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Archive for April 2013

A Word A Day — lamia

Good evening, Netizens…

April 23, 2013

Word of the Day

  • lamia
  • audio pronunciation
  • \LAY-mee-uh\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

noun

: a female demon
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

In this campy horror film, the men of a college campus are attacked and killed by a seductive lamia who slips into their dorm rooms at night.

“She finds herself plagued by visions of a dreadful lamia, a man-eating monster that's half woman, half serpent.” — From a book review on Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2013

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

According to Greek mythology, Lamia was a queen of Libya who was beloved by Zeus. When Hera, Zeus's wife, robbed Lamia of her children from this union, Lamia killed every child she could get into her power. Stories were also told of a fiend named Lamia who, in the form of a beautiful woman, seduced young men in order to devour them and who also sucked the blood of children. Such nightmarish legends compelled poet John Keats, and many other writers before and after him, to write their own tales of Lamia, which still haunt and terrify those souls who dare read them.

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

 

Dave

Richie Havens has passed away…

 

Good evening, Netizens….

 

It is with great sadness that I heard that singer/songwriter/poet Richie Havens died today of a heart attack at age 72, and suddenly my world drew a deep introspective breath and held it a long time before letting it go. My God, it hardly seems like a day goes by but what another person falls off the ladder of life, leaving my world a bit less in stature.

 

I first heard Richie Havens sing in the East Village of New York, then he moved to the West Village as his popularity increased. I made the trip to Woodstock before it was even fully set up, which is how I came to hear Richie Havens at what I believed to be his absolute best. None of the other bands could get their equipment trucks through the dense traffic, and eventually Woodstock promoters asked Havens to play his set first.

 

I do not recall how many sets he actually played, but I still recall his rendition of Motherless Child, a song that will reside inside my heart so long as I draw breath.

 

Rest in Peace, Richie…

 

Dave

A Word A Day — transpire

Good evening Netizens…

April 22, 2013

Word of the Day

  • transpire
  • audio pronunciation
  • \tran-SPYRE\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

verb

1
: to give off vaporous material; specifically : to give off or exude watery vapor especially from the surfaces of leaves
2
: to become known or apparent : develop
3
: to take place : go on, occur
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

The police are still trying to determine what really transpired on the night of the accident.

“The Battle of Lexington Green transpired this morning as it always does. The British regulars advanced, a lopsided battle broke out, eight Minutemen died, the British marched on — and thousands of spectators, their heads full of history, headed to pancake breakfasts at surrounding churches.” — From an article by Joshua Miller in The Boston Globe, April 15, 2013

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

“Transpire” came to life in the late 16th century and was originally used in technical contexts to describe the passage of vapor through the pores of a membrane. From this technical use developed a figurative sense: “to escape from secrecy,” or “to become known.” That sense was often used in ambiguous contexts and could be taken to mean “happen.” (For example, Emily Dickinson wrote in a letter, “I long to see you once more … to tell you of many things which have transpired since we parted.”) Thus the “to take place” sense developed. Around 1870, usage critics began to attack this sense as a misuse, and modern critics occasionally echo that sentiment. But the sense has been common for two centuries and today is found in serious and polished prose.

Read more at http://www.merriam-webster.com/word-of-the-day/2013/04/22/#2e7tBdDI1c5yP4xi.99

A Word A Day — demulcent

Good evening  Netizens…

April 21, 2013

Word of the Day

  • demulcent
  • audio pronunciation
  • \dih-MULL-sunt\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

adjective

: soothing
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

Honey has a demulcent property that is thought to be effective in relieving sore throats and coughs.

“Chickweed (Stellaria media) has a demulcent effect on the stomach, which can help to suppress appetite when prepared as tea.” — From an article by Barbara Fahs in Big Island Weekly (Hilo, Hawaii), January 2, 2013

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

“Demulcent” derives from the Latin verb “demulcēre,” meaning “to soothe.” “Demulcēre” in turn comes from a combination of the prefix “de-” and “mulcēre,” an earlier verb that also means “to soothe.” As an adjective, “demulcent” often applies to the soothing nature of some medicines, but you can also use it to describe such things as a soothing voice or a soothing demeanor. The noun “demulcent” is used for a gelatinous or oily substance that is capable of soothing inflamed or abraded mucous membranes and protecting them from further irritation.

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

 

Dave

A Word A Day — xenophobia

Good afternoon Netizens,,,

April 20, 2013

Word of the Day

  • xenophobia
  • audio pronunciation
  • \zen-uh-FOH-bee-uh\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

noun

: fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

“A Labour MP has been accused of xenophobia after complaining about the Polish staff who served him a disappointing bacon sandwich.” — From an article in The Telegraph (London), April 25, 2012

“A few counterexamples raise doubts: the downturn in immigration during World War I due to the interruption of transatlantic ship traffic and the mobilization of many young Europeans for the war did not lead to a decline in stereotypes and prejudice; in fact, the wartime period and the few years afterward produced some of the worst xenophobia the United States has ever seen.” — From Richard Alba's 2012 book Blurring the Color Line

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

If you look back to the ancient Greek terms that underlie the word “xenophobia,” you'll discover that xenophobic individuals are literally “stranger fearing.” “Xenophobia,” that elegant-sounding name for an aversion to persons unfamiliar, ultimately derives from two Greek terms: “xenos,” which can be translated as either “stranger” or “guest,” and “phobos,” which means either “fear” or “flight.” “Phobos” is the ultimate source of all English “-phobia” terms, but many of those were actually coined in English or New Latin using the combining form “-phobia” (which traces back to “phobos”). “Xenophobia” itself came to us by way of New Latin and first appeared in print in English in 1903.

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

 

Dave

A Word A Day — admonish

Good Afternoon Netizens…

April 19, 2013

Word of the Day

  • admonish
  • audio pronunciation
  • \ad-MAH-nish\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

verb

1
a : to indicate duties or obligations to b : to express warning or disapproval to especially in a gentle, earnest, or solicitous manner
2
: to give friendly earnest advice or encouragement to
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

The teacher admonished Jenny not to run in the hallways.

“A struggling backup goaltender will stand up in the locker room during the intermission of a game in which he isn't playing, and he'll admonish his teammates to, essentially, stop being so stupid with the puck.” — From an article by Dejan Kovacevic in TribLive, March 17, 2013

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

We won't admonish you if you don't know the origins of today's word—its current meanings have strayed slightly from its history. “Admonish” was borrowed in the 14th century (via Anglo-French) from Vulgar Latin “admonestare,” which is itself an alteration of the Latin verb “admonēre,” meaning “to warn.” “Admonēre,” in turn, was formed by the combination of the prefix “ad-” and “monēre,” “to warn.” Other descendants of “monēre” in English include “monitor,” “monitory” (“giving a warning”), “premonition,” and even a now archaic synonym of “admonish,” “monish.” Incidentally, “admonish” has a number of other synonyms as well, including “reprove,” “rebuke,” “reprimand,” “reproach,” and “chide.

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

 

Dave

A Word A Day — milieu

Good morning Netizens…

April 18, 2013

Word of the Day

  • milieu
  • audio pronunciation
  • \meel-YOO\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

noun

: the physical or social setting in which something occurs or develops : environment
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

The quiet suburban neighborhood was within walking distance of the elementary school and provided the perfect milieu for raising a family.

“Setting his shows in a theatrical milieu, he provides characters with huge egos and over-dramatic desires and passions.” — From a theater review by Jay Handelman in the Sarasota Herald Tribune (Florida), March 31, 2013

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

The etymology of “milieu” comes down to “mi” and “lieu.” English speakers learned the word (and borrowed both its spelling and meaning) from French. The modern French term comes from two much older French forms, “mi,” meaning “middle,” and “lieu,” meaning “place.” Like so many terms in the Romance languages, those Old French forms can ultimately be traced to Latin; “mi” is an offspring of Latin “medius”(meaning “middle”) and “lieu” is a derivative of “locus” (meaning “place”). English speakers have used “milieu” for the environment or setting of something since at least the mid-1800s, but other “lieu” descendants are much older. We've used both “lieu” itself (meaning “place” or “stead,” as in “in lieu of”) and “lieutenant” since the 14th century.

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

 

Dave

A Word A Day — surd

Go0od morning, Netizens…

April 17, 2013

Word of the Day

  • surd
  • audio pronunciation
  • \SERD\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

adjective

1
: lacking sense : irrational
2
: voiceless — used of speech sounds
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

The artist is known for creating videos in which well-known speeches with surd utterances scattered throughout are recited by everyday people.

“While the grandparents might scratch their heads at the Star Wars references, the actors and perhaps some younger parents likely delighted in [the] manic, jumbled and surd structure of the play.” — From a review by Patrick Clement in Kiowa County Signal (Greensburg, Kansas), January 23, 2013

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

Both “surd” and its more common cousin “absurd” come from the Latin word “surdus,” meaning “unhearing, deaf, muffled, or dull.” “Absurd” traveled through Middle French before arriving in English in the early 16th century. Its arrival preceded by a few decades the adoption of the noun version of our featured word directly from Latin, which referred to an irrational root, such as √3. By the early 17th century “surd” had gained a more general application as the adjective featured in the example sentences above. In sense 2, the adjective describes speech sounds that are not voiced—for example, the \p\ sound, as opposed to the voiced \b.

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

 

Dave

A Word A Day — verbiage

Good morning, Netizens…

April 16, 2013

Word of the Day

  • verbiage
  • audio pronunciation
  • \VER-bee-ij\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

noun

1
: a profusion of words usually of little or obscure content
2
: manner of expressing oneself in words : diction
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

The newspaper editor said that he would have to reduce the verbiage of Earl's letter before he could publish it.

“With legislation being so protracted and containing so much confusing verbiage, is it any wonder that Congress's approval rating is currently around 15 percent?” — From an article by Richard F. (Buz) Williams in The Daily Courier (Prescott, Arizona), March 20, 2013

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

“Verbiage” descends from Middle French “verbier” (“to chatter”), itself an offspring of “werbler,” an Old French word meaning “to trill.” The usual sense of the word implies an overabundance of possibly unnecessary words. It is similar to “wordiness,” except that it stresses the superfluous words themselves more than the quality that produces them. In other words, a writer with a fondness for “verbiage” might be accused of “wordiness.” Some people think the phrase “excess verbiage” is redundant, but that's not necessarily true. In the early 19th century, “verbiage” developed a second sense meaning, simply, “wording,” with no suggestion of excess. This second definition has sometimes been treated as an error by people who insist that “verbiage” must always imply excessiveness, but that sense is well-established and can be considered standard.

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

 

Dave

A Word A Day — heinous

Good morning Netizens…

April 15, 2013

Word of the Day

  • heinous
  • audio pronunciation
  • \HAY-nus\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

adjective

: hatefully or shockingly evil : abominable
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

The former dictator will have to stand trial for the role he played in his government's heinous treatment of political dissidents.

“Oz so immediately takes to his new surroundings that he never once stops to question the giant, orchidlike flowers, spiraling rock formations or heinous flying baboons….” — From a movie review by Pier Marchant in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, March 8, 2013

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

Humans have contrasted love with hate and good with evil for eons, putting love and good on one side and hate and evil on the other. The etymology of “heinous” reflects the association of hate with that which is evil or horrible. During the 14th century, English borrowed “heinous” from the Middle French “haine,” meaning “hate.” Over time English speakers

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

 

Dave

A Word A Day — mirandize

Good morning, Netizens….

April 14, 2013

Word of the Day

  • Mirandize
  • audio pronunciation
  • \muh-RAN-dyze\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

verb

: to recite the Miranda warnings to (a person under arrest)
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

In accordance with police procedures, the officers had to Mirandize the suspect to make sure that he was aware of his rights.

“According to the website, Heller's motion is baseless as there was no need for police to Mirandize the actress since she wasn't in their custody, and it's 'perfectly legal to question people involved in a car accident without reading them their rights.'” — From an article at The Huffington Post, February 26, 2013

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

“You have the right to remain silent….” These seven words typically begin the notification that police recite to inform a suspect of his or her rights while in custody. The law requiring this recitation stemmed from a 1966 U.S. Supreme Court decision (Miranda v. Arizona) in which the court overturned the conviction of Ernesto A. Miranda on charges of rape and kidnapping. The court had determined that Miranda confessed to the crime without being informed that he could remain silent during questioning. The list of rights that must be recited to a suspect in custody subsequently became known as “the Miranda warnings.” And in the 1980s, the verb “Mirandize” began appearing in print.

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

 

Dave

A Word A Day contentious

Good afternoon Netizens.,,,

April 13, 2013

Word of the Day

  • contentious
  • audio pronunciation
  • \kun-TEN-shuss\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

adjective

1
: likely to cause disagreement or argument
2
: exhibiting an often perverse and wearisome tendency to quarrels and disputes
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

Although she is very pleasant in person, Katie has a tendency to become aggressive and contentious in online discussions.

“The issue of affordable housing in New Jersey, one of the nation's most densely populated states, has been contentious for decades….” — From an article by Anthony Campisi, The Star-Ledger (Newark, New Jersey), January 28, 2013

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

“Contentious” ultimately derives from the Latin verb “contendere,” meaning “to strive” or “to contend.” But we won't make you work hard for (or argue about) synonyms for “contentious.” “Belligerent,” “bellicose,” “pugnacious,” and “quarrelsome” can all be used, in addition to “contentious,” when you want to express that someone or something has an aggressive or fighting attitude. “Contentious” implies a perverse and irritating fondness for arguing and quarreling, whereas “belligerent” often suggests being actually at war or engaged in hostilities (“belligerent nations”). “Bellicose” implies a disposition to fight (“a drunk in a bellicose mood”). “Pugnacious” suggests a disposition that takes pleasure in personal combat (“a pugnacious gangster”). “Quarrelsome” stresses an ill-natured readiness to fight without good cause (“the heat made us all quarrelsome”).

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

 

Dave

A Word A Day — nepenthe

Good evening Netizens…

April 12, 2013

Word of the Day

  • nepenthe
  • audio pronunciation
  • \nuh-PENTH-ee\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

noun

1
: a potion used by the ancients to induce forgetfulness of pain or sorrow
2
: something capable of causing oblivion of grief or suffering
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

“Once barely sipping at wines, cocktails, brandy-and-soda, she now took to the latter…. The old nepenthe of the bottle had seized upon her.” — From Theodore Dreiser's 1914 novel The Titan

“All your waiting around for something good to happen to you has paid off. No need to question how you got here. Drink the nepenthe and forget all your miserable history.” — From an essay by Dan Gillis in 34th Street Magazine (University of Pennsylvania), February 21, 2013

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

“Nepenthe” and its ancestors have long been popular with poets. Homer used the Greek grandparent of “nepenthe” in a way many believe is a reference to opium. The term was a tonic to Edmund Spenser, who wrote, “In her other hand a cup she hild, The which was this Nepenthe to the brim upfild.” Edgar Allan Poe sought to “Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore.” The term is an alteration of the Latin “nepenthes,” which is itself descended from the Greek prefix “n -,” meaning “not,” plus “penthos,” meaning “grief” or “sorrow.” English writers have been plying the word “nepenthe” since the 16th century.

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

 

Dave

A Word A Day — indissoluble

Good morning Netizens…

April 11, 2013

Word of the Day

  • indissoluble
  • audio pronunciation
  • \in-dih-SAHL-yuh-bul\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

adjective

: incapable of being dissolved or disintegrated; especially : incapable of being annulled, undone, or broken : permanent
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

The minister contended that matrimony is a bond that is indissoluble in the eyes of God.

“At a news conference to present the message, Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, which promotes Catholic charitable giving, told reporters, that insisting on the indissoluble link between faith and charity is like 'hitting a raw nerve.'” — From an article in The Catholic Standard, February 12, 2013

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

“Indissoluble” entered the English language close on the heels of its antonym “dissoluble” (“capable of being dissolved”). “Dissoluble” (from Latin “dissolubilis”) first appeared in print in 1534, and “indissoluble” (with its “in-” prefix) followed in 1542. “Dissolubilis” derives from “dissolvere” (“to loosen” or “to dissolve”), which in turn comes from “dis-” (“apart”) and “solvere” (“to loosen”). Not surprisingly, “dissolvere” is also the source of “dissolve” and “dissolvable,” among other words. Is there an “indissolvable”? Yes and no. It exists, but it is archaic and rare. The word most likely to be used for things that cannot be dissolved in a liquid is “insoluble.” “Indissoluble” generally refers to abstract entities, such as promises or treaties, that cannot be dissolved.

April 11, 2013

Word of the Day

  • indissoluble
  • audio pronunciation
  • \in-dih-SAHL-yuh-bul\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

adjective

: incapable of being dissolved or disintegrated; especially : incapable of being annulled, undone, or broken : permanent
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

The minister contended that matrimony is a bond that is indissoluble in the eyes of God.

“At a news conference to present the message, Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, which promotes Catholic charitable giving, told reporters, that insisting on the indissoluble link between faith and charity is like 'hitting a raw nerve.'” — From an article in The Catholic Standard, February 12, 2013

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

“Indissoluble” entered the English language close on the heels of its antonym “dissoluble” (“capable of being dissolved”). “Dissoluble” (from Latin “dissolubilis”) first appeared in print in 1534, and “indissoluble” (with its “in-” prefix) followed in 1542. “Dissolubilis” derives from “dissolvere” (“to loosen” or “to dissolve”), which in turn comes from “dis-” (“apart”) and “solvere” (“to loosen”). Not surprisingly, “dissolvere” is also the source of “dissolve” and “dissolvable,” among other words. Is there an “indissolvable”? Yes and no. It exists, but it is archaic and rare. The word most likely to be used for things that cannot be dissolved in a liquid is “insoluble.” “Indissoluble” generally refers to abstract entities, such as promises or treaties, that cannot be dissolved.

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

 

Dave

A Word A Day — kiln

Good morning Netizens…

April 10, 2013

Word of the Day

  • kiln
  • audio pronunciation
  • \KILN\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

noun

: an oven, furnace, or heated enclosure used for processing a substance by burning, firing, or drying
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

Now that the school has purchased a new kiln, it can offer more courses in ceramics.

“Neither thin nor delicate, clinker brick is the Marlon Brando of masonry: misshapen, blackened in the kiln, historically regarded as trash by brickmakers.” — From an article by Christopher Gray in The New York Times, March 10, 2013

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

“Kiln” has been a part of the English language for over 1,000 years, its first known use in Old English (as “cyline”) dating back to the early 700s. Unlike many words that descend from Old English, however, “kiln” is not ultimately Germanic in origin but was borrowed from Latin “culina,” meaning “kitchen,” an ancestor of the English word “culinary.” In the 14th century, speakers of Middle English began to drop the “n” at the end of the word, and even to this day some English speakers pronounce “kiln” so that it rhymes with “mill.” In fact, like “kiln,” “mill” (from Late Latin “molina”) was originally spelled and pronounced with a terminal “n.” Unlike “mill,” however, “kiln” has retained the final “n” in spelling, if not always in pronunciation

Read more at http://www.merriam-webster.com/word-of-the-day/2013/04/10/#54MRiAukigBKUE4M.99

A Word A Day — doxology

Good morning Netizens…

April 09, 2013

Word of the Day

  • doxology
  • audio pronunciation
  • \dahk-SAH-luh-jee\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

noun

: a usually liturgical expression of praise to God
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

The church service typically concludes with the congregation singing a short doxology.

“A doxology, with impromptu four-part harmony, concluded a prayer prior to a dinner that followed the Mass.” — From an article by Gretchen R. Crowe in the Arlington Catholic Herald, September 26, 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

“Doxology” passed into English from Medieval Latin “doxologia,” which in turn comes from the Greek term “doxa,” meaning “opinion” or “glory,” and the suffix “-logia,” which refers to oral or written expression. It's logical enough, therefore, that “doxology” has referred to an oral expression of praise and glorification since it first appeared in English around 1645. The word ultimately derives from the Greek verb “dokein,” meaning “to seem” or “to seem good.” Two cousins of “doxology” via “dokein” are “dogma” and “paradox.” More distant relatives include “decent” and “synecdoche.” The Gloria in Excelsis and the Gloria Patri are two of the best-known and most often sung doxologies in contemporary Christianity.

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

 

Dave

A Word A Day — convalesce

Good evening Netizens…

April 08, 2013

Word of the Day

  • convalesce
  • audio pronunciation
  • \kahn-vuh-LESS\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

verb

: to recover health and strength gradually after sickness or weakness
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

According to the article, the athlete is still convalescing from her recent injury but expects to resume her training schedule by the end of the month.

“Kenyon … was 8 years old when he was struck [by a car]. He had to limit his activities to the quiet kind, so his parents figured piano lessons would give him something to do while he convalesced.” — From an article by Charles Hand in the San Diego Union-Tribune, February 24, 2013

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

When you convalesce, you heal or grow strong after illness or injury, often by staying off your feet. (The related adjective “convalescent” means “recovering from sickness or debility,” and a “convalescent home” is a hospital for long-term recuperation and rehabilitation.) The word “convalesce” derives from Latin, from the prefix “com-” (“with, together, jointly”) and the verb “valescere” (“to grow strong”). “Valescere,” in turn, is related to the verb “valēre” (“to be strong or be well”), which is also an ancestor of “prevail,” “valor,” “value,” and “valid.”

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

 

Dave

A Word A Day — equivocal

Good evening Netizens…

April 07, 2013

Word of the Day

  • equivocal
  • audio pronunciation
  • \ih-KWIV-uh-kul\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

adjective

1
a : subject to two or more interpretations and usually used to mislead or confuse b : uncertain as an indication or sign
2
a : of uncertain nature or classification b : of uncertain disposition toward a person or thing : undecided c : of doubtful advantage, genuineness, or moral rectitude
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

Unfortunately, scientists have yet to develop an effective means of early detection for the disease; the tests that are currently available tend to produce equivocal results.

“Schneider was equivocal on whether he thought the replacement officials working the game should have ruled the play a catch instead of an interception….” — From an article by Pete Dougherty in the Green Bay Press-Gazette, February 21, 2013

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

“Equivocal,” “vague,” and “ambiguous” all mean “not clearly understandable” and are used to describe confusing speech or writing. “Equivocal”—which can be traced back to the Latin prefix “aequi-” (“equi-“) and the Latin word “vox” (“voice”)—applies to language left open to differing interpretations with the intention of deceiving or evading (“moral precepts with equivocal phrasing”). “Vague” implies a lack of clear formulation due to inadequate conception or consideration (“I had only a vague idea of how to get there”). “Ambiguous,” like “equivocal,” applies to language capable of more than one interpretation but usually does not have the negative connotations of deception or evasion (“the poet's wording is intentionally ambiguous”).

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

 

Dave

A Word A Day — gest

Good evening, Netizens…,

April 06, 2013

Word of the Day

  • gest
  • audio pronunciation
  • \JEST\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

noun

1
: a tale of adventures; especially : a romance in verse
2
: adventure, exploit
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

Dorothy, who has already traveled the world in her quest for adventure, now daydreams of the ultimate gest—a trip into outer space.

“The best authentic source of Robin Hood stories is the late medieval poem A Gest of Robyn Hode …, a compilation of traditional ballads and stories.” — From the 2003 travel book England by Guy McDonald

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

“Let the Queen know of our gests,” Antony instructs his men after a hard-won victory on the battlefield in Shakespeare's “Antony and Cleopatra.” Great deeds and heroic acts have been the stuff of gests since medieval days; in fact, the word is more often associated with knights and heroes of old than with modern adventurers. We may not be hearing about many 21st century “gests,” but we do frequently encounter other relatives of the word. “Gest” traces to Latin “gestus,” the past participle of the verb “gerere,” which means “to wage,” “to bear,” or “to carry,” among other things. That Latin verb gave us stoutly enduring words like “gesture,” “ingest,” “jest,” “register,” and “suggest.”

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

 

Dave

A Word A Day — hackneyed

Good evening Netizens…

April 05, 2013

Word of the Day

  • hackneyed
  • audio pronunciation
  • \HAK-need\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

adjective

: lacking in freshness or originality
  • EXAMPLES
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The new crime drama's characters are shallow stereotypes who engage one another in hackneyed dialogue.

“Though it has been floating around Hollywood for a few years, and drawn some praise from insiders and would-be insiders, Noah Haidle's screenplay is pretty derivative and hackneyed.” — From a review by Philip Martin in Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock), February 1, 2013

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

“Hackney” entered the English language in the 14th century as a noun. Some think perhaps it came from “Hakeneye” (now “Hackney”), the name of a town (now a borough) in England. Others dispute this explanation, pointing to similar forms in other European languages. The noun “hackney,” in any case, refers to a horse suitable for ordinary riding or driving—as opposed to one used as a draft animal or a war charger. When “hackney” was first used as a verb in the late 16th century, it often meant “to make common or frequent use of.” Later, it meant “to make trite, vulgar, or commonplace.” The adjective “hackneyed” began to be used in the 18th century and now is a common synonym for “trite.”

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

 

Dave

A Word A Day — redbrick

Good evening Netizens…

April 04, 2013

Word of the Day

  • redbrick
  • audio pronunciation
  • \RED-brik\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

adjective

1
: built of red brick
2
: of, relating to, or being the British universities founded in the 19th or early 20th century
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

The round-table forum brought four distinguished Redbrick professors to face off against four renowned scholars from Oxford and Cambridge.

“As the product of redbrick universities rather than the rarefied spires of Oxbridge, the Goldman Sachs oracle gives the impression of being a slightly hesitant candidate to succeed Sir Mervyn King at the Bank of England.” — From an article by Alex Brummer in the Daily Mail (London), June 21, 2012

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  •  

Although red brick is a perfectly innocent building material in America, the British usage of “redbrick” is often potentially uncomplimentary. “Redbrick” is a British coinage created to denote the universities which were newer and perhaps less prestigious than Oxford and Cambridge (and sometimes the ancient universities of Scotland). These newer universities tended to be constructed of red brick, rather than the stone used for Oxford and Cambridge, and were most often created in industrial cities such as Liverpool. Sometimes the term is also used to distinguish these universities from those built after World War II. Limited evidence suggests that “redbrick” may be developing an extended meaning of “lower-class” or “working class,” but this is not yet established enough to merit a dictionary entry.

Read more at http://www.merriam-webster.com/word-of-the-day/2013/04/04/#lQfjJWgbSGI3ibeU.99

A Word A Day — boulevardier

Good evening, Netizens…

April 03, 2013

Word of the Day

  • boulevardier
  • audio pronunciation
  • \bull-uh-vahr-DYAY\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

noun

: a frequenter of the Parisian boulevards; broadly : man-about-town
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

Trevor fancies himself something of a boulevardier, and he appears in the newspaper's society pages often enough that the label seems apt.

“Effervescent and boyish, he has a boulevardier's bounce and a performer's panache.” — From an article by Mark Feeney in the New York Times, November 4, 2012

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  •  

The first boulevardiers got their name from the thoroughfares they frequented: the typically straight and geometrically precise boulevards of Paris. These particular men must have cut an impressive figure because the word “boulevardier” was eventually applied to any worldly and socially active man. Unlike many near-synonyms, “boulevardier” is generally a complimentary term. It differs from “flaneur” in that the latter refers to someone who is idle, and it doesn't imply the same vanity and foolishness that words like “fop,” “dandy,” and “coxcomb” do.

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

 

Dave

A Word A Day — ambidextrous

Good morning, Netizens…

April 02, 2013

Word of the Day

  • ambidextrous
  • audio pronunciation
  • \am-bih-DEK-strus\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

adjective

1
: capable of using both hands with equal ease
2
: unusually skillful : versatile
3
: characterized by duplicity : double-dealing
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

“Jensen, a right-handed athlete, quickly began to teach himself to become ambidextrous.” — From an article by Sam Blum in The Daily Orange (Syracuse, New York), February 20, 2013

“For that ambidextrous creature known as the author-illustrator—or at least for the best among them—story and art, like mind and body, are almost impossible to pull apart.” — from a book review by Meg Wolitzer in the New York Times, November 10, 2011

  • DID YOU KNOW?
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Latin “dexter” originally meant “related to or situated on the right side,” but since most people do things better with the right hand, “dexter” developed the sense of “skillful” (as demonstrated by our word “dexterous“). In 1646, English physician and author Sir Thomas Browne combined “dexter” with the Latin prefix “ambi-” (meaning “both”) in the first documented use of “ambidextrous”: “Some are … ambidextrous or right-handed on both sides.” The word can now describe the kind of physical or mental agility demonstrated by one with multiple diverse talents.

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

 

Dave

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