Today's Word "Generic"
generic \juh-NEHR-ik\ (adjective) - 1 : Of or pertaining to a genus. 2 : Sold without a brand name. 3 : Relating to a whole group or class.
"In an effort to save money, Lois even started buying generic toilet paper that felt like sandpaper on her tender nether regions."
From French generique, from Latin gener-, genus kind, class.
Today's Word "Myopic"
myopic \my-OP-ik\ (adjective) - 1 : Nearsighted; unable to see clearly objects at a distance. 2 : Shortsighted; lacking foresight; narrow-minded.
"Alvin's myopic business acumen was, all agreed, the reason that every one of his capitalistic ventures inevitably failed within a few months."
From New Latin, from Greek, myopia, from myop- ...Read more
Today's Word "Anile"
anile \AN-yl, AY-nyl\ (adjective) - Of or like an old woman.
"Thirty-year-old Margaret was constantly cursing her prematurely anile bones, which kept her from doing many physical activites which she had previously taken great pleasure in."
From Latin anilis, from anus old woman.
Today's Word "Kickshaw"
kickshaw \KIK-shaw\ (noun) - 1 : A fancy dish; delicacy. 2 : A trinket.
"Jenna could typically be easily identified by the many kickshaws, geegaws, and costume jewelry she would adorn herself in the hopes of attracting attention."
By folk etymology, from French quelque chose, something.
Today's Word "Wiseacre"
wiseacre \WIZ-ay-kuhr\ (noun) - One who obnoxiously pretends to be wise; smart-aleck; wise-guy.
"Jacob's wiseacre tendencies had caused him to lose many a friend, all of whom had been certain to bring him to task before abandoning him utterly."
From Middle Dutch wijsseggher, soothsayer, translation of Middle High German wissage, from Old High ...Read more
Today's Word "Hacker"
hacker \HACK-uhr\ (noun) - 1 : A person who enjoys exploring the details of programmable systems and how to stretch their capabilities, as opposed to most users, who prefer to learn only the minimum necessary. 2 : One who programs enthusiastically (even obsessively) or who enjoys programming rather than just theorizing about programming. 3 : A ...Read more
Today's Word "Moxie"
moxie \MOK-see\ (noun) - 1 : The ability to face difficulty with spirit and courage. 2 : Aggressive energy; initiative. 3 : Skill; know-how.
"It was nothing more than pure moxie that allowed Clarice to come from dead last in the cheerleading competition to take the grand prize."
From Moxie, trademark for a soft drink.
Today's Word "Iniquity"
iniquity \i-NIK-wi-tee\ (noun) - 1 : Gross immorality or injustice; wickedness. 2 : A grossly immoral act; a sin.
"Kenny detected an innate iniquity in the company, given that the top brass made in excess of millions of dollars while the hard-working employees all made significantly less than a living wage."
Middle English iniquite, from Old ...Read more
Today's Word "Stripling"
stripling \STRIP-ling\ (noun) - An adolescent youth.
"Jackson was hired by the company a mere stripling, inexperienced and unwise to its inner workings, yet he would go on to oversee it during its most profitable years."
Middle English, possibly from strip.
Today's Word "Obeisance"
obeisance \o-BAY-sans, o-BEE-\ (noun) - 1 : A movement of the body expressing deep respect or deferential courtesy, as before a superior; a bow, curtsy, or other similar gesture. 2: Deference or homage.
"While Randy's personal rule of always showing obeisance before those senior to him had kept him out of trouble, it also guaranteed that he ...Read more
Today's Word "Morose"
morose \mo-ROS\ (adjective) - Gloomy, sullen.
"A stylishly morose girl, Miranda had painted the walls of her room black with red heart highlights, the better to mirror her typical state of mind."
From Latin morosus, peevish, equivalent to mor-, mos, will, inclination + -osus, -ose.
Today's Word "Fletcherize"
Fletcherize \FLECH-uh-ryz\ (verb tr., intr.) - To chew food thoroughly.
"Dinner table conversation came to a halt once the meal was served, as all were advocates of Horace's program and were wont to Fletcherize."
From the practice of chewing food many many times as advocated by Horace Fletcher, U.S. nutritionist (1849-1919).
Today's Word "Mondegreen"
mondegreen \MON-di-green\ (noun) - A word or phrase resulting from mishearing a word or phrase.
"For years Peter had questioned the sexual orientation of Hendrix, all due to the honest mondegreen of confusing ''Scuse me while I kiss this guy,' for ''Scuse me while I kiss the sky."
Coined by American author Sylvia Wright from the line "laid him...Read more
Today's Word "Onychophagia"
onychophagia \on-i-ko-FAY-juh, -jee-uh\ (noun) - The practice of biting one's nails.
"Such was the intensity of Courtney's onychopagia that, when added to her extreme flexibility, she was just as likely to chew on her toenails as those on her hands."
From Greek onycho, onyx, nail + -phagia, eating.
Today's Word "Verboten"
verboten \vuhr-BOHT-n\ (adjective) - Not allowed; forbidden.
"The subject of the boss's new hairpiece was strictly verboten, made all the more difficult by how utterly ridiculous it looked perched atop his head."
From German, past participle of verbieten, to forbid.
Today's Word "Pixilated"
pixilated or pixillated \PIK-suh-layt-id\ (adjective) - 1 : Mentally unbalanced; eccentric. 2 : Whimsical.
"After he was rejected by her, Alan played the part of a pixilated, lovestruck wretch and proceeded to follow the object of his affections everywhere she went."
From pixie, a mischievous fairylike creature.
Today's Word "Pococurante"
pococurante \po-ko-koo-RAN-tee, -kyoo-\ (adjective) - Indifferent, apathetic, nonchalant.
"James' only claim to fame was a single pococurante addition to the company's rules and regulations yet this, along with his esteemed name, was enough to guarantee him a cushy position in upper management for life."
From Italian, poco little + curante, ...Read more
Today's Word "Newel"
newel \NOO-el, NYOO-\ (noun) - 1 : A center column that supports the steps of a spiral staircase. 2 : A post supporting the handrail of a staircase.
"Midway through the stair project Larry appeared with a solid pine stair newel, stripped and sanded."
Middle English nowel, from Middle French nouel, kernel, from Late Latin nucalis, nutlike, from...Read more
Today's Word "Scart"
scart \skart\ (verb tr., intr.) - To scratch, scrape or scar.
"Despite extensive renovation, traces of barbed wire still scart the walls of what had once been an internment camp."
Metathetic variation of scrat, to scratch.
'Aks' Pronunciation Has Long History in English
Several readers have asked me about the pronunciation of "ask" as "aks." While this nonstandard, dialectical pronunciation might seem like newfangled usage, it's actually rooted in one of the oldest and most common elements of English: metathesis.
Metathesis is the process by which sounds, letters or syllables hop around and ...Read more