Word of the Day

Thursday, November 08, 2018

volute

[ vuh-loot ]

noun

a spiral or twisted formation or object.

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What is the origin of volute?

Volute is a technical word, a noun used in architecture, ornamental decoration, and marine biology. It comes from French volute or from Latin volūta “scroll.” Volūta is a noun use of volūtus, the past participle of volvere “to turn.” Volute entered English in the late 17th century.

how is volute used?

The interior of the tiny temple was dim, and wisps of incense smoke made graceful volutes in the air.

John Maddox Roberts, SPQR IX: The Princess and the Pirates, 2005

My, how light this Alonso de Avila was, forced to walk on mere earth only because of the richness and gravity of his damask and jaguar-skin suits, his gold chains, and his tawny mantle decorate with a reliquary–all of it lightened, let me assure you, by the feathers in his cap and the volutes of his mustache, the wings of his face.

Carlos Fuentes, The Orange Tree, translated by Alfred Mac Adam, 1994
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Wednesday, November 07, 2018

dissemble

[ dih-sem-buhl ]

verb

to conceal one's true motives, thoughts, etc., by some pretense; speak or act hypocritically.

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What is the origin of dissemble?

Dissemble comes from late Middle English dissemile, dissimill, an alteration of the verb dissimule (from Old French dissimuler “to keep one’s intentions hidden,” from Latin dissimulāre, “to disguise or conceal one’s thoughts”), and associated in form with the noun semblance and the obsolete verb semble (from Old French sembler, from Latin similāre and simulāre “to pretend”). Dissemble entered English in the sense “to pass over, ignore, neglect” in the 16th century.

how is dissemble used?

He counted heavily on his ability to dissemble, knowing that every decent lawyer had at least several drops of dissimulation in his blood.

Elizabeth George, Missing Joseph, 1993

I didn’t know how to dissemble, I quite openly acknowledged the mistakes I made, and didn’t try hard to hide them.

Johann Michael von Loën, The Honest Man at Court, 1748, translated by John R. Russell, 1997
Tuesday, November 06, 2018

dopester

[ dohp-ster ]

noun

a person who undertakes to predict the outcome of elections, sports events, or other contests that hold the public interest.

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What is the origin of dopester?

The dope at the heart of this Americanism refers to information, data, or news. This slang term dates to 1905–10.

how is dopester used?

The 1954 season for predicting the Congressional elections is now in full swing and the political dopesters will be hard at it from now until Nov. 2, when the voters will select more than one-third of the Senators and all of the Congressmen who will sit in the Eighty-fourth Congress.

Ruth Silva, "A Look Into a Crystal Election Ball," New York Times, October 10, 1954

We make no prediction, not being either a dopester or an expert.

Ernest C. Hastings, "Stock the Goods That Women Want," Dry Goods Economist, October 21, 1922

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