Today's Word "Ubiquity"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

Ubiquity \yu-BI-kweh-ti\ (noun) - Wide-spread presence, presence everywhere, commonplaceness.

"The ubiquity of computers in offices and libraries allows some people to get by without one at home."

Today's word is built on Latin ubi-que "everywhere" (itself from ubi "where" + -que "and") + -ous. Latin ubi "where" was originaly the locative ...Read more

Today's Word "Budweis"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

Budweis \BUD-vis\ (noun) - The German name of the Czech city of Ceske Budejovice.

The city of Cesky Budejovice is called "Budweis" in German so that Budweiser Beer means "beer from Budweis" in that language. The American brewery Anheuser-Busch began using the name in 1876. The problem is that the Czechs have been brewing beerwhich they ...Read more

Today's Word "jawboning"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

jawboning \JAW-boh-ning\ (noun) - The use of public appeals (as by a president) to influence the actions especially of business and labor leaders; broadly : the use of spoken persuasion

"The governor was reluctant to intervene directly in the strike, so he resorted to jawboning, urging both sides to return to the bargaining table with ...Read more

Today's Word "livid"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

livid \LIH-vid\ (adjective) - Discolored by bruising or black-and-blue; ashen or pallid; reddish; very angry or enraged.

"When Agatha's mother caught her sneaking in after midnight after obviously having spent time with her boyfriend, she was livid."

From the Latin adjective "lividus" ("dull, grayish, or leaden blue"). Originally was ...Read more

Today's Word "bohemian"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

bohemian \bo-'hee-mi-yen\ (noun) - 1 : (when capitalized) A native of Bohemia, a region of Czechia; 2 : an artist who lives and works outside the mainstream.

"Doing her best to play the part of bohemian poet, Janice would dress in all black, wear a beret, and go onstage barefooted whenever giving a reading."

A phenomenon of 19th century ...Read more

Today's Word "kakistocracy"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

kakistocracy \kak-uh-STAH-kruh-see\ (noun) - Government by the worst people.

"After watching all of the suspicious tomfoolery engaged in by both parties during the recent election, Jed was convinced that the government was, once and for all, a complete and utter kakistocracy."

A combination of the Greek "kakistos" (superlative of "kakos," ...Read more

Today's Word "demagogue"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

demagogue \DEH-muh-gahg\ (noun) - A leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power; a leader championing the cause of the common people in ancient times.

"The candidate was characterized by his opponent as a complete demagogue, pointing out that he could take the truth and twist it completely...Read more

Today's Word "autochthonous"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

autochthonous \aw-TAHK-thuh-nuss ("th" as in "think")\ (adjective) - Indigenous, native; formed or originating in the place where found.

"Though an avid bird enthusiast, Michael rails against species that aren't autochthonous, as they often have a tendency to crowd out native species."

Ancient Athenians considered their ancestors the ...Read more

Today's Word "nexus"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

nexus \NEK-sus\ (noun) - Connection, link; also a causal link; a connected group or series; center or focus.

"When he was a young newspaperman, John often wrote about the nexus between politicians and big business."

From the Latin "nectere," ("to bind") which is also the root of "connect," and "annex" ("to attach as an addition," or more ...Read more

Today's Word "imprimatur"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

imprimatur \im-pruh-MAH-toor or im-PRIH-muh-toor\ (noun) - A license to print or publish; official approval or sanction.

"Several members on the faculty were reprimanded for using students as subjects for medical experiments without the university's imprimatur."

"Imprimatur" means "let it be printed" in New Latin. From Latin "imprimere" --...Read more

Today's Word "Bona fides"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

bona fides \boh-nuh-FYE-deez\ (noun) - Good faith or sincerity; evidence of one's good faith or genuineness -- often plural in construction; evidence of one's qualifications or achievements -- often plural in construction.

"Jenkins was the sort of professor who'd present his bona fides by listing the VIPs with whom he'd shaken hands."

...Read more

Today's Word "Groundling"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

groundling \GROUND-ling\ (noun) - 1 : A person of unsophisticated taste; one that lives or works on or near the ground; 2 : a spectator who stood in the pit of an Elizabethan theater.

"But then, Roger was not a groundling. He was no mere spectator, but a leading man — a (Capulet or a Montague, take your pick — who was using the Square as...Read more

Today's Word "Videlicet"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

videlicet \vye-DEH-luh-set or vih-DAY-lih-ket\ (adverb) - That is to say; namely.

"Janice wanted to improve her vocabulary so she subscribed to one of the Internet's language-learning sources, videlicet, Arcamax's Vocabulary ezine."

The abbreviation of "videlicet" is "viz," so the question is how the "z" got there, as the word's Latin ...Read more

Today's Word "Temporize"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

temporize \TEM-puh-ryze\ (verb) - 1 : to act to suit the time or occasion : yield to current or dominant opinion : compromise; 2 : to draw out discussions or negotiations so as to gain time

"The legislature was accused of temporizing while the budget deficit continued to worsen."

From the Medieval Latin verb "temporizare" ("to pass the ...Read more

Today's Word "Irenic"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

irenic \i-REH-nik\ (adjective) - Favoring, conducive to, or operating toward peace, moderation, or conciliation.

"Jasmine had always been one of the more irenic students on campus, so no one was surprised to learn that she had helped negotiate a truce between feuding student factions."

In Greek mythology, Eirene was one of the Horae, the ...Read more

Today's Word "Inglenook"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

inglenook \ING-gl-nuk\ (noun) - The corner of a large open fireplace with space on either side of the hearth or built-in stove.

"Jerzey wouldn't recommend putting plants in the inglenooks lest the fire reduce them to the vegetable course of dinner."

In medieval times, fires were located in the middle of the room and the smoke wandered ...Read more

Today's Word "Precocial"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

precocial \prih-KOH-shul\ (adjective) - Capable of a high degree of independent activity from birth

"The precocial offspring of many ducks can run, swim, and find food for themselves within 36 hours of hatching."

"Precocial" and its partner "altricial" are really for the birds. Well, at least they are often used to describe the young of ...Read more

Today's Word "Subpoena"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

subpoena \suh-PEE-nuh\ (noun) - A writ commanding a person designated in it to appear in court under a penalty for failure

"Defense lawyers have issued subpoenas to several supposed witnesses of the crime."

If you think you recognize the "sub-" in "subpoena" as the prefix meaning "under, beneath, below," you're on target. "Subpoena" ...Read more

Earn Your Chops and You'll Get Props

Knowledge / The Word Guy /

A reader writes, "In the newspaper I keep seeing sentences like 'So-and-so showed his acting chops in portraying a demented killer,' and, on sports radio, I keep hearing phrases like 'props to so-and-so for his 10-day hitting streak.' I thought 'chops' were what you got at the butcher and 'props' were objects in theatrical productions. Am I ...Read more

Today's Word "Kowtow"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

kowtow \KAW-taw\ (verb) - 1 : To prostrate oneself or touch one's head to the ground in complete submission to someone else; 2 : to servilely and obsequiously comply with the wishes and demands of someone or something.

"'I ain't going to kowtow to her, mind,' said Granny. 'You never kowtow to anyone anyway,' said Nanny Ogg patiently. 'You ...Read more



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