Word of the Day

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

turophobia

[ tur-uh-foh-bee-uh ]

noun

an irrational or disproportionate fear of cheese.

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What is the origin of turophobia?

People who desperately avoid cheese may at least be pleased to learn there is a word they can use for their experience: turophobia “an irrational or disproportionate fear of cheese.” This term is formed on tur-, a variant of Greek tȳrós “cheese” and -phobia, a combining form meaning “fear,” itself from Greek phóbos “fear, panic.” Fear not, cheese lovers: a turophile is a connoisseur or lover of cheese, with –phile a Greek-derived combining form meaning “lover of.” Turophobia is fairly new formation in English, recorded in the early 2000s.

how is turophobia used?

Stossel’s own fears include turophobia, a fear of cheese; asthenophobia, a fear of fainting; and claustrophobia.

, "Fear of Fainting, Flight And Cheese: One Man's 'Age of Anxiety'," NPR, January 6, 2014

What is your main character’s worst fear? Is it something universal, like the death of a loved one? Or a rare phobia, like turophobia (fear of cheese).

Sarah Ockler, "10 Prompts to Get You Out of a NaNoWriRut," The NanoWriMo Blog, November 6, 2015
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Tuesday, November 05, 2019

thither

[ thith-er, thith- ]

adverb

to or toward that place or point; there.

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What is the origin of thither?

The adverb thither “to or toward that place or point; there” is an old one in English. Its original form in Old English was thæder, altered to thider (among other forms) due to hider. This adverb hider evolved into a word thither frequently appears together with: hither, as in hither and thither “here and there.” Thither was largely replaced by there (as hither was by here). If you go back far enough in time, you’ll find that thither and there share a common root, as do many humble English function words beginning with th-, including that, this, and the.

how is thither used?

We told them that we were travelling, that we had been transported thither, and that they had nothing to fear from us.

Emanuel Swedenborg, Earths in the Universe, 1758, translated 1860

He was a thorough-going old Tory … who seldom himself went near the metropolis, unless called thither by some occasion of cattle-showing.

Anthony Trollope, The Small House at Allington, 1864
Monday, November 04, 2019

Sprachgefühl

[ shprahkh-guh-fyl ]

noun

German.

a sensitivity to language, especially for what is grammatically or idiomatically acceptable in a given language.

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What is the origin of Sprachgefühl?

If you have sufficient Sprachgefühl for German, you’ll know that this noun is a great example of how that language can form compounds that capture very specific concepts. Sprachgefühl combines German Sprache “speech, language” and Gefühl “feeling.” Literally meaning “speech-feeling,” this term was borrowed into English by the early 1900s to convey the idea of “a sensitivity to language, especially for what is grammatically or idiomatically acceptable in a given language,” that is, an intuitive sense of how a language works. For instance, native English speakers understand (usually without being explicitly taught about adjective order) that a phrase like the green big book is incorrect in English. (The correct construction would be the big green book.)

how is Sprachgefühl used?

He displays an extraordinary range of what Germans call Sprachgefühl, an infectious love of language that inspires his readers and illuminates the nooks and crannies of the English language.

George Thomas Kurian, "Safire's Political Dictionary," The Reference Librarian's Bible, 2018

The test of vocabulary is important, but subordinate to that of “Sprachgefühl.”

Mary Anna Sawtelle, quoted in Report of the Third Annual Meeting of the New England Modern Language Association, May 12, 1906

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