Word of the Day

Word of the day

Sunday, December 06, 2020

verbum sap

[ vur-buhm -sap ]

phrase

a word to the wise is sufficient; no more need be said.

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What is the origin of verbum sap?

Verbum sap is short for Latin Verbum sapientī sat(is) est “a word to the wise is sufficient.” Verbum comes from the Proto-Indo-European root wer– (with variants) “to speak,” the same source as English word, German Wort, Old Prussian wirds “word,” and Lithuanian vardas “name.” Sapientī is the dative singular of sapiēns “rational, sane, understanding,” the present participle of sapere “to taste, taste of, have good taste; to be intelligent, know, understand.” Sapere is the source of the Romance verbs savoir (French), saber (Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan), and Italian sapere, all meaning “to know.” The participle sapiēns is also the specific epithet for the genus Homo “human being.” Sat or satis “enough, sufficient” is by origin an indeclinable noun, i.e., the noun has no inflections. Satis comes from the Proto-Indo-European root -, – “to satisfy, fill,” and its derivative noun sātis “satiety, fullness” (also the source of Old Irish sāith “satiety”). The variant – is the source of Gothic saths “full,” German satt, Old English sæd “grave, heavy, full,” originally “sated, full” (English sad), and Greek hádēn “enough” (in Greek, original initial s before a vowel becomes h). Est is related to Old English and English is, German and Gothic ist, Greek estí, Sanskrit ásti, Old Irish is, Old Lithuanian esti, Old Church Slavonic jestĭ, and Hittite eszi, all meaning “is,” from Proto-Indo-European esti. Verbum sapienti entered English in the second half of the 16th century, verbum sap in the first half of the 19th century.

how is verbum sap used?

Never yet, my dear girl, did I long to administer a productive pecuniary Squeeze to any human creature as I long to administer it to Mr. Novel Vanstone. I say no more. Verbum sap.

Wilkie Collins, No Name, 1862

P.S. I have mentioned to your mother that I am thinking of buying you a small car. Verbum sap.

Mary Roberts Rinehart, Bab: A Sub-Deb, 1917

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Saturday, December 05, 2020

tirrivee

[ tur-uh-vee ]

noun

Scot.

a tantrum.

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What is the origin of tirrivee?

Tirrivee “a tantrum, a display of bad temper” is another perplexing Scots word with no secure etymology. It may be a variant or corruption of the verb tailyevey “to move from side to side, rock” another Scots word of no known etymology. Sir Walter Scott used tirrivee in his Waverley novels, enough to ensure the word’s survival. Tirrivee entered English in the early 19th century.

how is tirrivee used?

Say that you forgive me, that you love me not a whit the less for my yesterday’s tirrivee

Jane Baillie Welsh to Thomas Carlyle, 1824, in Carlyle Till Marriage, 1923

What a tirrivee Dominie was in!

John Innes, Till A' the Seas Gang Dry, 1924

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Friday, December 04, 2020

antediluvian

[ an-tee-di-loo-vee-uhn ]

adjective

very old, old-fashioned, or out of date; antiquated.

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What is the origin of antediluvian?

Antediluvian “occurring before the biblical Flood (in Genesis); very old, old-fashioned, or out of date,” comes from the Latin preposition and prefix ante, ante– “before” (naturalized in English) and the noun dīluvium “flood, deluge, inundation,” a derivative of the verb dīluere “to dissolve and wash away” (dīlūtus, the past participle of dīluere, is the source of English dilute). The original meaning of antediluvian was to biblical events or people before the Flood, such as the patriarchs between Adam and Noah; the exaggerated sense “very old, old-fashioned, out of date” developed in the first half of the 18th century. Antediluvian entered English in the first half of the 17th century.

how is antediluvian used?

How can it be that in a country that landed men on the moon, antediluvian locomotives are pushing and pulling dirty, smelly, 50-year-old cars perforated by rust, past crumbling stations, over track that looks like spilled overcooked spaghetti?

Serge Nedeltscheff, "A Conspiracy at the L.I.R.R.?" New York Times, December 8, 1996

So my on-the-job training in science writing started in the antediluvian age when magazines and newspapers held a near-monopolistic control over science writing.

Carl Zimmer, "A Note to Beginning Science Writers," National Geographic, June 24, 2013

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