• Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Sunday, December 16, 2018

    vivify

    verb [viv-uh-fahy]
    to enliven; brighten; sharpen.
    See Full Definition

    Get to know dictionary.com

    Sign up for our Newsletter!
    Start your day with new words, fun quizzes, and language stories.
    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

    What is the origin of vivify?

    The English verb vivify comes from Old French vivifier, from Late Latin vīvificāre “to make alive, restore to life, quicken.” Vīvificāre breaks down easily to vīvus “alive,” from vīv(ere) “to live,” from a very widespread Proto-Indo-European root with many variants: gwei-, gwī-, gwi-, gwiyō- “live” (gw- usually becomes v- in Latin). The Proto-Indo-European forms gwīwos and gwiwos “alive, life” become vīvus in Latin, bivus in Oscan (an Italic language spoken in southern Italy), bíos in Greek (from bíwos, from gwiwos). The Proto-Indo-European adjective gwigwos become kwikwaz in Germanic and ultimately English quick (in the archaic sense "alive," as in the phrase “the quick and the dead”). The suffix -fy comes from Middle English -fi(en), from Old French -fier, from Latin -ficāre, a combining form for verbs of doing or making, from the adjective suffix -ficus, from the verb facere “to do, make,” from the very complicated Proto-Indo-European root dhē-, dho- (and many other variants) “put, place,” the same source for English do. Vivify entered English in the 16th century.

    How is vivify used?

    ... he enlarged his sphere of action from the cold practice of law, into those vast social improvements which law, rightly regarded, should lead, and vivify, and create. Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Lucretia, 1846

    Faber vivifies the atmosphere and environment of the fictional planet, from its marked humidity to its insect life, with fascinating specificity. Nicole Lamy, "Books for Left-Brained Readers," New York Times, October 2, 2018

    Get to know dictionary.com

    Sign up for our Newsletter!
    Start your day with new words, fun quizzes, and language stories.
    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Saturday, December 15, 2018

    supplicate

    verb [suhp-li-keyt]
    to pray humbly to; entreat or petition humbly.
    See Full Definition

    What is the origin of supplicate?

    Supplicate comes directly from Latin supplicātus, past participle of the verb supplicāre “to sue for forgiveness or mercy, make a humble petition.” The Latin verb is a derivative of the adjective supplex (stem supplic-) “bringing peace, making humble petition.” Supplex and supplicāre come from the root plāk-, plak-, the source of Latin placēre “to please, be acceptable to” (source of English placebo “I shall please” and pleasant, via Old French), and plācāre “to conciliate, calm,” whose past participle plācātus is the source of English placate. Supplicate entered English in the 15th century.

    How is supplicate used?

    Alas! on my knees I supplicate you to forbear--Will you leave me a prey to Frederic? Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto, 1746

    I ask you but to extend to one whose fault was committed under strong temptation that mercy which even you yourself, Lord King, must one day supplicate at a higher tribunal, and for faults, perhaps, less venial. Sir Walter Scott, The Talisman, 1825

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Friday, December 14, 2018

    luculent

    adjective [loo-kyoo-luhnt]
    convincing; cogent.
    See Full Definition

    What is the origin of luculent?

    English luculent comes straight from the Latin adjective lūculentus, a derivative of lux (stem lūc-) “light,” from a very widespread Proto-Indo-European root leuk-, louk-, luk- “light, bright.” (The suffixed form leuktom becomes leuhtan in Germanic, lēoht in Old English, and light in English.) Latin lūculentus and English luculent are not much used in their literal senses but have a metaphorical sense like splendid and the colloquial British brilliant. Luculent entered English in the 15th century.

    How is luculent used?

    The thundering acclamations, which greeted the close of that luculent and powerful exposition, the zeal with which the concourse hailed him unanimously Savior of Rome and Father of his country ... Henry William Herbert, The Roman Traitor, 1846

    ... now he would favour us with a grace ... expatiating on this text with so luculent a commentary, that Scott, who had been fumbling with his spoon long before he reached his Amen, could not help exclaiming as he sat down, 'Well done, Mr. George!" John Gibson Lockhart, The Life of Sir Walter Scott, 1837–1838

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Thursday, December 13, 2018

    nummary

    adjective [nuhm-uh-ree]
    of or relating to coins or money.
    See Full Definition

    What is the origin of nummary?

    The adjective nummary comes straight from Latin nummārius “pertaining to coins or money,” a derivative of nummus (also nūmus), the name of several silver or gold coins. The Latin nouns come from noûmmos “current coin” in a western Doric Greek dialect spoken in southern Italy and Sicily and equivalent to Greek nómos “law, custom, something in customary or habitual use.” Nummary entered English in the early 17th century.

    How is nummary used?

    ... Re-coinages, which had the same Effect in depreciating nummary Denominations in France, that frequent and large Emissions of Paper-Money have in our Colonies ... William Douglass, "A Discourse Concerning the Currencies of the British Plantations in America," 1740

    His capital does not have a numerical or nummary value, but it nonetheless has a value, if only in the sustenance he gets out of putting it to productive use. Manu Saadia, Trekonomics, 2016

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Wednesday, December 12, 2018

    lardy-dardy

    adjective [lahr-dee-dahr-dee]
    Chiefly British Slang. characterized by excessive elegance.
    See Full Definition

    What is the origin of lardy-dardy?

    Pity that one doesn’t see as many lardy-dardy types as formerly—affected swells, languid fops, chichi dandies lounging about music halls and theaters. Lardy-dardy entered English in the 1850s, at the height of the Victorian era. It is often said to be the British aristos’ non-rhotic (“r-less”) Received Pronunciation of la-di-da—a nice story except that lardy-dardy predates la-di-da by nearly 20 years.

    How is lardy-dardy used?

    "Good afternoon!" -- in rather lardy-dardy, middle-class English. "I wonder if I may see your things in your studio." D. H. Lawrence, The Captain's Doll, 1923

    It was exaggerated flattery he always felt provoked and disgusted with. Such absurd palaver, and lardy-dardy talk as that of his grand mover and seconder. F. A. J., "Greaswick for Coalheavers': or, The Alderman's Election" The Amateur's Magazine, 1859

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Tuesday, December 11, 2018

    ahistorical

    adjective [ey-hi-stawr-i-kuhl, -stor-i-kuhl]
    without concern for history or historical development; indifferent to tradition.
    See Full Definition

    What is the origin of ahistorical?

    The formation of the adjective ahistorical is clear: the first syllable, a-, is a variety of the Greek prefix an-, a- “not” (an-, a- is from the same Proto-Indo-European source as English un-). Historical is a derivative of Greek historía “learning or knowing by inquiry, history,” a derivative of hístōr “one who knows or sees,” akin to English wit and Latin vidēre “to see,” and the Latin suffix -al, with the general sense “of the kind of, pertaining to, having the form or character of” that named by the stem. Ahistorical entered English in the 20th century.

    How is ahistorical used?

    The notion that all human history – and all human societies – can be shoehorned into a simple binary scheme is not new ... But it is always simplistic, ahistorical, and therefore wrong. Alan Knight, "Tight/loose cultures theory is simplistic and ahistorical," The Guardian, September 18, 2018

    The boxlike room, stripped of all embellishment or parlor fussiness, a room that wished to be timeless or ahistorical, and there, in the middle of it, my deeply historical, timeworn grandmother. Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex, 2002

    Previous Day Load More
  • Word of the day
    Previous Week Next Week
    Monday, December 10, 2018

    logogriph

    noun [law-guh-grif, log-uh-]
    an anagram, or a puzzle involving anagrams.
    See Full Definition

    What is the origin of logogriph?

    A logogriph is a special kind of word puzzle in which a word, and other words formed from any or all of its letters, must be guessed from hints given in verses. Lógos is well known in English: the first, most obvious of its many, many meanings is “word,” as in the prologue to St. John’s Gospel: “In the beginning was the Word (Lógos).” The combining form logo- is very common in Greek (e.g., logopoieîn “to compose, write speeches,” logoprageîn “to write copiously”) and in English (e.g., logocentrism and logorrhea). The tricky word is grîphos (its variant grîpos shows it is not a native Greek word). Grîphos means “(woven) fishing basket, creel,” and metaphorically “something intricate, dark saying, riddle; forfeit paid for failing to guess a riddle.” Grîphos by itself would have been sufficient; adding the combining form logo- specifies its meaning. Logogriph entered English in the late 16th century.

    How is logogriph used?

    He was most anxious to secure for himself the priority of discovery, and yet he was unwilling to make a premature and possibly incorrect announcement. So he resorted to the ingenious device of a "logogriph," or puzzle. It appears ... as follows: aaaaaaa ccccc d eeeee g h iiiiiii llll mm nnnnnnnnn oooo pp q rr s ttttt uuuuu Harold Jacoby, Astronomy: A Popular Handbook, 1913

    That one man should have possessions beyond the capacity of extravagance to squander, and another, able and willing to work, should perish for want of embers, rags and a crust, renders society unintelligible. It makes the charter of human rights a logogriph. John J. Ingalls, “John J. Ingalls on the Social Malady,” Sunday Herald, June 11, 1893

    Previous Day Load More
Sign up for our Newsletter!
Start your day with new words, fun quizzes, and language stories.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.