Word of the Day

Word of the day

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

versify

[ vur-suh-fahy ]

verb

to relate, describe, or treat (something) in the form of poetry.

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What is the origin of versify?

Versify comes via Old French versifier from Latin versificāre “to write or compose verse.” Versificāre is partly composed of the noun versus “a line of writing, a line of poetry, a sequence of notes.” The basic meaning of versus is “a circular movement (in a dance), twirl” and is a derivative of the verb vertere “to turn, revolve, pass through a cycle.” The combining form –ficāre means “doing, making, causing” and ultimately derives from the verb facere “to make, build, construct.” Versify entered English in the 14th century.

how is versify used?

… the energetic singer who cannot repress the impromptu urge to versify the mundane things going on around him.

Franklin D. Lewis, "Introduction," Rumi: Swallowing the Sun, 2008

He served in Africa, southern France and Italy during World War II, a period that he said led him to “versify in earnest.”

Harrison Smith, "Richard Wilbur, American poet who twice won the Pulitzer Prize, dies at 96," Washington Post, October 15, 2017
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Word of the day

Monday, April 01, 2019

fool

[ fool ]

noun

British Cookery.

a dish made of fruit, scalded or stewed, crushed and mixed with cream or the like: gooseberry fool.

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What is the origin of fool?

Fool, “a dessert made of scalded or stewed fruit, crushed and mixed with cream,” is just the sort of word to cause an etymological food fight. Fool is probably a specialized sense of fool “a silly or stupid person.” In the late 16th century, trifle, now meaning “something of little value, consequence, or importance,” was a synonym for fool (the dessert), though the dessert we call trifle is now something different. Another (discredited) etymology derives fool from Old French foulex, fole, “a pressing, treading,” from fouler, foler “to press, tread.” Fool (the dessert) entered English in the 16th century.

how is fool used?

The fool, one of the oldest English desserts, is basically nothing more than a mixture of puréed fruit, sugar, and thick cream, the simplest thing in the world.

James Beard, Beard on Food, 1974

One of the simplest ways to prepare strawberries when you want a departure from serving them plain is to chop them into a Fool.

Moira Hodgson, "Desserts Made from the Fresh Berries of Summer," New York Times, July 14, 1985
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Word of the day

Sunday, March 31, 2019

velutinous

[ vuh-loot-n-uhs ]

adjective

having a soft, velvety surface, as certain plants.

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What is the origin of velutinous?

Velutinous, “having a soft, velvety surface or hairs,” is a very rare adjective, a technical term used in botany and entomology. Velutinous comes directly from the New Latin adjective velūtīnus “velvety,” from Medieval Latin velūtum “velvet.” Velūtum possibly comes from assumed Vulgar Latin villūtus, from Latin villus “shaggy nap.” Velutinous entered English in the 19th century.

how is velutinous used?

He picked up his bread, pulled open the crust so the soft velutinous white inside was exposed, pushed it into a piece of omelet, then lifted the dripping morsel to his lips and bit upon it.

M. J. Carter, The Devil's Feast, 2016

The deep shag of a plush carpet was beneath our feet and velutinous purple flocked wallpaper covered the walls.

Cavan Scott, Sherlock Holmes: Cry of the Innocents, 2017
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