Word of the Day

Word of the day

Sunday, September 05, 2021

vicinage

[ vis-uh-nij ]

noun

a particular neighborhood or district, or the people belonging to it.

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What is the origin of vicinage?

Vicinage “a particular neighborhood or district” is a fusion of the Latin adjective vīcīnus “nearby” and the English suffix -age, which forms nouns from other parts of speech. Vīcīnus derives from the noun vīcus “village, hamlet,” which is the source of the suffixes -wich and -wick in English placenames, such as Greenwich and Brunswick, and comes from the Indo-European root weik- “clan” or “settlement.” This same root is the source of villa, from the Latin word for “country house,” and the Ancient Greek noun oikos “home,” which gives English ecology, economy, parochial, and parish.

how is vicinage used?

I drove out to Tara Estates, among the latter-day manors that lined the circling drives and culs-de-sac and stood like arrogant bastions against the ripe green earth. There were no sidewalks here, no signs of age, no mystery, as if the whole vicinage had risen up en masse at an hour in time so designated and precise that history itself had been obliterated.

Willie Morris, Taps, 1977

The Island of Mackinac has a circumference of about nine miles, and its shores and vicinage are picturesque and romantic in the highest degree.

T. Addison Richards, Appletons' Illustrated Hand-book of American Travel, 1857

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Word of the day

Saturday, September 04, 2021

connubial

[ kuh-noo-bee-uhl, -nyoo- ]

adjective

of marriage or wedlock; matrimonial; conjugal.

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What is the origin of connubial?

Connubial “of marriage or wedlock” derives from Latin cōnūbiālis, from cōnūbium “wedding,” plus the adjective-forming suffix -ālis. Cōnūbium, in turn, is a compound of com- “together, with” and nūbere “to wed,” and nūbere (stem nupt-) is the source of marriage-related words such as nubile, nuptial, and prenup. Nūbere is of obscure origin, but one theory is that its original definition was “to cover oneself with a veil,” which would suggest a derivation from nūbēs “cloud.”

how is connubial used?

She and Maurice were husband and wife. They loved one another. They would have children. Then let everybody and everything else fade into insignificance outside this connubial felicity.

D. H. Lawrence, “The Blind Man,” England, My England and Other Stories, 1922

In fact, by the epilogue it’s dateline Hawaii, where he is on his honeymoon—soft breezes blowing into the connubial bedchamber, his bride frolicking on the beach below—and putting in a wholehearted endorsement for the grand old institution of marriage.

Caitlin Flanagan, "Sticking Together," The Atlantic, October 2003

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Word of the day

Friday, September 03, 2021

moratorium

[ mawr-uh-tawr-ee-uhm, -tohr-, mor- ]

noun

a suspension of activity.

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What is the origin of moratorium?

Moratorium “a suspension of activity” comes directly from Late Latin morātōrius “tending to delay,” a derivative of the verb morārī “to delay,” from the noun mora “delay, hindrance, pause.” The ending -ōrius “tending to” is also found as -orium or -ory in English terms for places in which a certain action occurs regularly, such as auditorium, a place where something is heard, and dormitory, a place for sleeping.

how is moratorium used?

Striped bass populations in the Cape Fear River have been dwindling for 50 years …. Preventing the popular sport fish from disappearing altogether has required meticulous human intervention. Passageways have been built into dams and locks to allow the migratory fish to pass through, and a moratorium on fishing the species has been in place since 2008.

Sarah Gibbens, “Toxic ‘forever chemicals’ flow freely through this river—and now its fish,” National Geographic, March 24, 2020

Rock stars get sick of signing things and answering fan mail …. And eternal rock stars like the Beatles: well, it’s hard to imagine. That’s why Ringo Starr has called a moratorium on all fan mail and signing ….Starr has instructed fans, “with peace and love,” to cease and desist with all missives and requests after Oct. 20th.

"Displease, Mr. Postman," The New Yorker, October 13, 2008

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