Of The Day
an odd gadget; gewgaw; trinket.
Trangam, also spelled trangame, trangram, and trankum, is a rare noun with no obvious etymology. Sir Walter Scott (1771–1832) helped revive trangam in The Abbot (1820), one of the earlier Waverley Novels. Trangam entered English in the 17th century.
And meet time it was, when yon usher, vinegar-faced rogue that he is, began to enquire what popish trangam you were wearing …
Go, go your ways, get you gone, and finefy your Knacks and Tranghams …
a person with a strong or irresistible propensity for fantasizing, lying, or exaggerating.
The noun and adjective mythomane is a relatively recent word, dating from only the 1950s, and is a synonym for the noun and adjective mythomaniac, which is almost a century older (1857). Mythomaniac originally meant someone passionate about or obsessed with myths, its etymological meaning. By the early 1920s mythomaniac had acquired its current sense “someone with a strong or irresistible propensity for fantasizing, lying, or exaggerating.” The Greek noun mŷthos means “word, discourse, conversation, story, tale, saga, myth”; it does not mean “lie.” The curious thing is that the source word mythomania “lying or exaggerating to an abnormal degree” dates from only 1909.
Lawrence himself was a mythomane and, after the first world war, took particular pains to project an image of himself to the public that was as much a construct as anything worked up by the PR team of a film star or celebrity of today.
… he is a flat-out mythomane, dedicated to the Sublime, the Enormous and the Ultra-German; a marvelous artist at his best and at his worst a Black Forest ham.
of or growing in snow: nival flora.
The adjective nival comes straight from Latin nivālis “of or belonging to snow, snowy, covered in snow,” a derivative of the noun nix (inflectional stem niv-) “snow.” The adjective is relatively rare, being confined to zoology, botany, and physical geography. Nix is related to English snow, Sanskrit sneha-, Slavic (Polish) śnieg, and Irish snigid “it’s raining.” Nival entered English in the mid-17th century.
… when the Alpine climbers ascend the snow-clad mountains of picturesque Switzerland and gather a pretty little bouquet of a dozen different nival flowers, on that barren zone ….
The nival region is characterised by accumulating snow deposits, both in the completely nival province where precipitation takes the form solely of snow and the semi-nival province where this is interrupted by rainfall.
utterly done in or at the end of one's tether; exhausted.
In Australian English euchred has meant “exhausted, destitute” since the second half of the 19th century, a meaning that formerly existed in American English. The sense derives from the card game euchre (originally American) in which, if a player plays a round and fails to take three tricks, they are euchred “done for,” a sense that was extended to “outwitted, outdone, deceived, cheated.” Euchre, the name of the card game, dates from the first half of the 19th century and has no known etymology.
You had one water bottle a day for all purposes, and it would be 48 degrees, so we were euchred physically as much as anything else, and it’s very wearing on the mental factor.
My breath comes hard—I’m euchred boy …
tending to make or preserve peace; conciliatory: pacific overtures.
The adjective pacific ultimately derives from the Latin adjective pācificus “making peace, peaceable,” a compound derived from pāx (inflectional stem pāc– “peace”) and –ficus, a combining form of the verb facere “to do, make.” In the Vulgate (the late 4th-century Latin version of the Bible, used by the Roman Catholic Church), pācificus as an adjective means “peace-loving,” and as a noun “peace offerings.” The Romans wanted peace like everyone else, but on their own terms. The great Roman historian Tacitus in his Agricola, a biography of his father-in-law, has the British chieftain Calgacus deliver a speech in which Calgacus says of the Romans, … ubi sōlitūdinem faciunt, pācem appellant, “… where they make a desert, they call it peace.” Pacific entered English in the 16th century.
My mother was a very calm, pacific individual, and I learned from her to be the same way.
In this way arose the Roman empire, the largest, the most stable, and in its best days the most pacific political aggregate the world had as yet seen.
something that is uproariously funny, as a joke or a situation.
Sidesplitter is perfectly obvious in its derivation and meaning: something that is so uproariously funny that you split your sides from laughing. Sidesplitter first appears in a weekly newspaper, the New-York Mirror, in 1834 and slightly later in England.
If the lyric “In New York, you can be a real ham” sounds like a sidesplitter, this one’s for you.
My appreciation of the short form was enhanced when I discovered the quirky humor of Damon Runyon and Ring Larder, clearly at their peak in a twenty-page sidesplitter.
Informal: Usually Facetious.
many; numerous; much: It's a hard job, but it pays beaucoup money.
In French, beaucoup is an adverb meaning (in various combinations) “a lot, lots, lots of, much, many.” Beaucoup first appeared in American English about 1760 in the sense “a lot, many.” The word, whether used as a singular or plural, was rare before 1918, when the United States became fully engaged in World War I, as in “We’ve been spending beaucoup francs lately for Uncle Sam,” and as an adverb “very, very much,” as in Ernest Hemingway’s “I’m pulling through my annual tonsilitis now so feel bokoo rotten” (1918). During the 1960s and ’70s, American servicemen returning from Vietnam popularized the word and introduced the spellings boo-koo, boocoo(p).
Grassroots support, a powerful message and good timing can still win elections, even without beaucoup bucks.
Of course, one can ignore the message and simply revel briefly in the traditional values: the days of beaucoup silverware, heaping platters of mutton, folks upstairs and downstairs.