Word of the Day

Friday, September 25, 2020

whillikers

[ hwil-i-kerz, wil- ]

interjection

Informal.

(used as an intensive after gee or golly gee to express astonishment, delight, etc.)

learn about the english language

What is the origin of whillikers?

Whillikers and its variant whillikens are used only in the exclamatory phrase (golly) gee whillikers (whillikens). There is no satisfactory etymology for whillikers or whillikens. Gee whillikens first appeared in print in 1851.

how is whillikers used?

“Why,” she gasped, “It’s money!” “Gee whillikers—ten bucks!” Jason echoed.

Peggy Dern, Peddler of Dreams, 1940

We’re all going to look at the things that are thrilling and exciting for him and say, ‘But that music sucks!’ Gee whillikers, guess who else said that? Every generation ever.

Ada Calhoun, "The Many Lives of St. Marks Place," The New Yorker, October 30, 2015

Listen to the word of the day

whillikers

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00
quiz icon
WHAT'S YOUR WORD IQ?
Think you're a word wizard? Try our word quiz, and prove it!
TAKE THE QUIZ
arrows pointing up and down
SYNONYM OF THE DAY
Double your word knowledge with the Synonym of the Day!
SEE TODAY'S SYNONYM

Get A Vocabulary Boost In Your Inbox

Get the Word of the Day every day!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Thursday, September 24, 2020

cachinnate

[ kak-uh-neyt ]

verb (used without object)

to laugh loudly or immoderately.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of cachinnate?

Cachinnate, “to laugh loudly or immoderately,” comes straight from Latin cachinnātus, the past participle of the verb cachinnāre “to laugh boisterously, guffaw.” Cachinnāre is a verb of imitative origin that even has its own Proto-Indo-European root: khakha– (who knew that primitive Indo-Europeans laughed?). The root khakha– yields Greek kakházein, kakkházein, and kankházein, Old Church Slavonic xoxotati, Old High German kachazzwen, and Sanskrit kákhati “he laughs.” Cachinnate entered English in the first half of the 19th century.

how is cachinnate used?

She does not laugh so much as cachinnate, finding at least one thing hysterical in every episode.

Philippa Snow, "Like Proper Sexual: On Too Hot to Handle," Los Angeles Review of Books, August 7, 2020

Just don’t expect to guffaw or cachinnate, and forget all about busting a gut. It’s not that kind of comedy.

Mick LaSalle, "Review: 'Little' Is the Opposite of 'Big,' but Not in a Funny Way," San Francisco Chronicle, April 10, 2019

Listen to the word of the day

cachinnate

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00
Wednesday, September 23, 2020

butyraceous

[ byoo-tuh-rey-shuhs ]

adjective

of the nature of, resembling, or containing butter.

learn about the english language

What is the origin of butyraceous?

The adjective butyraceous is an expensive word for buttery. Butyraceous comes from Latin butyrum (both the first u and the y may be long or short), from Greek boútȳron “butter,” literally “cow cheese,” according to the traditional (and ancient) etymology, from Greek boûs (inflectional stem boo-, bou-) “cow” and tȳrós “cheese.” Both boûs and tȳrós are very ancient: both occur on Late Bronze Age Linear B clay tablets from Pylos (in the southwest Peloponnesus), and both words are of Proto-Indo-European origin. The closest non-Greek relative to tȳrós is in the ancient Iranian languages: in Avestan (the language of the Zoroastrian scriptures), tūiri– means “whey, cheeselike milk” and tūiriia– means “curdled (milk).” Herodotus states that butter was used by the Scythians, ancient Iranian nomads of the Russian steppes. Latin butyrum (with its variant būtūrum) becomes burre in Old French (beurre in French) and burro in Italian. Latin butyrum was borrowed by the West Germanic languages (as usual, the details and date of the borrowing are disputed): Old English has butere (English butter); German has Butter, Dutch boter. Butyraceous entered English in the 17th century.

how is butyraceous used?

All good butter seems to have disappeared as if by magic, and there remains only a butyraceous compound of hair, butter, chips and rock salt, which is as striped as a zebra and smells as rancid as a goat or a bundle of foul linens.

"Local News: Butter, " Dubuque Herald, October 24, 1860

fine food, lots of the best wine, had given his jowls a butyraceous sheen.

Ken Bruen, Purgatory, 2013

Listen to the word of the day

butyraceous

Play Podcast Stop Podcast
00:00/00:00

Get A Vocabulary Boost In Your Inbox

Get the Word of the Day every day!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.