Word of the Day

Monday, May 06, 2019

wilder

[ wil-der ]

verb

to cause to lose one's way.

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What is the origin of wilder?

The rare, archaic verb wilder “to lead astray” is pronounced with a short –i– as in children, not a long –i– as in child. The etymology of wilder is difficult: it looks like a frequentative verb formed from the adjective wild, or an irregular derivative from wilderness that was influenced by wander. Wilder entered English in the early 17th century.

how is wilder used?

Many an older head than his has been wildered by that fatal uniformity, that endless wilderness of green, those seeming tracks, which only lead deeper and deeper into the heart of the deadly scrub.

Harriet M. Davidson, "The Hamiltons," Chapter VII, Chambers's Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art, No. 771, October 5, 1878

… in such a manner as to wilder the soul into vast and unthought-of horrors.

Thomas Goodwin (1600–1680), The Works of Thomas Goodwin, Vol. 3, 1861
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Sunday, May 05, 2019

avenaceous

[ av-uh-ney-shuhs ]

adjective

Botany.

of or like oats.

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What is the origin of avenaceous?

The very rare adjective avenaceous, meaning “of, like, or pertaining to oats,” is used only in botany. Avenaceous comes straight from the Latin adjective avēnāceus “made from oats,” a derivative of avēna “oats,” which comes from the same Proto-Indo-European source as Lithuanian avižà and Slavic (Polish) owies, both meaning “oats.” Avenaceous entered English in the 18th century.

how is avenaceous used?

See birds that know our avenaceous store / Stoop to our hand, and thence repleted soar …

H. C. Bunner, "Home, Sweet Home, with Variations: V.," Scribner's Monthly, Vol. 22, 1881

A spikelet, almost entire, of what seems to be a species of Poa, and the flowering glume of another grass, probably avenaceous, have also been found.

H. Hesketh Prichard, Through the Heart of Patagonia, 1902
Saturday, May 04, 2019

organon

[ awr-guh-non ]

noun

an instrument of thought or knowledge.

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What is the origin of organon?

The Greek noun órganon means “tool, instrument, sensory organ, body part, musical instrument (whence the English name of the musical instrument), surgical instrument, table of calculations, (a concrete) work, work product, and a set of principles for conducting scientific and philosophical work.” This last meaning first occurs in the works of the Peripatetic philosopher Alexander of Aphrodisias, who lived in the late 2nd and early 3rd centuries a.d. and was the most famous ancient Greek commentator on Aristotle. Órganon is a derivative of the Greek root erg-, org– (also dialectal werg-, worg-), from the Proto-Indo-European root werg-, worg-; the Germanic form of this root is werk-, whence English work. Organon in its sense “bodily organ” entered English in the late 16th century; the philosophical sense entered English in the early 17th century.

how is organon used?

… for genuine proof in concrete matter we require an organon more delicate, versatile, and elastic than verbal argumentation.

John Henry Newman, An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent, 1870

It [logic] thus sunk into the position of an Organon or instrument.

William Wallace, Prolegomena to the Study of Hegel's Philosophy and Especially of His Logic, 2nd ed., 1894

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