Word of the Day

Thursday, August 29, 2019

wiredraw

[ wahyuhr-draw ]

verb (used with object)

to strain unwarrantably, as in meaning.

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What is the origin of wiredraw?

The verb wiredraw, which entered English at the end of the 16th century, is a back formation from the agent noun wiredrawer, which dates from the 13th century and means—get this!—a worker whose job is to draw metal into wire (by forcibly pulling metal through holes of smaller and smaller diameter). Readers with scholarly interests will be familiar with the adjective wiredrawn “(of scholarly arguments) overrefined, overly subtle, contrived”—an occupational hazard.

how is wiredraw used?

He wiredraws every thing, and endeavours to misrepresent every circumstance of the story.

Thomas Morgan, The Moral Philosopher, Vol. 2, 1739

They wiredraw their arguments to such a length, that they absolutely weaken the very impression which a previous part of their speech may have produced.

James Grant, The Bench and the Bar, Vol. 2, 1837
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Wednesday, August 28, 2019

sanguine

[ sang-gwin ]

adjective

cheerfully optimistic, hopeful, or confident: a sanguine disposition; sanguine expectations.

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What is the origin of sanguine?

Sanguine comes from the Middle English adjective and noun sanguyn(e), sanguyn(e) “blood red, blood-red cloth, rosy hue, ruddy (of complexion), dominated by the humor blood, the humor blood.” The Middle English forms come from the Old French adjective sanguin(e), from the Latin adjective sanguineus “crimson, bloody, bloodstained. polluted with blood,” a derivative adjective of sanguis (stem sanguin-) “blood.” Neither sanguis nor sanguineus has any sense of the humor blood, which in medieval physiology is one of the four elemental fluids of the body (blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile) regarded as determining, by their relative proportions, a person’s physical and mental constitution (their complexion). The medieval physiological theory actually dates back at least as far as Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine,” (c460–375 b.c.); it was adopted by Galen (c129–216 a.d.), the Greek physician and medical writer and afterward by Muslim and medieval scholars. Sanguine entered English in the 14th century.

how is sanguine used?

Today, investors seem sanguine about risks.

Floyd Norris, "Going Long: Bond Buyers Are Sanguine," New York Times, May 9, 1993

As his temper therefore was naturally sanguine, he indulged it on this occasion, and his imagination worked up a thousand conceits, to favour and support his expectations of meeting his dear Sophia in the evening.

Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, 1749
Tuesday, August 27, 2019

peacherino

[ pee-chuh-ree-noh ]

noun

Informal: Older Use.

person or thing that is especially attractive, liked, or enjoyed.

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What is the origin of peacherino?

Slang terms are notoriously difficult to etymologize, and peacherino is a slang term. Peacherino, with the variant spellings or words peachamaroot, peacherine, peachermaroot, is American in origin, formed from peach in the sense “someone or something especially attractive, liked, or enjoyed,” and the suffix –erino, of uncertain origin, but possibly from the suffix –eroo (of uncertain origin itself) augmented by the Spanish or Italian diminutive suffix –ino. The suffix –erino has its own variants, such as –arina, –arino, –erama, –ereeno, –erine. Peacherino entered English in the late 19th century.

how is peacherino used?

“It’s a peacherino!” declared Tom enthusiastically. “Just wait till you see it and listen to the music coming in.”

A. Hyatt Verrill, The Radio Detectives, 1922

Here’s a peacherino: “The dieter who is limited to one slide of bread per meal should divide it into four quarters. This gives him the feeling that he has had access to four slices of bread.”

Earl Wilson, "All the Diet Secrets," Sarasota Herald-Tribune, May 15, 1957

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