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Word of the day


[ vol-pleyn ] [ ˈvɒlˌpleɪn ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling

verb (used without object)

to glide toward the earth in an airplane, with no motor power or with the power shut off.

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What is the origin of volplane?

Volplane “to glide toward the earth in an airplane with no power” is an adaptation of the French noun vol plané “glided flight.” French vol can mean either “flight” or “theft” depending on the context, which gives the name of the nearly invincible villain Voldemort from the Harry Potter series the double meaning of “flight from death” or “theft of death.” Vol comes from the Latin verb volāre “to fly,” which is the source of volatile as well as the recent Word of the Day volant. French plané is the past participle of planer “to glide,” which ultimately comes from the Latin adjective plānus “flat,” likely in reference to how gliding is a horizontal motion. Of course, airplane is related to volplane, but airplane comes instead by way of the French adjective plan “flat.” Volplane was first recorded in English between 1905 and 1910.

how is volplane used?

So cleverly did he [Frank H. Burnside, an experienced pilot] bring the disabled aircraft around in a graceful spiral, coming head-on into the wind to volplane safely into the mouth of a broad inlet, that the explorer [Rear-Admiral Robert E. Peary] knew nothing of the accident until he was told the flying-boat would have to be towed ashore.

“1915: Flight in American Aerial Boat,” The New York Herald, European Edition, October 29, 1915

The next time [Harriet] Quimby made headlines in 1912, it was in the screaming, sensational font of disaster too. While flying her new 70-horsepower Bleriot monoplane during a Boston airshow, the 37-year-old Quimby hit turbulence. “Heading back into the eight mile gusty wind, Miss Quimby started to volplane,” recounted The Rock Island Argus.

Jeva Lange, “Give Harriet Quimby her due,” Week, April 16, 2020
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[ in-am-uh-rah-tuh, in-am- ] [ ɪnˌæm əˈrɑ tə, ˌɪn æm- ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


a woman who loves or is loved; female sweetheart or lover.

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What is the origin of inamorata?

Inamorata “a female sweetheart or lover” comes from Italian innamorata, the feminine past participle of the verb innamorare “to inflame with love,” which is the Italian equivalent of the French-origin verb enamor (from Old French enamourer). Both verbs ultimately come from the Latin noun amor “love,” combined with the prefix in- and a verbal suffix. It is important to note here that the prefix in- here does not make inamorata mean “unloved”; Latin has two in- prefixes, one of which is negative and translates as “not” or “un-,” and the other of which is an intensive, indicating increased emphasis or force. The similarity between the two in- prefixes also explains why flammable and inflammable have the same general meaning—and why non-flammable is often used to clearly mean “not flammable.” Inamorata was first recorded in English circa 1650.

how is inamorata used?

Other poets treated the subject of “love,” allowing the flushed cheeks or alabaster limbs of this or that inamorata to enter the frame of their poems, but it’s [Latin poet] Catullus who built his nugae, or trifles, around a single, near-obsessional passion for a woman whose entire presence, body and mind, fills the lines of his poetry.

Jeffrey Eugenides, “Introduction,” My Mistress's Sparrow Is Dead, 2008

French and Italian drivers may love speed, but they zoom about in relatively small cars. Practicality plays a part, and psychology. If you live in an ancient, congested city, a tiny car is all you need. You can also park it near your inamorata‘s flat, which is cool.

“Setting the target”, Economist, February 8, 2007
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[ zoh-oid ] [ ˈzoʊ ɔɪd ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


any organic body or cell capable of spontaneous movement and of an existence more or less apart from or independent of the parent organism.

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What is the origin of zooid?

Zooid “any organic body capable of independent existence” is a compound of two combining forms: zo- and -oid. While -oid comes from the Ancient Greek element -oeidēs, meaning “having the form of,” the stem zo- (also zoo-) comes from Ancient Greek zôion “animal.” Other common words containing this stem are zodiac (literally meaning “animal sign”), Protozoa (“first animals”), and zoology (“animal study”)—and, of course, zoo. A related word in Ancient Greek is zōḗ “life,” which is the source of the name Zoe. Zooid was first recorded in English in the early 1850s.

how is zooid used?

While they are called “sea pickles” based on their looks, the animals are actually a pyrosome. It is a “colony” of multi-celled organisms called zooids, meaning individual zooids will be tightly packed together to form a bigger version of themselves .… A single zooid is about the size of a grain of rice, but conjoined together, these colonies can make the creature about 60 feet long and wide enough for a human to fit in, according to Oceana, a non-profit ocean conservation organization.

Jordan Mendoza, “A ‘sea pickle’? An animal that can grow to 60 feet long is washing up on the Oregon coast,” USA Today, February 1, 2022

The zooid building-blocks of a siphonophore colony are not all the same despite sharing the same DNA. Each zooid has a specific role in the colony; there are those that just swim, others that eat, some that sting, to name an important few …. While the pattern of zooids is the same between members of the same siphonophore species, the order differs between species. Piece by piece, these zooids make up what may be the longest animal on our planet.

Liz Allen, “This May Be The Longest Animal On Earth-And You’ve Probably Never Heard Of It,” Forbes, April 18, 2020
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