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Word of the Day
1 minutes | May 23, 2022
Ubiety is a noun that refers to the quality or state of being in a place. The Latin word ubi (OOH bee) means ‘where’ and the suffix I-E-T-Y means ‘city.’ When combined, we get a word for the state of being in a definite location. Carl’s ubiety is not known for certain. But we know him well enough to know that whatever his location is, there must be a donut shop nearby.
1 minutes | May 22, 2022
Oligopoly is a state of limited competition. The root word of oligopoly, oligarch means a very rich business leader with a great deal of political influence. It comes from a Greek combination of words that mean ‘few’ and ‘to rule.’ When a condition in which few people rule has been reached, it can be called an oligopoly. Here’s an example: Tracy thinks an oligopoly wouldn’t be a bad thing necessarily. Her reasoning is that living in a world of limited competition would be great as long as that competition is between ice cream parlors she likes.
1 minutes | May 21, 2022
Shrive is a verb that means to free from guilt. The Latin word scribere (scri BEAR ay) means ‘to write.’ Over centuries, the meaning of our word of the day has shifted to means something done by a priest when he hears confession. It can also be used more generally. Here’s an example. When Mom suspected somebody was stealing cookies at night, she offered to shrive the guilty party provided they confess to the crime. This was an offer I couldn’t turn down, so I admitted that I was the thief.
1 minutes | May 20, 2022
Dataveillance is a noun that refers to the practice of monitoring digital data. Originating in the 1970s, dataveillance is a recent addition to English that describes the recent practice of people tracking the data of others for the purpose of gathering information. But the word comes from two Latin words that have been around for centuries. The word has been used as a philosophical term and surveillance
1 minutes | May 19, 2022
Corrigendum is a noun that refers to an error. The origin of corrigendum is in the Latin word corrigere (core ee GARE ay) which means ‘to bring into order’ or ‘to correct.’ As an editor, I often deal with writers who get frustrated when they see a corrigendum that embarrasses them. I always assure them that all writers have things that need be corrected. If they didn’t, I wouldn’t have a job.
1 minutes | May 18, 2022
Conurbation is a noun that refers to an extended urban area. The Latin prefix C-O-N means ‘together.’ Combined with U-R-B for ‘city,’ we get our word of the day which refers to a place where serval towns are merged into a giant urban area. Having grown up in the conurbation of southern California, I’m accustomed to gigantic urban locations. Living in a large city that is isolated from other large cities seemed odd to me.
1 minutes | May 17, 2022
Fustian is a noun that refers to pompous or pretentious speech or writing. Coming from the Latin word fustaneum (foo STAN ee oom) which refers to a specific kind of cloth, our word of the day’s meaning has shifted over time to now refer to speech or writing that is thought of as pompous or pretentious. Example: At the time, I was impressed by the professor’s speech as a student. But looking back, I now recognize his words as pure fustian.
1 minutes | May 16, 2022
Inunction is an adjective that means the act of rubbing on an oil or ointment. The Latin word inunguare (in un GWARE ay) means ‘to smear.’ Our word of the day entered the English language in the late 15th century and has retained its same basic meaning. Here’s an example of it in use: It took a while to understand why inunction wasn’t helping with my condition. Then it occurred to me that when the doctor recommended rubbing oil on my body, he wasn’t talking about motor oil.
1 minutes | May 15, 2022
Arboreal is an adjective that mans resembling or related to a tree. The Latin word arbor (ARE bore) means tree. Our word of the day describes anything related to trees. Her’s an example. Trying to disguise himself as a tree was a bad move for Russ. Even with leaves on his head and his body painted brown, he simply didn’t look arboreal.
1 minutes | May 14, 2022
Dross is a noun that refers to something of low value. Our word of the day comes from Old English where it referred to molten metal. More recently the word has come to mean anything lacking worth or value. My inbox has been invaded by all kinds of dross. Those silly emails begging me to join their health club are a waste of my time and a waste of the company’s money.
1 minutes | May 13, 2022
Carapace is a noun that refers to a protective covering. The Spanish word carapacho (cah ra POCH oh) provides the origin of our word of the day. Although generally used when referring to the bodies of animals, carapace may be used in a number of different ways. Here’s an example: Some astronomers have speculated the universe had a carapace millennia ago. They suspect this protective covering is the reason our planet was shielded from many asteroid storms.
1 minutes | May 12, 2022
Crepitate is a verb that means to make a crackling sound. The latin word crepitare means ‘to crackle.’ It entered English in the Early 17th century. Here’s an example of crepitate in use: Hearing all those creatures crepitate in the night made me a little uneasy. Don’t get me wrong, I love the wilderness, but I love it more when there isn’t so much rattling in the dark.
1 minutes | May 11, 2022
Solatium is a noun that refers to something given as compensation. Our word of the day is derived from Latin, meaning ‘solace.’ Solatium is often used in legal proceedings. The solatium given to my client was not nearly enough to compensate for his loss at the time. We demanded a great deal more because we simply felt he deserved a great deal more.
1 minutes | May 10, 2022
Sumpsimus is a noun that refers to a strictly correct usage of words. Coming directly from Latin, where its translation is ‘we have taken,’ sumpsimus is used by editors and those in the world of writing. Here’s an example of it in use: The sumpsimus made in my first book annoyed me a little. I admit I’ve made mistakes in my writing, but some corrections are unnecessary.
2 minutes | May 9, 2022
Enflesh is a verb that means ‘to give bodily form to’ or ‘to make real.’ The root word of enflesh is flesh, a word of Old English origin, referring to the soft substance of muscle and fat found between the skin and bones of an animal or human. The prefix E-N is often used to turn a noun or adjective into a verb. We see it with words like encourage, enable or endanger. Enflesh is frequently used metaphorically. Here’s an example: Dante’s drunken behavior seemed to enflesh my observations about the dangers of excessive drinking. I was only talking about these things in the abstract, but Dante made these dangers real in his life.
1 minutes | May 8, 2022
Lossless is an adjective that means having no dissipation of electrical energy. Commonly used in computing, our word of the day entered English in the 1930s and combines the frequently used English word ‘loss’ with the the suffix ‘less.’ Here’s an example of it in use: For this project, we needed to make sure there was no data compression. So we had to make sure everything was lossless.
1 minutes | May 7, 2022
Apotheosize is a verb that means to idolize or elevate to the rank of a god. The Root word of apotheosize is apotheosis, a noun, coming directly from Greek, that refers to the process of turning someone into a god. Our word of the day is the verb variation of it. Here’s an example to illustrate the differences in how the words are used: After the battle, the crowd seemed eager to apotheosize the brave captain. But in my experience, that kind of apotheosis does nothing but inflate the ego of men to the point of making them unbearable.
1 minutes | May 6, 2022
Rostrum is a noun that refers to a raised platform for public speech. Our word of the day comes directly from Latin and had exactly the same meaning as it does today. A rostrum in Ancient Rome referred to a raised platform used by public speakers in the forum. Here’s an example: The first speaker at the rostrum had many interesting observations to make on the topic. So when it was my turn to speak, I was a little intimidated. I almost wish the raised platform had been sunken into the ground.
1 minutes | May 5, 2022
Tropology is a noun that refers to the figurative language. Coming from the Greek word, tropos (TRO pose) which means ‘style’ or ‘manner,’ Tropology was once used specifically to refer to figurative language in the Bible. More broadly, it is used to refer to any use of figurative language.
1 minutes | May 4, 2022
Parnassian is an adjective that means ‘related to poetry.’ Our word of the day was born in Greece, having been named after a mountain in that nation. But Parnassian was later adopted by the French in the 19th century to refer to a specific group of poets. More recently it is used to describe anything or anyone related to poetry. The parnissian urge to write in verse struck me in my teens, but I soon got over it. All I had to do was read some of my poetry to my English class. That forever cured me of my desire to be a poet.
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