• Word of the day
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    Saturday, September 01, 2018

    ultradian

    adjective [uhl-trey-dee-uhn]
    of or relating to a biorhythm having a period of less than 24 hours.
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    What is the origin of ultradian?

    The English adjectives ultradian and circadian are close contemporaries—1961 for ultradian, 1959 for circadian. Both adjectives refer to biological or physiological cycles, ultradian meaning “recurring with a period shorter than a day,” and circadian “recurring with a period of approximately 24 hours.” Both adjectives have similar formations: the Latin prefix ultra- meaning “beyond, on the far side of” and circa meaning “around, about.” The element -dian is formed from the Latin noun diēs “day” and the English adjective suffix -an, from Latin -ānus.

    How is ultradian used?

    Reindeer also ignore the absence of a light-dark cycle during the summer months. Instead, their sleep cycles are governed by ultradian rhythm, which means they sleep whenever they need to digest food. Kimberly Hickok, "How Does the Summer Solstice Affect Animals?" Live Science, June 21, 2018

    They collected records from databases, research articles, field guides and encyclopedias about the behavior of these species, and determined whether their behavior fit into one of five patterns: nocturnal (active at night); diurnal (active in the day); cathemeral (active during both day and night); crepuscular (active only at twilight, around sunrise and sunset); and ultradian (active in cycles of a few hours at a time). Amina Khan, "If you enjoy sleeping at night instead of the day, thank the dinosaurs for going extinct," Los Angeles Times, November 7, 2017

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  • Word of the day
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    Friday, August 31, 2018

    copse

    noun [kops]
    a thicket of small trees or bushes; a small wood.
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    What is the origin of copse?

    The noun copse, “thicket of small trees grown for periodic felling,” is a shortening of coppice (with the same meaning). Coppice comes from Old French colpeïz, copeïiz, coupeïz "woodland cleared of trees, a cutover," a derivative from an assumed Vulgar Latin verb colpāre "to cut, chop," ultimately from Latin colaphus "a punch (with the fist)," from Greek kólaphos "a slap, blow." Copse entered English in the 16th century.

    How is copse used?

    In the tops of the dark pines at the corner of the copse, could the glance sustain itself to see them, there are finches warming themselves in the sunbeams. Richard Jefferies, "Vignettes from Nature," The Hills and the Vale, 1909

    Between moonrise and sunset I was stumbling through the braken of the little copse that was like a tuft of hair on the brow of the great white quarry. Joseph Conrad and Ford Madox Ford, Romance, 1903

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  • Word of the day
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    Thursday, August 30, 2018

    sudoriferous

    adjective [soo-duh-rif-er-uhs]
    bearing or secreting sweat.
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    What is the origin of sudoriferous?

    The English adjective sudoriferous comes from Late Latin sūdōrifer, literally “sweat-bearing.” The Latin suffix -fer “carrying, bearing,” very familiar in English, comes from the verb ferre “to carry, bring, bear,” from the common Proto-Indo-European root bher- “to carry, bear,” source of Sanskrit bhárati, Greek phérein, Celtic (Old Irish) biru, Germanic (English) bear, and Slavic (Polish) bierać, all meaning “carry.” The Latin noun sūdor is a derivative of the verb sūdāre, from the Proto-Indo-European root sweid-, swoid- “to sweat” (swoid- becomes sūd- in Latin). The Germanic derivative of the Proto-Indo-European noun swoidos is swaitaz, which becomes swāt in Old English (English sweat). Sudoriferous entered English in the late 16th century.

    How is sudoriferous used?

    Jermaine's nerves got the better of him and resulted in a rather sudoriferous audition. Jodi Bradbury, "American Idol recap: Meet Jessica Phillips, Idol's newest star-crossed contestant," Christian Science Monitor, February 2, 2012

    Although it may sound somewhat ridiculous to be mentioning football these sudoriferous days, the news is that Glenn Davis and Felix (Doc) Blanchard should be around again some time next month--on the screen, that is. "By Way of Report," New York Times, August 24, 1947

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  • Word of the day
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    Wednesday, August 29, 2018

    pathos

    noun [pey-thos, -thohs, -thaws]
    the quality or power in an actual life experience or in literature, music, speech, or other forms of expression, of evoking a feeling of pity, or of sympathetic and kindly sorrow or compassion.
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    What is the origin of pathos?

    The English noun pathos comes directly from Greek páthos “suffering, sensation, experience,” related to the verb páschein “to suffer, be affected, feel.” Both the noun and the verb come from the Greek root penth-, ponth, path-. The root path- also forms the noun pátheia “suffering, feeling” and is the second element of apátheia, empátheia, and sympátheia, source of English apathy, empathy, and sympathy. From the root penth- Greek forms the word nēpenthḗs “banishing suffering,” (literally “unsuffering”), source of the English noun nepenthe, the name of a drug or plant that brings forgetfulness of pain and suffering. Pathos entered English in the 16th century.

    How is pathos used?

    Like all other music, it breathed passion and pathos, and emotions high or tender, in a tongue native to the human heart, wherever educated. Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, 1850

    Burnham says his overall aim was to use a middle school student to tell a story rooted in the same pathos that drives any good movie about a person's deepest battles. Sandra Gonzalez, "'Eighth Grade' makes the quiet horror of navigating early adolescence kind of beautiful," CNN, July 12, 2018

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  • Word of the day
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    Tuesday, August 28, 2018

    forbearance

    noun [fawr-bair-uhns]
    forbearing conduct or quality; patient endurance; self-control.
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    What is the origin of forbearance?

    Forbearance was originally a legal term “intentional delay in collection of a debt or enforcement of a contract, the expectation being that the other party will pay the debt or fulfill the contract.” The word very quickly acquired the meaning “patience, restraint.” Forbearance is a derivative of the verb forbear, which descends from the Old English verb forberan “to endure, bear, submit to; abstain from, miss, neglect.” The root verb beran “to bear, carry” comes from the same very common Proto-Indo-European root bher- “carry, bear” as Latin ferre, Greek phérein, Slavic (Polish) bierać, all meaning “to carry.” The prefix for- is a Germanic development of the very complicated Proto-Indo-European prefix per, whose basic meaning is “through, forward, in front of," as in Latin per “through” and Greek perí “around.” Forbearance entered English in the 16th century.

    How is forbearance used?

    I had no right to be so angry with you. There should be no limit to a mother's forbearance. Anthony Trollope, Sir Harry Hotspur of Humblethwaite, 1871

    We rarely think about forbearance in politics, and yet democracy cannot work without it. Consider what American presidents could legally do under the Constitution. They could pardon anyone they want, whenever they want, undercutting congressional and judicial oversight. Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, "How Wobbly Is Our Democracy?" New York Times, January 27, 2018

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  • Word of the day
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    Monday, August 27, 2018

    andragogy

    noun [an-druh-goh-jee, -goj-ee]
    the methods or techniques used to teach adults: Many educators believe that the principles of andragogy, as advanced by Malcolm Knowles, have great relevance to adult education; others are not so certain.
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    What is the origin of andragogy?

    English andragogy is modeled upon pedagogy, which ultimately comes from Greek paidagōgía “the function of a paidagōgós,” by extension “education.” A paidagōgós, literally “child guide,” was a slave who walked a child to and from school. Paidagōgós is a compound formed from paid-, inflectional stem of paîs ”child,” and agōgós “guide,” a derivative of the verb ágein “to lead, take away, carry.” The combining form andr- of andragogy is one of the stems of the Greek noun anḗr (aner-, andr-) “man” (as opposed to a woman or child). Greek anḗr comes from Proto-Indo-European ner-, ǝner-, source of Sanskrit nár “man, human,” and the Latin proper name Nerō. According to Roman grammarians, nero among the Sabines, a rural people that lived northeast of Rome, meant fortis ac strenuus “brave and energetic.” In Celtic (Welsh) Proto-Indo-European ner- becomes ner “hero.” Andragogy entered English in the 20th century.

    How is andragogy used?

    ... in the technology of andragogy there is decreasing emphasis on the transmittal techniques of traditional teaching and increasing emphasis on experimental techniques which tap the experience of the learners and involve them in analyzing their experience. Malcolm Knowles, The Adult Learner: A Neglected Species, 1973

    We focus on adults and so prefer to use the term “andragogy.” We've found that adults have their own specific challenges in the learning journey, and we've specifically set up to address them. Michael Horn, "What the Closure of Bootcamps Means for the Industry's Future," Forbes, August 3, 2017

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  • Word of the day
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    Sunday, August 26, 2018

    dreamboat

    noun [dreem-boht]
    Slang. a highly attractive or desirable person.
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    What is the origin of dreamboat?

    If you associate dreamboat, a.k.a. heartthrob, with the movies that Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney made in the late ‘30s and early ‘40s, you are correct on the date of origin and datedness of the word. Guy Lombardo, the Canadian-American bandleader (1902-1977), popularized dreamboat in his song When My Dream Boat Comes Home (1936).

    How is dreamboat used?

    Hunter was a studio player at Warner Brothers: a blond, blue-eyed dreamboat, whom the studio was selling—quite successfully—as the quintessential boy next door. Michael Schulman, "Tab Hunter's Secrets," The New Yorker, October 16, 2015

    A tall dreamboat of a pilot in a grey uniform was chatting with a group of four people. Raymond Chandler, The Long Good-bye, 1953

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