Word of the Day

Sunday, July 22, 2018

vogie

[ voh-gee, vog-ee ]

adjective

Scot. conceited; proud.

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What is the origin of vogie?

The adjective vogie is Scottish through and through, and all the citations of the word come from Scottish authors. Vogie has no good etymology: it is tempting to etymologize the word as vogue plus the suffix -ie, but the meanings of vogue and vogie do not match. Vogie entered English in the 18th century.

how is vogie used?

… a most comical character, so vogie of his honours and dignities in the town council that he could not get the knight told often enough what a load aboon the burden he had in keeping a’ things douce and in right regulation amang the bailies.

John Galt, Ringan Gilhaize; or, The Covenanters, 1823

My only beast, I had nae mae, / And vow but I was vogie!

Robert Burns, "My Hoggie," 1788
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Saturday, July 21, 2018

carte blanche

[ kahrt blanch, blahnch ]

noun

unconditional authority; full discretionary power: She was given carte blanche to decorate her room as she wished, perhaps an unwise decision on the part of her parents.

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What is the origin of carte blanche?

In the early 18th century carte blanche, literally “blank paper,” was a paper officially signed and given to another party to write in his or her own conditions or terms. By 1766 carte blanche acquired the meaning “full discretionary power, unconditional authority,” its current meaning. By the 19th century carte blanche in some card games, e.g., piquet, also meant “a hand of cards having no face cards, especially in piquet.”

how is carte blanche used?

If you think this … grants you carte blanche to stroll willy-nilly through that building asking any question that pops into your head, regardless of its bearing on the matter you are investigating, you are sadly mistaken.

Stephen Coonts, America, 2001

… what it said should not be interpreted as giving other businesses carte blanche to do what Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, did.

German Lopez, "Why you shouldn't freak out about the Masterpiece Cakeshop ruling," Vox, June 4, 2018
Friday, July 20, 2018

tummler

[ toom-ler ]

noun

any lively, prankish, or mischievous man.

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What is the origin of tummler?

If one has firsthand knowledge of what a tummler is and does—or was and did—then one ain’t a kid no more. A tummler was a comedian and/or social director at a Jewish resort, especially in the Borscht Belt in the Catskills of New York State, between the 1920s and 1970s. Danny Kaye, Henny Youngman, Sid Caesar, and Joan Rivers are some notable tummlers. Tummler comes from the Yiddish tumler, an agent noun from the verb tumlen “to make a racket,” from German tummeln “to romp, stir.” Tummler entered English in the 20th century.

how is tummler used?

For there is another, decidedly un-Jamesian Philip Roth: an irreverent, taboo-flouting tummler whose boisterous hi-jinks have offended the sensibilities of some readers while incurring the outright wrath of others.

George J. Searles, "Introduction," Conversations with Philip Roth, 1992

He tried to amuse her with funny walks, crazy faces, and barnyard noises, and when she deigned to laugh his face reddened with happiness. He was her tummler, for crying out loud.

Scott Spencer, River Under the Road, 2017

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