh, er-goh ]

conjunction, adverb

therefore.

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What is the origin of ergo?

The conjunction and adverb ergo comes straight from the Latin conjunction ergō, ergo “therefore, consequently, accordingly, and so,” much used in rhetoric and logic. Ergo came into Middle English toward the end of the 14th century as a conjunction or adverb introducing the conclusion of a syllogism, e.g., “Socrates is a man, / all men are mortal; / ergo Socrates is mortal.”

how is ergo used?

Nonetheless, receiving rapid testing for the virus has become a mark of status and, ergo, a trending topic on social media.

Alyson Krueger, "Rapid Testing Is the New Velvet Rope," New York Times, August 16, 2020

Almost all professional orchestras have their own Web sites, where you can … read cute bios of the players. (The oboist bungee-jumps; ergo, musicians are human beings, not alien geeks.)

Alex Ross, "On the Road," The New Yorker, June 25, 2007

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Word of the day

Thursday, January 14, 2021

discombobulate

[ dis-kuhm-bob-yuh-leyt ]

verb (used with object)

to confuse or disconcert; upset; frustrate.

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What is the origin of discombobulate?

Discombobulate “to confuse, upset, or frustrate” was originally a jocular American coinage from the North Midland U.S. (from Ohio west through Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa, to Nebraska). Discombobulate is a pseudo-Latinism like absquatulate and confusticate, and based on learned Latin words like disaffiliate or disaggregate, or humorous alterations of discompose or discomfort. The many variant spellings include discombobligate, discombobolate, discomboberate, discombooberate, and discumboblificate. Discombobulate entered English in 1825 in the spelling discomboberated.

how is discombobulate used?

The filmmaking theory seems to be that if you discombobulate viewers with random shifts of the camera perhaps they won’t notice that your U.F.O. show contains no hard evidence of U.F.O.’s.

Neil Genzlinger, "An Alien March Madness: Is There Life in Space?" New York Times, February 28, 2014

On how humankind will cope, I tend to take the long view: new transformative technologies have discombobulated us before and we’ve managed to adapt—to the invention of writing and printing, to living in cities, to the Industrial Revolution and instant communication and automobiles and nuclear technology.

Kurt Andersen, "Enthusiasts and Skeptics Debate Artificial Intelligence," Vanity Fair, November 26, 2014

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