Word of the Day

Sunday, April 29, 2018

vagility

[ vuh-jil-i-tee ]

noun

Biology. the ability of an organism to move about freely and migrate.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of vagility?

The rare English adjective vagile is restricted to biology and refers to an organism’s being able to scatter or be scattered in an environment. The English adjective comes from German vagil, of the same meaning. The German adjective derives from Latin vagus “wandering, roaming.” The German suffix -il and the English suffix -ile come directly from Latin -ilis, -ile; the English suffix -ity comes from Latin -itat- (the stem of -itās) via Old French -te (French -té). Vagility entered English in the 20th century.

how is vagility used?

Using the GPS collars that updated an animal’s location regularly and other data, the project found that vagility—the ability of an organism to move—declines in areas with human footprints by as much as half to two-thirds the distance than in places where there is little or no human activity.

Jim Robbins, "Animals Are Losing Their Vagility, or Ability to Roam Freely," New York Times, February 19, 2018

With this combination of low vagility and narrow habitat requirements, the mayfly faunas of islands around New Zealand provide a unique opportunity to investigate the effects of isolation, dispersal ability and the response of communities to reduced diversity.

D. R. Towns, "The mayflies (Ephemeroptera) of Great Barrier Island, New Zealand: macro- and micro-distributional comparisons," Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, Volume 17, 1987
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 28, 2018

feint

[ feynt ]

noun

a movement made in order to deceive an adversary; an attack aimed at one place or point merely as a distraction from the real place or point of attack: military feints; the feints of a skilled fencer.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of feint?

The English noun feint comes from Old French feinte, a noun use of the feminine past participle of the verb feindre “to feign, pretend, dissemble.” The Old French verb comes from Latin fingere “to shape, form, fashion,” the ultimate source of English faint, fiction, figment, and effigy. Feint entered English in the 17th century.

how is feint used?

Antagonism in my family comes wrapped in layers of code, sideways feints, full deniability.

Karen Joy Fowler, We Are All Completely Besides Ourselves, 2013

… it always had been understood that when the Germans did decide to take the desperate risk of trying to invade England they would make a feint in a couple of places, and, having drawn off the British fleet, would direct their serious attacks somewhere else.

, "Coast Attack Expected," New York Times, December 17, 1914
Friday, April 27, 2018

treen

[ tree-uhn ]

adjective

made entirely of wood.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of treen?

The adjective treen dates to Old English (about 1000). Its original adjective meanings “made of tree (i.e., wood), wooden; pertaining to trees or a tree” are obsolete or rare in standard English. Its current sense as a noun meaning “(small) articles or utensils made of wood, woodenware” dates from the 20th century.

how is treen used?

Much skill had they in runes, and were exceeding deft in scoring them on treen bowls, and on staves, and door-posts and roof-beams and standing-beds and such like things.

William Morris, The Roots of the Mountains, 1889

In old time we had treen chalices and golden priests; but now we have treen priests and golden chalices.

John Jewel (1522–1571), "Sermon on Haggai," The Works of John Jewel, 1847

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.