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[ yoo-kee-oh-ey ] [ yuˈki oʊˌeɪ ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


a genre style of painting and printmaking developed in Japan from the 17th to the 19th centuries and marked by the depiction of the leisure activities of ordinary people.

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More about ukiyo-e

Ukiyo-e “a style of painting that depicts leisure activities” is equivalent to ukiyo “transitory world, floating world” combined with e (also we) “picture.” Ukiyo itself is formed from uki “floating” and yo “world,” while e is also found in emoji, which literally means “picture character, pictograph.” E is a borrowing from Middle Chinese and therefore has cognates in modern Chinese, including Mandarin huì and Cantonese kui “to draw.” The hyphen in ukiyo-e is merely to prevent readers from mispronouncing the yo-e portion as a single syllable, “yoh,” instead of as the correct “yoh-ey”; other transliterations include ukiyoe, ukiyoé, and ukiyo-we. Ukiyo-e was first recorded in English in the late 1890s.

how is ukiyo-e used?

This week the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, home to the greatest collection of Japanese art outside Japan, opens a giant retrospective of the art of [Katsushika] Hokusai, showcasing his indispensable woodblock prints of the genre we call ukiyo-e, or ‘images of the floating world.’

Jason Farago, “Hokusai and the wave that swept the world,” BBC, April 9, 2015

Édouard Manet, Claude Monet and Edgar Degas all studied ukiyo-e but no one absorbed its aesthetic as much as Vincent van Gogh. “All my work,” he wrote in a letter to his brother Theo, “is based to some extent on Japanese art.”

Joe Lloyd, “Van Gogh’s love affair with Japan,” The Economist, April 11, 2018
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[ wiz-uhn; wee-zuhn ] [ ˈwɪz ən; ˈwi zən ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling

verb (used with or without object)

to wither; shrivel; dry up.

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More about wizen

Wizen “to wither” comes from Old English wisnian, of the same meaning. Despite the similar spelling, wizen is not related to wise or wizard—though many wizards are certainly both wise and wizened. Wise is also of Old English origin (spelled as wīs) and is closely related to wisdom and wit. All three of these words come from an ancient Proto-Indo-European root meaning “to see, know” that is also the source of Druid (from Celtic), history (from Ancient Greek), Veda (from Sanskrit), and vision (from Latin). Meanwhile, wizard is formed from wise and the noun-forming suffix -ard. Wizen was first recorded in English before the year 900.

how is wizen used?

Short and mole-rich and with hawk-like facial features that promised to wizen one day into one hell of a haggard mug, Kreshnik may have been more attractive in his bellhop uniform than he was out of it.

Evan James, Cheer Up, Mr. Widdicombe, 2019

This kist must have been a kind of constant in his shiftlessness when he left Perth, when he moved to Edinburgh. It was like he had to follow, to follow his bairns out there, into the world. As if he didn’t want to be left behind, to wizen, grow old and die.

Robert Alan Jamieson, Da Happie Laand, 2010
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[ lee-doh ] [ ˈli doʊ ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


a fashionable beach resort.

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More about lido

Lido “a fashionable beach resort” is the namesake of the Lido di Venezia, a chain of sandy islands in northeastern Italy that separate the Venetian Lagoon from the Adriatic Sea. Lido in Italian means “shore, beach, strand” and comes from Latin lītus “shore.” The stem of lītus is lītor-, which is the source of English littoral “of or relating to a shore” (not to be confused with literal “involving the strict meaning of a word”). Lītus becomes lītor- through a process called rhotacism, which is the change of the sound s or z to r. Though this may seem like an odd sound shift, it’s rather common in English; compare was and were, is and are (possibly), and most and more. Lido was first recorded in English in the late 1920s.

how is lido used?

On a recent summer morning, one lido on the beach at Focene, west of Rome, was bustling. Italians of all ages and sizes sizzled on sun-bleached chairs. Children splashed happily among the waves, and a group of senior citizens exercised (gently) to a mambo beat.

Elisabetta Povoledo, “For Italians With Disabilities, a Place in the Sun,” New York Times, September 3, 2017

As a rule, a lido is a private section of beach where loungers, sun umbrellas and cabins can be rented. It usually boasts a small restaurant, or at least a snack bar, and, of course, toilets and showers. Usually inexpensive, these amenities certainly make for more comfort than lying on a towel on the sand.

Mario Giordano, Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions, 2015
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