Word of the Day

Sunday, April 08, 2018

truckle

[ truhk-uhl ]

verb

to submit or yield obsequiously or tamely (usually followed by to): Don't truckle to unreasonable demands.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of truckle?

The noun truckle originally (in the early 15th century) meant “a small wheel with a groove around its circumference for a cord or rope to run.” Later in the same century, truckle also had the meaning “a small wheel or roller placed under a heavy object to help move it.” In the 17th century truckle was short for truckle bed or trundle bed, i.e., a low bed moving on casters and usually stored under a larger bed. It is from this last sense, the supine sense, as it were, that truckle acquired its current meaning “to yield or submit meekly” in the 17th century.

how is truckle used?

If anything, having professionals serve who remember that their oath is to support and defend the Constitution—and not to truckle to an individual or his clique—will be more important than ever.

Eliot Cohen, "To An Anxious Friend," The American Interest, November 10, 2016

By refusing to truckle to power, by adopting Afro-centric stylings and proclaiming that black really was beautiful, she became a heroine for generations of African American women.

Louis Bayard, "Book Review of 'Princess Noire: The Tumultuous Reign of Nina Simone,' by Nadine Cohodas," Washington Post, February 28, 2010
quiz icon
WHAT'S YOUR WORD IQ?
Think you're a word wizard? Try our word quiz, and prove it!
TAKE THE QUIZ
arrows pointing up and down
SYNONYM OF THE DAY
Double your word knowledge with the Synonym of the Day!
SEE TODAY'S SYNONYM

Get A Vocabulary Boost In Your Inbox

Get the Word of the Day every day!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Saturday, April 07, 2018

phraseology

[ frey-zee-ol-uh-jee ]

noun

manner or style of verbal expression; characteristic language: legal phraseology.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of phraseology?

In the early 17th century (1604) phrasiology (or phrasiologie) was the original English spelling of phraseology. There is no Greek noun phrasiología, let alone phraseología, but phrasiology is correctly derived from Greek phrásis “speech, enunciation, expression, idiom, phrase” and the combining form -logía “science (of).” The current spelling phraseology ultimately rests on the Greek word phraseologia “phrase book” of Michael Neander (1525-95), a German humanist, educator and philologist. Neander possibly derived phrase- from phráseōs, the genitive singular of phrásis. Phraseology entered English in the mid-17th century.

how is phraseology used?

The will is not exactly proper in legal phraseology.

George Bernard Shaw, The Devil's Disciple, 1897

… three previous presidents distinguished themselves through phraseology: “morning in America,” “city on a hill,” “tear down this wall,” “new world order,” “thousand points of light,” “axis of evil,” “bigotry of low expectations.”

Derek Thompson, "Donald Trump's Language Is Reshaping American Politics," The Atlantic, February 15, 2018
Friday, April 06, 2018

mushyheaded

[ muhsh-ee-hed-id, moosh- ]

adjective

Informal. inadequately thought out: mushyheaded ideas.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of mushyheaded?

Mush, cornmeal boiled in water or milk until thick, eaten as a hot cereal, or molded and fried, is originally an Americanism dating back to the late 17th century. A derivative compound, mushhead “a stupid person,” also an Americanism, dates to the mid-19th century; its derivative adjective mush-headed “easily duped, stupid”, dates to the second half of the 19th century. Mushyheaded (or mushy-headed), a variant of mush-headed, dates to the late 20th century.

how is mushyheaded used?

Hard-headed because it accepts self-interest as the basic human motivator and does not wish it away into what Alinsky considers the mushy-headed idea that people will do good because they believe in the good.

Frank Bardacke, Trampling Out the Vintage, 2011

Though Cotton acknowledges that this might seem elitist, he derides the Federalists’ modern critics as mushy-headed and naive.

Molly Ball, "The Making of a Conservative Superstar," The Atlantic, September 17, 2014

Get A Vocabulary Boost In Your Inbox

Get the Word of the Day every day!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.