Word of the Day

Word of the day

Saturday, September 11, 2021

yclept

[ i-klept ]

verb

called; named.

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What is the origin of yclept?

The archaic English verb yclept is the past participle of the equally archaic verb clepe “to call, name.” This initial y- derives from Old English ġe-, a prefix used to mark past participles; while ge- eventually fell out of use in English, many other Germanic languages, such as Dutch and German, still use ge- and similar prefixes to mark past participles. Even though ge- and y- are no longer used in English verbs, the prefixes have lived on in secret as the a- in words such as afford, aswoon, aware, and even dialectal ascared. Yclept was first recorded in the first millennium AD.

how is yclept used?

About the sixth hour, when beasts most graze, birds best peck, and men sit down to that nourishment which is called supper. So much for the time when. Now for the ground which—which, I mean, I walked upon. It is yclept thy park.

William Shakespeare, Love's Labour's Lost, c1590

A tenured Pat, my name’s Tom Brady; Foes have oft yclept me shady. Should my post I abdicate, New England hearts will fast deflate.

Matt Monitto, "Style Invitational Week 1376: Get thee to a funnery," Washington Post, March 19, 2020

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Word of the day

Friday, September 10, 2021

exclave

[ eks-kleyv ]

noun

a portion of a country geographically separated from the main part by surrounding foreign territory.

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What is the origin of exclave?

Exclave “an outlying portion of a country entirely or mostly surrounded by the territory of another country” is modeled on the noun enclave, its opposite, using the Latin prefix ex- “out of, from.” Enclave comes from an older French term meaning “locked in,” from Latin clāvis “key,” which also gives rise to words such as clavicle, the collarbone, originally meaning “little key” in Latin, and conclave, a secret meeting, originally meaning “(room) with a key” in Latin. Exclave entered English in the late 1800s.

how is exclave used?

The absurdity of militarizing a peacetime border through a major European metropolis is illustrated by what happened to West Berlin’s half-dozen exclaves, small plots of land that lay just outside the city limits. Mere administrative anomalies before the partition of Berlin, these exclaves became potential international trouble spots.

Frank Jacobs, "Can A Town Divided Against Itself Stand?" New York Times, January 30, 2012

There are three other “exclaves” like Hyder along the border—two small, sparsely populated towns in the U.S., and one in Canada—which largely rely on an open border to carry out their businesses, go to school and even buy groceries. But when the border shuttered at the start of the pandemic, residents of the exclaves were left to figure out how to stay afloat with their main source of business—tourism—cut off.

Kelly Hooper, "Lost summer on repeat: Opening of U.S.-Canada border may come too late for exclaves," Politico, July 2, 2021

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Word of the day

Thursday, September 09, 2021

glitz

[ glits ]

noun

ostentatious glitter or sophistication.

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What is the origin of glitz?

It’s easy to imagine how glitz is related to the word glitter, but the two words share a far deeper origin: the Proto-Indo-European root gʰel- “to shine.” This root crops up in at least a dozen brightness- and vision-related words, including glance, glare, glass, glaze, gleam, glimmer, glimpse, glint, glisten, glister, gloss, and glow, and is also the source of many light color names, such as gold and yellow in English and khlōrós “greenish-yellow” in Ancient Greek, from which chlorophyll is derived. Glitz entered English in the 1970s, which is surprisingly recent.

how is glitz used?

Yet much of the glitz may be just that—glitz. Survey data and experts suggest that students generally appreciate libraries most for their simple, traditional offerings: a quiet place to study or collaborate on a group project, the ability to print research papers, and access to books.

Alia Wong, "College Students Just Want Normal Libraries," The Atlantic, October 4, 2019

On the surface, I had almost nothing in common with Ann. I was a 39-year-old, geeky freelancer living in suburban New Jersey, far from the glitz and glamour of Tokyo. I was long past the carefree attitude of a high schooler and was a very, very far cry from ever belonging on a runway.

Esther Mollica, "Ann Takamaki From Persona 5 Was Exactly Who I Needed to See," Wired, May 10, 2021

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