Word of the Day

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

zinger

[ zing-er ]

noun

Informal.

a quick, witty, or pointed remark or retort.

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What is the origin of zinger?

Zinger, “a quick, witty, pointed remark or answer,” is a derivative of the verb and noun zing, “(to make) a sharp whizzing noise.” It is, unsurprisingly, an American slang term that dates to about 1950.

how is zinger used?

He delivered his zingers with a sly twinkle in his eye, a deadpan expression, and a laugh so big he’d pull out a handkerchief to wipe the tears from his eyes.

Jennifer Ludden, "Johnny Carson, 30-Year 'Tonight' Host, Dies at 79," All Things Considered, NPR, January 23, 2005

Pope Francis often sprinkles his writings or public speeches with pungent zingers on issues like inequality and environmental destruction.

Jim Yardley, "In Speech, Francis Skips Over Line With Political Punch," New York Times, September 24, 2015

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Tuesday, October 06, 2020

capacious

[ kuh-pey-shuhs ]

adjective

capable of holding much; spacious or roomy.

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What is the origin of capacious?

The English adjective capacious comes straight from Latin capāc-, the stem of the adjective capax “able to take, take in, contain,” a derivative of the verb capere “to take, catch, seize.” The Latin suffix –ax (stem –āc-) is not very common; it forms adjectives denoting ability or behavior from verbs and some nouns, such as mendax (stem mendāc-) “untruthful, lying” (English mendacious), formed from the noun mendum “blemish, fault, error.” The English element –ious is a variant of the adjective suffix –ous, which comes via Middle English and Old French from the Latin adjective suffix –ōsus. Capacious entered English in the first half of the 16th century.

how is capacious used?

With its high ceiling and muted lighting, the capacious lobby of the Hotel Okura’s main building seemed like a huge, stylish cave.

Haruki Murakami, 1Q84, translated by Jay Rubin and Philip Gabriel, 2011

this is a vision of a 21st-century city remade with public health in mind, achieving the neat trick of being both more populated and more capacious.

Derek Thompson, "Great Ready for the Great Urban Comeback," The Atlantic, October 2020

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Monday, October 05, 2020

ecoanxiety

[ ek-oh-ang-zahy-i-tee, ee-koh‐ ]

noun

Psychiatry.

anxiety caused by a dread of environmental perils, especially climate change, and a feeling of helplessness over the potential consequences for those living now and even more so for those of later generations.

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What is the origin of ecoanxiety?

Ecoanxiety, “anxiety caused by a dread of environmental perils, especially climate change,” is a compound of the now common combining form eco– “pertaining to ecology or the environment” and anxiety. The combining form eco– comes via Latin oeco-, eco– from Greek oîkos “house” and oikía “house, dwelling.” An early occurrence in Greek of the combining form oik-, oiko– is in the noun oikonomía “management of a household or family, thrift” (source of English economy, which appears in English in the mid-15th century). Another early compound of oik-, oiko– occurs in () oikouménē () “(the) inhabited (earth),” English ecumenic(al). The noun ecology is composed of Greek elements, but oikología does not occur in Greek: English ecology comes from German Oecologie (1866; the word is now spelled Ökologie) “the branch of biology dealing with the relations and interactions between organisms and their environment,” its meaning in English.

how is ecoanxiety used?

Long before eco-anxiety became a national ailment this year, a strong environmental ethic seemed to come naturally to people in Anne Arundel.

Lisa Leff, "Ecology Carries Clout in Anne Arundel," Washington Post, August 5, 1990

I know those feelings. Eco-anxiety. Doing something is about the only thing that helps, in my experience.

Varda Burstyn, Water Inc., 2005

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