Word of the Day

Word of the day

Thursday, December 30, 2021

wynd

[ wahynd ]

noun

a narrow street or alley.

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What is the origin of wynd?

Wynd “a narrow street or alley” is a Scots dialectal term derived from Old English gewind “winding path.” This Old English noun is related to the verbs wandrian, wendan, and windan (the sources of wander, wend, and wind in the sense “to proceed circuitously”). While the further etymology of these verbs is uncertain, hypotheses include a connection to the Proto-Indo-European root wei- “to turn, twist,” as explored further in the etymology for the recent Word of the Day iridescent. Wynd was first recorded in English around the turn of the 15th century.

how is wynd used?

With a chuckle, quickly suppressed, lest it should bring in Kitty Wilkie, who ought to have been watching her instead of wandering down the wynd to see who was to have salt-fish for supper, the child clutched the letter triumphantly, and, toddling to the door, slipped out of the house.

J. M. Barrie, When a Man's Single, 1888

Strolling amongst the cobbled streets and steep wynds of Edinburgh, unless you’re looking out from atop Arthur’s Seat, it’s easy to forget that the Scottish capital is also home to breathtaking stretches of silvery sands and dramatic coastal views which can give travelers a completely new perspective on the city.

Rachel Davies, "The best beaches near Edinburgh for hiking, birding and wild camping," Lonely Planet. September 15, 2021
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Word of the day

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

diasporic

[ dahy-uh-spawr-ik, ‐spor-ik ]

adjective

of, being, or relating to any group that has been dispersed outside its traditional homeland, either involuntarily or by migration.

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What is the origin of diasporic?

Diasporic “of or relating to any group that has been dispersed outside its traditional homeland” is formed from the Ancient Greek noun diasporá “scattering, dispersion,” from the preposition diá “through, across” and the noun sporá “sowing, seed,” the latter from the verb speírein “to sow.” This verb comes from the Proto-Indo-European root sper- “to strew,” which is also the source of English spread, spritz, and sprout as well as Ancient Greek spérma “seed” (compare sperm) and sporás “strewn, scattered” (compare sporadic). Another possible cognate of diasporic is Latin spargere “to scatter,” the source of words such as aspersion, disperse, and sparse. Diasporic was first recorded in English in the early 1800s.

how is diasporic used?

During the early days of Cahokia, around 1050, emissaries from the city traveled north to sites in what is now Wisconsin, spurring the local creation of platform mounds and sculpted landscapes similar to those in the Cahokian heartland .… In each place where Cahokians remade themselves, they contended with local communities, as well as their individual memories of their homeland. Cahokian migrants made houses that mimicked those at home; they built according to celestial alignments from home; and in diasporic settings, they made iconographic designs honoring mythic heroes from their homeland.

Jayur Mehta, “Cahokian culture spread across eastern North America 1,000 years ago in an early example of diaspora,” Conversation, October 30, 2020

Stepping in its modern form draws from African, African-American and Caribbean traditional moves and group dances. Often attributed to a way of unspoken communication in diasporic communities, it most notably evolved into a celebratory practice choreographed by Pan-Hellenic greek organizations. From college campuses nationwide, stepping was used as a way for fraternities and sororities to show solidarity, and quite frankly, show off their synchronized dance skills.

Danielle Kwateng-Clark, "These Images of Black Sororities and Fraternities Stepping Show The True Beauty of the Artform," Essence, October 26, 2020
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Word of the day

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

kith

[ kith ]

noun

acquaintances, friends, neighbors, or the like; persons living in the same general locality and forming a more or less cohesive group.

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What is the origin of kith?

Kith “persons living in the same general locality and forming a cohesive group” derives from Old English cȳththu “kinship, knowledge” and is related to couth, an archaic adjective meaning “known, acquainted with,” and uncouth “awkward, clumsy.” Old English cȳththu derives from the Proto-Indo-European root gnō- “to know,” which is the source of numerous knowledge- and ability-related terms, such as English can, cunning, and ken; Latin nōscere and cognōscere “to learn, get to know” (compare cognition, notice, and recognize) and ignōrāre (compare ignorant); and Ancient Greek gignṓskein “to know” (compare agnostic and diagnosis). Kith was first recorded in English before the 10th century.

how is kith used?

I learned something interesting today from Nanny. I asked what it meant when people talked about kith and kin. I know kin means family and Nanny said that kin means people who are blood relations to you or who are accepted as family even though they might not be blood relations, but kith is people that you are meant to be couth to. Nanny told me that the word comes from couth and uncouth, and that it is probably Anglo-Saxon.

Jane A. Adams, Kith and Kin, 2018

As far as the role of actors and performers went, quarantine viewing was characterized, too, by a kind of category confusion. Celebrities boldly crossed dividing lines between genres, mediums, and formats …. And what of actual reality-TV stars? They were being held to the same standards as the rest of the world, forced to confront political realities that were previously beyond their kith.

Naomi Fry, "The Year in Quarantine Viewing," The New Yorker, December 30, 2020
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