Word of the Day

Wednesday, February 03, 2021

uitwaaien

[ out-vahyn ]

noun

the Dutch practice of jogging or walking into the wind, especially in the winter, for the purpose of feeling invigorated while relieving stress and boosting one’s general health.

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What is the origin of uitwaaien?

The Dutch compound word uitwaaien means “to jog or walk into the wind, especially in the winter, in order to feel invigorated, relieve stress, and boost one’s health” (others prefer sitting in cozy coffeehouses or quiet neighborhood bars). Uitwaaien is composed of the preposition and prefix uit “out” (its pronunciation is not much different from English out) and the verb waaien “to blow.” Waaien comes from the same Proto-Indo-European root as Sanskrit vā́ti “(it is) blowing,” Latin ventum “wind,” Germanic (English) “weather, wind,” and Slavic (Polish) wieje “(it is) blowing.” Uitwaaien entered English in the first decade of the 21st century.

how is uitwaaien used?

Uitwaaien is something you do to clear your mind and feel refreshed—out with the bad air, in with the good,” she tells me.

Caitlin Meyer, quoted in "The Simple Dutch Cure for Stress," by Alice Fleerackers, Nautilus, November 8, 2019

 Uitwaaien is a long-standing cultural tradition of integrating nature with daily life for the intentional purpose of mental clarity and the promotion of feelings of wellbeing.

Mary Breunig, "Slow nature-focused leisure in the days of COVID-19: repressive myths, social (in)justice, and hope," Annals of Leisure Research, published online December 28, 2020

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Tuesday, February 02, 2021

harbinger

[ hahr-bin-jer ]

noun

anything that foreshadows a future event; omen; sign.

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What is the origin of harbinger?

The modern spelling harbinger “an omen, sign, or herald,” has an internal –n– from the Middle English variant spellings herbengar, herbenger, which arose in the second half of the 15th century. This –n– also appears, for example, in messenger (from message) and passenger (from passage). The many Middle English spellings include herbeg(e)our, herberger, herbergio(u)er. The noun originally referred to an officer of a king or nobleman who assigned lodgings to guests or rode ahead to arrange lodgings, or to a military officer who laid out encampments, or to a soldier who was part of the vanguard. Harbinger later came to mean simply “host, hospitable person.” The Middle English forms come from Old French herbergeor, herberg(i)ere “one who offers lodging, host, innkeeper,” from Frankish heriberga “lodging, inn” (in Old Saxon and Old High German “shelter for an army”). The Old English equivalent, herebeorg “quarters, shelter, lodgings,” survives in English as harbor. Harbinger entered English in the second half of the 12th century.

how is harbinger used?

Last Groundhog Day, Phil did not see his shadow, a supposed harbinger of an early spring. Yet, bitter cold and snow affected the eastern U.S. deep into March.

Jason Samenow, "Groundhog Day 2014: Punxsutawney Phil sees shadow, 6 more weeks of winter," Washington Post, February 2, 2014

The collapse of MDC Energy’s business turned out to be a harbinger of things to come. The coronavirus pandemic has brought a wave of bankruptcies to the oil and gas industry—even as industry executives first reward themselves with multimillion-dollar bonuses.

Hiroko Tabuchi, "What oil and gas bankruptcies leave behind," New York Times, July 15, 2020

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Monday, February 01, 2021

diegetic

[ dahy-uh-jet-ik ]

adjective

happening within or being the created world of a story.

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What is the origin of diegetic?

Diegetic, “happening within or being the created world of a story,” is a technical term used in literary criticism, both in ancient Greek and in modern English. Its Greek original is diēgētikόs, a variant of diēgēmatikόs “pertaining to a narrative;” Aristotle uses both variants in the Poetics with the noun poíēsis “poetry” (i.e., “narrative poetry”). Both adjectives are derivatives of the noun diḗgēsis “narration, narrative” and derive from the verb diēgeîsthai “to set out in detail, describe.” Diegetic entered English in the second half of the 20th century.

how is diegetic used?

The choir ceases being underscore and becomes diegetic—that is, part of the movie’s fictional space, hearable by its characters. The emperor’s malignant music has seeped out of the soundtrack and into the world of the film.

Frank Lehman, "How John Williams’s Star Wars Score pulls us to the dark side," Washington Post, December 13, 2019

Scholars speak of two types of film music: diegetic, in which characters in a movie either perform music or listen to it (“Play it, Sam”), and non-diegetic, which is music that accompanies the film’s action—in other words, music which we hear but which the characters don’t.

Russell Plat, "Benjamin Britten's 'Moonrise Kingdom'," The New Yorker, August 6, 2012

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