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Today's Word "Primogeniture"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

primogeniture \prI-meh-GEN-eh-t(y)Ur of -chUr\ (noun) - The status of having been born first; also the law of inheritance whereby land is inherited by the first-born (son).

"As Jack was always telling his big brother, primogeniture did not give him the right in the house to fossick around in his room when Jack wasn't there."

...Read more

Today's Word "Maleficent"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

maleficent \meh-LE-fi-sint\ (adjective) - Evil, intensely spiteful, causing harm to others.

"Even though Laurent loved the play by his significant other's new boyfriend, he wrote a maleficent review harshly critical of it."

Latin malefic-us from male "ill, evil" + -ficus "-making, -doing," from facere "to make, do." Also found...Read more

Today's Word "Remonstrant"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

remonstrant \reh-MAHN-strehnt\ (adjective) - In a state of vigorously objecting to, earnestly aggrieved by or opposed to something.

"The remonstrant set of Russel's jaw convinced Andre that she could never persuade him to give her the remote control for the TV."

From Medieval Latin remonstrare, "to demonstrate." The Latin ...Read more

Today's Word "Forlorn"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

forlorn \for-LORN\ (adjective) - 1 : Sad or mournful as a result of a loss or deprivation of something. 2 : Deprived of something.

"The first time they saw little Agatha standing there meowing, forlorn, in the rain, they had to take her in."

From the past participle of Old English forleosan "to lose, forfeit" from for- + ...Read more

Today's Word "Excruciate"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

excruciate \ek-SKRU-shi-eyt\ (verb) - To inflict severe physical or mental pain on; torture physically or mentally.

"Although I actually swallowed several mouthfuls, every bite of Janice's experimental sushi souffle excruciated my palate to the extent of its endurance."

Latin excrucire "torture" from ex- intensifier + crucire ...Read more

Today's Word "Kibosh"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

kibosh \KI-bahsh or ki-BAHSH\ (noun) - 1 : (Slang) A restraining element; something that stops or halts something else. 2 : (Slang) Nonsense; palaver.

"Jasmine had an idea for a weekend getaway, but her husband's plans to go fishing put the kibosh on her scheme."

Etymology is unsettled, but probably not from Yiddish or Anglo-...Read more

Today's Word "Parergy"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

parergy \peh-RER-jee or PAE-reh-jee\ (noun) - Something unimportant, incidental or superfluous.

"Rick's tomahawk-throwing at the county fairs is a parergon to his job as a tax attorney."

From the Greek parergon "by-work, secondary business" from parergos, "incidental, subordinate, incidental," itself based on para "beside" + ...Read more

Today's Word "Invious"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

invious \IN-vi-ehs\ (adjective) - Impassable, inaccessible, without paths or roads.

"Everyone agreed that Professor Richard's mind was less enviable than invious -- almost impenetrable."

Latin in- "not" + via "way, road" from Proto-Indo-European (PIE) *wegh-, which also gave Sanskrit vah-ami "bring, lead," German Weg "way" and...Read more

Today's Word "Evanescent"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

evanescent \e-veh-NE-sehnt\ (adjective) - Tending to vanish like vapor, transient.

"The popular tune by the one-hit-wonder was so evanescent as to disappear from ones mind mere moments after vanishing from the airwaves."

Latin evanescens, present participle of evanescere "to vanish, disappear" from e(x) "from" + vanescere "...Read more

Today's Word "Fossick"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

fossick \FA-sik\ (verb) - 1 : To search for gold in a disorganized manner, especially in abandoned mines. 2 : To fossick about: to rummage around for something, to nose about.

"Jason's dog was wont to spend his days fossicking about the yard searching for the bones of past years as if, in reclaiming them, he could reclaim the...Read more

Today's Word "Noisome"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

noisome \NOY-sehm\ (adjective) - 1 : Offensive, disgusting, foul. 2 : Harmful or dangerous.

"Molly couldn't imagine even a homeless street bum bedecked in more noisome garb than Thomas wore that evening."

Middle English noie "harm" (shortened from Old French anoi "annoyance" which also was borrowed by English as "annoy") + -...Read more

Today's Word "Troglodyte"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

troglodyte \TRAHG-leh-dIt\ (noun) - A prehistoric or ancient cave dweller, hence a reclusive, anachronistic person who resists change; a pongid (gorilla, orangutan, or chimpanzee).

"Jane is a troglodyte who brushes her hair, wears sensible shoes, and leaves home only at night in her 1978 station wagon."

Greek ...Read more

Today's Word "Brook"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

brook \brUk (verb) - To put up with or stand for; to tolerate.

"Rick will brook any amount of nonsense as long as his girlfriend keeps his number on speed-dial."

Today's word is a homonym of brook "creek or stream," but the two come to us by different etymological paths. The "creek" version derives from Middle English ...Read more

Today's Word "Susurrous"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

susurrous \seh-SU-rehs\ (adjective) - Pertaining to a susurrus (whispering sound), having or similar to whispering or rustling sounds.

"When vacationing at the beach house, Linda always left the windows open, as she found the susurrous sound of the ocean extremely soothing."

From Latin susurrus "whisper;" onomatopoeic,...Read more

Today's Word "Fanfaronade"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

fanfaronade \faen-fae-reh-NEYD\ (noun) - Verbal fanfare: boasting or blustering boisterously.

"Walters introduced his daughter with a fanfaronade that embarrassed her so much she interrupted him."

French fanfaronnade, from Spanish fanfarronada "bluster" from fanfarron "braggart." Spanish may have borrowed it from the ...Read more

Today's Word "Druther"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

druther \DREH-dhehr\ (noun) - (Slang) Choice, option.

"When it comes to alternatives to his fast food job, hish school dropout Danny had very few druthers."

This word is a gift from the US South to the English-speaking world. It was clipped from the phrase "(I)'d rather" in a dialect of the southeastern United States, where "rather" is ...Read more

Today's Word "Supererogation"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

supererogation \su-peh-RER-eh-gey-shehn\ (noun) - The act of performing beyond the call of duty; the act of doing more than is necessary.

"At Christmastime, we must never forget Santa Claus's supererogation in bringing toys to so many children in the course of one evening."

From late Latin supererogare "to expend public funds"...Read more

Today's Word "Dishevel"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

dishevel\di-SHEV-ehl\ (verb) - To disorder or tousle, especially hair or clothing.

"Martha tended to come to work with with desheveled hair and clothing as a way of showing her contempt for the office hierarchy and it's concomitant lack of promotions."

The origin of today's word is Old French "deschevele," past participle of ...Read more

Today's Word "Obscurant"

Knowledge / Vocabulary /

obscurant \ehb-SKYU-rehnt\ (adjective) - That which obscures (adjective); one who obscures, prevents inquiry or enlightenment (noun).

"Lindsey felt that our cardinal problem was that the halls of government were inhabited by too many obscurants threatened by the free flow of information."

From "obscure," borrowed from Latin ...Read more

I Know Where You're Coming From

Knowledge / The Word Guy /

A Chicagoan who had just moved to Tennessee was washing his car with a garden hose when his neighbor came over and asked to borrow his hosepipe.

Having no idea what a hosepipe was, the Chicagoan replied, "Sorry, I don't have a hosepipe." The neighbor gave him a strange look, said "OK," and returned home. Only later did the Chicagoan learn ...Read more

 

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