Word of the day strikes back

Discussion about miscellaneous topics not covered by other forums
Richard Frost
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Word of the day

Post by Richard Frost » Sat Jun 05 2021 8:58am

Word of the Day : June 5, 2021 - https://www.merriam-webster.com/word-of-the-day

didactic

adjective dye-DAK-tik

Definition
1 a : designed or intended to teach

b : intended to convey instruction and information as well as pleasure and entertainment

2 : making moral observations

Did You Know?
Didaktikós is a Greek word that means "apt at teaching." It comes from didáskein, meaning "to teach." Something didactic does just that: it teaches or instructs. Didactic conveyed that neutral meaning when it was first borrowed in the 17th century, and still does; a didactic piece of writing is one that is meant to be instructive as well as artistic. Parables are generally didactic because they aim to teach a moral lesson. Didactic now sometimes has negative connotations, too, however. Something described as "didactic" is often overburdened with instruction to the point of being dull. Or it might be pompously instructive or moralistic.

Examples
Many of the shows on the channel are didactic, teaching children about such things as the importance of recycling, exercise, and honesty through the actions of animated characters.

"[Beverly] Cleary frowned on the moralizing, didactic themes that dominated children's literature in the first half of the 20th century. She set out not to impart wisdom but instead to portray children at play, and to capture their dialogue and the ways they sometimes venture into an adult world beyond their full comprehension." — Harrison Smith and Becky Krystal, The Tampa Bay (Florida) Times, 27 Mar. 2021
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Word of the day

Post by Richard Frost » Sun Jun 06 2021 9:22am

Word of the Day : June 6, 2021 - https://www.merriam-webster.com/word-of-the-day

glean

verb GLEEN

Definition
1 : to gather grain or other produce left by reapers

2 : to gather information or material bit by bit

3 a : to pick up after a reaper

b : to strip of the leavings of reapers

4 a : to gather (something, such as information) bit by bit

b : to pick over in search of relevant material

5 : find out

Did You Know?
Glean comes from Middle English glenen, which traces to Anglo-French glener, meaning "to glean." The French borrowed their word from Late Latin glennare, which also means "to glean" and is itself of Celtic origin. Both the grain-gathering sense and the collecting-bit-by-bit senses of English's glean date back at least to the 14th century. Over the years, and especially in the 20th and 21st centuries, glean has also come to be used frequently with the meaning "to find out, learn, ascertain." This sense has been criticized by folks who think glean should always imply the drudgery involved in the literal grain-gathering sense, but it is well established and perfectly valid.

Examples
"Every year since Arecibo's completion, in 1963, hundreds of researchers from around the world had taken turns pointing the radio telescope toward the sky to glean the secrets of the universe." — Daniel Alarcón, The New Yorker, 29 Mar 2021

"When we arrived at that hut at mid-afternoon, we saw no signs of life about it. The field near by had been denuded of its crop some time before, and had a skinned look, so exhaustively had it been harvested and gleaned." — Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, 1889
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Word of the day

Post by Richard Frost » Mon Jun 07 2021 9:45am

Word of the Day : June 7, 2021 - https://www.merriam-webster.com/word-of-the-day

solipsism

noun SOH-lip-sih-zum

Definition
: a theory holding that the self can know nothing but its own modifications and that the self is the only existent thing; also : extreme egocentrism

Did You Know?
French philosopher René Descartes (1596-1650) can be blamed for the idea that if one whittles away beliefs about which one cannot be certain, one will eventually land at the existence of the self as a singular certainty; however, he cannot be blamed for either the word solipsism or the theory it refers to. (Descartes avoided falling into solipsism by positing that ideas known with the same clarity as the existence of the self is known must also be true.) Philosophical application of the word likely owes something to the French translation of a satiric work written by Venetian scholar Giulio Clemente Scotti in 1645 called Monarchia Solipsorum —in French, La Monarchie des Solipses. The pertinent term is a composite of the Latin solus ("alone") and ipse ("self").

Examples
"The solipsism born of social distancing and months of relative confinement leads me to see everything in relation to my current problem, which is online kindergarten." — Lydia Kiesling, The New Yorker, 5 Oct. 2020

"The 41 essays in Vesper Flights continue her explorations into the more-than-human world. Whether viewing feral pigs … or tracking deer along the edge of a motorway, Macdonald works hard to break us humans out of our species solipsism." — Jason Mark, Sierra, 8 Nov. 2020
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Re: Word of the day strikes back

Post by Sarah » Mon Jun 07 2021 2:30pm

Word of the day from Susie Dent:
Word of the day is 'quisquilious' (17th century): 'worthless' or 'trivial'; an obscure and rather beautiful way to describe something as rubbish.
https://twitter.com/susie_dent/status/1 ... 34208?s=20
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Word of the day

Post by Richard Frost » Tue Jun 08 2021 9:35am

Word of the Day : June 8, 2021 - https://www.merriam-webster.com/word-of-the-day

bumptious

adjective BUMP-shus

Definition

: presumptuously, obtusely, and often noisily self-assertive : obtrusive

Did You Know?
While we've uncovered evidence dating bumptious to the beginning of the 19th century, the word was uncommon enough decades later that Edward Bulwer-Lytton included the following in his 1850 My Novel: "'She holds her head higher, I think,' said the landlord, smiling. 'She was always—not exactly proud like, but what I calls Bumptious.' 'I never heard that word before,' said the parson, laying down his knife and fork. 'Bumptious indeed, though I believe it is not in the dictionary, has crept into familiar parlance, especially amongst young folks at school and college.'" The word is, of course, now in "the dictionary"; ours notes that it comes from the noun bump and the -tious of fractious.

Examples
"The brash, bumptious New Yorkers I'd encountered in college had assured me that everything in New York was 'the best.'" — Herbert Buchsbaum, The New York Times, 19 Jan. 2021

"Since its introduction in the late 1990s, the Escalade has been the 118-year-old Detroit luxury brand’s flagship—its most expensive model, and the one that perhaps best represents the marque's distinctly American blend of bumptious brazenness, brassy luxury, and go-anywhere capability." — Brett Berk, Architectural Digest, 10 Feb. 2020
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Word of the day

Post by Richard Frost » Wed Jun 09 2021 10:23am

Word of the Day : June 9, 2021 - https://www.merriam-webster.com/word-of-the-day

enjoin

verb in-JOIN

Definition
1 : to direct or impose by authoritative order or with urgent admonition

2 a : forbid, prohibit

b : to prohibit by a judicial order : put an injunction on

Did You Know?
Enjoin has the Latin verb jungere, meaning "to join," at its root, but the kind of joining expressed by enjoin is quite particular: it is about linking someone to an action or activity by either requiring or prohibiting it. When it's the former at hand—that is, when enjoin is used to mean "to direct or impose by authoritative order or with urgent admonition"—the preposition to is typically employed, as in "they enjoined us to secrecy." When prohibition is involved, from is common, as in "signs enjoin attendees from photographing the event." In legal contexts, enjoining involves prohibition by judicial order, through means of an injunction, as in "the judge enjoined them from selling the contract."

Examples
"And yet, to satisfy this good old man, / I would bend under any heavy weight/ That he'll enjoin me to." — William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing, 1598-99

"The city attorney has explicitly written of this exclusion in a letter to the residents of my neighborhood, enjoining us from communicating at all with our city councilors, on the matter of the Zia Station development." — Antoinette Shook, The Santa Fe New Mexican, 1 May 2021
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Word of the day

Post by Richard Frost » Thu Jun 10 2021 9:05am

Word of the Day : June 10, 2021 - https://www.merriam-webster.com/word-of-the-day

majuscule

noun MAJ-uh-skyool

Definition

: a large letter (such as a capital)

Did You Know?
Majuscule looks like the complement to minuscule, and the resemblance is no coincidence. Minuscule appeared in the early 18th century as a word for a lowercase letter, then later as the word for certain ancient and medieval writing styles which had "small forms." Minuscule then acquired a more general adjectival use for anything very small. Majuscule is the counterpart to minuscule when it comes to letters, but it never developed a broader sense (despite the fact that its Latin ancestor majusculus has the broad meaning "rather large"). The adjective majuscule also exists, as does its synonym majuscular. Not surprisingly, the adjectives share the noun's specificity, referring only to large letters or to a style using such letters.

Examples
"At least the random emphatic majuscules on blogs are uncommon enough to make a rhetorical impression, though perhaps one not quite worthy of Serious Journalism." — Katy Waldman, Slate, 25 Aug. 2016

"It is the name Meyer-Decker—the eleven letters, the two majuscules, the hyphen that's a bridge to grander things—which ambushes him, which jumps from its inky thicket and assails him at last." — Jonathan Meades, Pompey, 1993
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Word of the day

Post by Richard Frost » Fri Jun 11 2021 9:07am

Word of the Day : June 11, 2021 - https://www.merriam-webster.com/word-of-the-day

poignant

adjective POY-nyunt

Definition
1 a : painfully affecting the feelings : piercing

b : deeply affecting : touching

c : designed to make an impression : cutting

2 a : pleasurably stimulating

b : being to the point : apt

3 : pungently pervasive

Did You Know?
Poignant comes to English from French, and before that from Latin—specifically, the Latin verb pungere, meaning "to prick or sting." Several other common English words derive from pungere, including pungent, which can refer to, among other things, a sharp odor. The influence of pungere can also be seen in puncture, as well as punctual, which originally meant simply "of or relating to a point." Even compunction and expunge come from this pointedly relevant Latin word.

Examples
"Across Texas and the U.S. this year, high schools and universities scrambled to find ways to give students a meaningful graduation amid the coronavirus pandemic. There have been virtual events, drive-through ceremonies in parking lots and more traditional in-person events that took several days to ensure social distancing…. Images from those atypical ceremonies provide a poignant reminder of the ways life changed as the coronavirus spread." — Jamie Stengle, The Associated Press, 27 Dec. 2020

"It's hard to pick apart a film that is as well-intentioned as Here Today, which earnestly wants to celebrate life, and every beautiful, tragic, poignant and surprising moment." — Katie Walsh, The San Diego Union-Tribune, 6 May 2021
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Word of the day

Post by Richard Frost » Sat Jun 12 2021 10:07am

Word of the day 12th June 2021 - https://www.merriam-
webster.com/dictionary/bucolic

bucolic adjective

bu·​col·​ic | \ byü-ˈkä-lik

Definition of bucolic

1: of or relating to shepherds or herdsmen : PASTORAL

2a: relating to or typical of rural life

b: IDYLLIC

Synonyms
country, pastoral, rural, rustic (also rustical)

The Origin of Bucolic Is "Utterly" Quaint
We get bucolic from the Latin word bucolicus, which is ultimately from the Greek word boukolos, meaning "cowherd." When bucolic was first used in English in the early 17th century, it meant "pastoral" in a narrow sense - that is, it referred to things related to shepherds or herdsmen and in particular to pastoral poetry. Later in the 19th century, it was applied more broadly to things rural or rustic. Bucolic has also been occasionally used as a noun meaning "a pastoral poem" or "a bucolic person."

Examples of bucolic in a Sentence
Pine Ridge … . Its generic blandness and vaguely bucolic quality anticipated similar names—the Oak Parks and River Groves and Lake Forests and Chestnut Hills …— Ian Frazier, On the Rez, 2000

… the massive population growth has transformed a collection of bucolic villages and mill towns into a chain of strip-mall suburbs.— Jonathan Cohn, New Republic, 7 Feb. 2000

Upstream above the fall line lies the Piedmont, which draws vacationers attracted by bucolic destinations and wineries.— Washington Post, 4 June 2021

Sustainable and design-led luxury hotels are making their debut in bucolic Piedmont ahead of U.S. travelers’ return to Italy.— Lauren Jade Hill, Forbes, 3 June 2021

History and Etymology for bucolic
Latin bucolicus, from Greek boukolikos, from boukolos cowherd, from bous head of cattle + -kolos (akin to Latin colere to cultivate) — more at COW, WHEEL

The first known use of bucolic was circa 1609
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Word of the day

Post by Richard Frost » Sun Jun 13 2021 9:13am

Word of the Day : June 13, 2021 - https://www.merriam-webster.com/word-of-the-day

titanic

adjective tye-TAN-ik

Definition
: having great magnitude, force, or power : colossal

Did You Know?
Before becoming the name of the most famous ship in history, titanic referred to the Titans, a family of giants in Greek mythology who were believed to have once ruled the earth. They were subsequently overpowered and replaced by the younger Olympian gods under the leadership of Zeus. The size and power of the Titans is memorialized in the adjective titanic and in the noun titanium, a chemical element of exceptional strength that is used in the production of steel.

Examples
"A supernova occurs when a massive star in the bright disk of the galaxy runs out of fuel at the end of its life. With no 'fire' in its belly to beat back gravity's inexorable pull, the star implodes and then rebounds in a titanic explosion that rips it apart." — Bob King, The Duluth (Minnesota) News Tribune, 30 Aug. 2020

"Even more impressive, is that in 1976-77 the band had yet to reach its commercial peak and was far from a proven arena-packing act. The tour lasted so long and was such a titanic undertaking, it was a key factor in the group taking an extended hiatus to recharge in the years following." — Kelly Dearmore, The Dallas Observer, 11 Mar. 2020
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