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Cuvantul zilei - Word of the day

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 25, 2018 is:

ad hoc • \AD-HOCK\  • adjective

1 a : concerned with a particular end or purpose

b : formed or used for specific or immediate problems or needs

2 : fashioned from whatever is immediately available : improvised


"[T]he spread of bike sharing has made millions of lives a bit easier and a bit better…. In more and more realms of life the convenient ad hoc access provided by digital systems is taking the place of the assured access once offered by personal ownership." — The Economist, 23 Dec. 2017

"Possible art projects … include a new mural, a music festival or concert series and a sculpture made from a dead tree in Montezuma Park. For each of these projects, the committee members agreed to form a temporary ad hoc committee made up of interested citizens with the expertise to plan them." — Stephanie Alderton, The Journal (Cortez, Colorado), 24 Jan. 2018

Did you know?

In Latin, ad hoc literally means "for this." That historical meaning is clearly reflected in contemporary English uses of ad hoc—anything that is ad hoc can be thought of as existing "for this purpose only." For example, an "ad hoc committee" is generally authorized to look into a single matter of limited scope, not to pursue any issue of interest. Ad hoc can also be used as an adverb meaning "for the case at hand apart from other applications," as in "a commission created ad hoc." The adverb is older: it has been used in English since the mid-17th century, whereas the adjective did not become part of the language until about the mid-19th century.

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 24, 2018 is:

caravansary • \kair-uh-VAN-suh-ree\  • noun

1 : an inn surrounding a court in eastern countries where caravans rest at night

2 : hotel, inn


Most of the area's hotels are on the pricey end of the scale, but there are a few caravansaries for budget travelers.

"In the town of Ishkashim, adjacent to the market, we visited the crumbling remains of a sixth-century caravansary—an ancient motel for Silk Road travelers." — Andy Isaacson, The New York Times, 20 Dec. 2009

Did you know?

In the Middle East of centuries past, caravans often lodged at caravansaries. These inns were quadrangular in form and enclosed by massive walls with small windows near the top. The central court, which was surrounded by an arcade and storerooms, was large enough to hold 300 to 400 camels. The name was formed from the word caravan and the Persian word sarāī, meaning "palace" or "inn." Caravansary can also be spelled caravanserai, and the word serai is used as a synonym for it.

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 23, 2018 is:

meld • \MELD\  • verb

: to blend or mix together : merge


"Right away you perceive a chorus of instruments—trumpet, piano, saxophone and vibes—that have acquired the ability to meld their individual voices into a complementary, unified sound that delights the ears." — Ralph A. Miriello, The Huffington Post, 1 Jan. 2018

"Formed in Limerick, Ireland, at the end of the 1980s, The Cranberries became international stars in the 1990s with hits including 'Zombie' and 'Linger' that melded alternative rock edge with Celtic-infused pop tunefulness." — The Associated Press, 15 Jan. 2018

Did you know?

As a verb meaning "to blend or merge," meld dates only to the first half of the 20th century. In its early days, the word attracted some unfavorable attention. Those who didn't like it tended to perceive it as a misuse of an older meld meaning "to declare or announce (a card or cards) for a score in a card game" (such as pinochle or gin rummy). But the more recent meld, a blend of melt and weld, was an entirely new coinage suggesting a smooth and thorough blending of two or more things into a single, homogeneous whole. The word is no longer controversial.

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 22, 2018 is:

plangent • \PLAN-junt\  • adjective

1 : having a loud reverberating sound

2 : having an expressive and especially plaintive quality


The campers were awoken by the plangent howl of a coyote off in the distance.

"The music makes for exciting listening and shows Britten's mastery of choral music with each movement a contrast to the next. The movements range from plainsong, to plangent solos, through smooth polyphony and sections with angular rhythms and harmonies." — The Mountain Democrat (Placerville, California), 1 Dec. 2017

Did you know?

Plangent adds power to our poetry and prose: the pounding of waves, the beat of wings, the tolling of a bell, the throbbing of the human heart, a lover's knocking at the door—all have been described as plangent. The word plangent traces back to the Latin verb plangere, which has two meanings. The first of those meanings, "to strike or beat," was sometimes used by Latin speakers in reference to striking one's breast in grief. This, in turn, led to the verb's second meaning: "to lament." The sense division carried over to the Latin adjective plangens and then into English, giving us the two distinct meanings of plangent: "pounding" and "expressive of melancholy."

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 21, 2018 is:

demarcate • \dih-MAHR-kayt\  • verb

1 : to fix or define the limits of : delimit

2 : to set apart : distinguish


Treaty negotiations are underway, and both parties have agreed to accept whatever boundaries are demarcated in that document.

"These so-called stelae, some roughly 10 stories high with intricately carved stone, are thought to have demarcated royal burial places." — Marcus Eliason, The Denver Post, 14 Jan. 2018

Did you know?

Demarcate is set apart by its unique history. Scholars think it may have descended from the Italian verb marcare ("to mark"), which is itself of Germanic origin (the Old High German word for boundary, marha, is a relative). Marcare is the probable source of the Spanish marcar (also "to mark"), from which comes the Spanish demarcar ("to fix the boundary of"). In 1494, a Spanish noun, demarcación, was used to name the meridian dividing New World territory between Spain and Portugal. Later (about 1730), English speakers began calling this boundary the "line of demarcation," and eventually we began applying that phrase to other dividing lines as well. Demarcation, in turn, gave rise to demarcate in the early 19th century.

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 20, 2018 is:

refection • \rih-FEK-shun\  • noun

1 : refreshment of mind, spirit, or body; especially : nourishment

2 a : the taking of refreshment

b : food and drink together : repast


"… I should prefer that even in the 'Children's Houses' which are situated in tenements and from which little ones, being at home, can go up to eat with the family, school refection should be instituted." — Maria Montessori, The Montessori Method, 1912

"The transparency of the venue is a testament to its promise of offering 'fresh and healthy' choices—being able to intimately view the process of preparation and see the fresh ingredients used to concoct your food will make you feel reassured that you'll be biting into a crisp, original, unprocessed refection." — Vasudha Diojode, The Daily Californian (University of California, Berkeley), 19 June 2014

Did you know?

Whether you sit down for nourishment or sustenance, aliment or pabulum, a meal or a repast, you are unlikely to encounter a shortage of English words for food or the partaking of food. Refection is just such a word. It was first borrowed by Middle English (as refeccioun) from Anglo-French refectiun, which in turn was derived from Latin refectio (meaning "refreshment" or "repairing"). Refectio comes from the verb reficere ("to remake, renew, or restore"), a combination of the prefix re- ("again") and the verb facere ("to make or do"). Refection is not only applied to food, however. It has been used to describe many means of restoring or refreshing one's body, and of mental and spiritual sustenance as well.

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 19, 2018 is:

sanguine • \SANG-gwun\  • adjective

1 : bloodred

2 a : consisting of or relating to blood

b : bloodthirsty, sanguinary

c : ruddy

3 : having blood as the predominating bodily humoralso : having the bodily conformation and temperament held characteristic of such predominance and marked by sturdiness, ruddy color, and cheerfulness

4 : confident, optimistic


The coach insisted that he was sanguine about his team's chances in the playoffs, even though his star player was injured.

"Some of us hear the term AI [artificial intelligence] and picture a dystopian future where people lose jobs and control to robots who possess artificial—and superior—intelligence to human beings. Others are more sanguine about our ability to control and harness technology to achieve more and greater things." — Georgene Huang, Forbes, 27 Sept. 2017

Did you know?

If you're the sort of cheery soul who always looks on the bright side no matter what happens, you have a sanguine personality. Sanguine describes one of the temperaments that ancient and medieval scholars believed was caused by an abundance of one of the four humors (another is phlegmatic, an adjective that describes the calm, cool, and collected among us). The word sanguine derives from sanguineus, Latin for "blood" or "bloody," and over the more than 600 years it's been in use it has had meanings ranging from "bloodthirsty" and "bloodred" to today's most common one, "confident, optimistic."

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 18, 2018 is:

panegyric • \pan-uh-JEER-ik\  • noun

: a eulogistic oration or writing; also : formal or elaborate praise


The club's president opened the awards ceremony with a touching panegyric for several prominent members who had passed away during the last year.

"At Lafayette College in Northampton County in 2007, he marked the 250th anniversary of the Marquis de Lafayette's birthday with a panegyric to the great statesman and France's broader influence on America." — Joe Smydo, The Daily Telegram (Adrian, Michigan), 25 May 2017

Did you know?

On certain fixed dates throughout the year, the ancient Greeks would come together for religious meetings. Such gatherings could range from hometown affairs to great national assemblies, but large or small, the meeting was called a panēgyris. That name comes from pan, meaning "all," and agyris, meaning "assembly." At those assemblies, speakers provided the main entertainment, and they delivered glowing orations extolling the praises of present civic leaders and reliving the past glories of Greek cities. To the Greeks, those laudatory speeches were panēgyrikos, which means "of or for a panēgyris." Latin speakers ultimately transformed panēgyrikos into the noun panegyricus, and English speakers adapted that Latin term to form panegyric.

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 17, 2018 is:

biddable • \BID-uh-bul\  • adjective

1 : easily led, taught, or controlled : docile

2 : capable of being bid


"Unfailingly sweet and biddable (he never put his teeth on another creature—not even when he was bitten on the snout by a friend's ten-week-old puppy), we almost doubted his full canine credentials. No pack instincts? No resource guarding? No." — Mona Charen, The National Review, 23 Nov. 2016

"Because of the lack of documentation, the audit couldn't directly determine whether the project met a goal of awarding 60 percent of the biddable work to local firms, and 20 percent to small businesses." — Ben van der Meer, The Sacramento Business Journal, 5 Dec. 2017

Did you know?

A biddable individual is someone you can issue an order to—that is, someone who will do your bidding. The word dates to the late 18th century, and currently our earliest evidence for it is a quote in the Scottish National Dictionary. There are a number of words in English that do what biddable does. Tractable, amenable, and docile are three of them. Biddable is often applied to children and indicates a ready, constant inclination to follow orders, requests, and suggestions. Tractable suggests characteristics that make for easy guiding, leading, ordering, or managing; its antonym intractable (as in "intractable problems") is more common. Amenable indicates a disposition to be agreeable or complaisant as well as a lack of assertive independence. Docile can stress a disposition to submit, either due to guidance and control or to imposition and oppression.

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 16, 2018 is:

yuppify • \YUP-uh-fye\  • verb

: to make appealing to yuppies; also : to infuse with the qualities or values of yuppies


My sister rents an expensive apartment in a neighborhood that was recently yuppified.

"In those days, Surry Hills was a working-class suburb, and while its northern edges have been yuppified, the southern end around Cleveland Street maintains a vestige of the old feel." — Ean Higgins, The Australian, 31 July 2017

Did you know?

Yuppie and yuppify are products of the 1980s, but they owe a debt to predecessors from decades prior. Hippie (referring to a long-haired, unconventionally dressed young person who rejects societal mores; from hip, meaning "cool") first appeared in print in the 1950s. Yippie (naming a politically active hippie; from Youth International Party) followed hippie a decade later. Gentrification and gentrify (both of which have to do with the effects of influxes of relatively affluent people into deteriorating neighborhoods; from gentry) then evolved. Yuppie (pointing out a young well-paid professional who lives and works in or near an urban area; probably from young urban professional, influenced by hippie and yippie) hit the press in the early 1980s, bringing along yuppify and yuppification (patterned after gentrify and gentrification).

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 15, 2018 is:

nebbish • \NEB-ish\  • noun

: a timid, meek, or ineffectual person


Lyle may have come across as a nebbish, but he stood up to the bully who gave him a hard time—and the students in the cafeteria who witnessed the confrontation showed their support.

"Arthur Darvill is known to 'Doctor Who' fans as the nebbish-turned-stalwart-hero Rory Williams and to CW superhero fans as Rip Hunter, organizer of the 'Legends of Tomorrow' on that series." — Mike Suchcicki, The Pensacola (Florida) News Journal, 26 Nov. 2017

Did you know?

"From what I read ... it looks like Pa isn't anything like the nebbish Ma is always making him out to be…." Sounds like poor Pa got a bum rap, at least according to a 1951 book review that appeared in The New York Times. The unfortunate Pa unwittingly demonstrates much about the etymology of nebbish, which derives from the Yiddish nebekh, meaning "poor" or "unfortunate." As you might expect for a timid word like nebbish, the journey from Yiddish to English wasn't accomplished in a single bold leap of spelling and meaning. It originally entered English in the 1800s as the adjective nebbich, meaning "innocuous or ineffectual." Nebbich (sometimes spelled nebekh) has also been used as an interjection to express dismay, pity, sympathy, or regret, but that use is far less widespread and is not included in most general-use English dictionaries.

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 14, 2018 is:

frolic • \FRAH-lik\  • verb

1 : to amuse oneself : make merry

2 : to play and run about happily : romp


"Every year, Trolley Dances takes us on a unique journey.… Audiences are introduced to new, site-specific dance performances at stops along the trolley line…. In years past, for instance, dancers have frolicked in public fountains, executed seductive tango moves in a narrow alley and rolled down grassy slopes." — Marcia Manna, The San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 Sept. 2017

"When we ask our viewers to send us photos of the snow, we always get the usual—kids, dogs, porches—but this year, one viewer stepped it up a notch. Oak Island resident Wendy Brumagin was able to capture a beautiful, and what some might consider rare, image of a coyote frolicking in the snow." — (Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina), 8 Jan. 2018

Did you know?

Frolic is a playful word with a happy history. It traces back to the Dutch word vroolijk ("merry"), which in turn evolved from a Middle Dutch combination of vro ("happy") and the adjectival suffix -lijc ("-ly"). Vro is related to the Old Frisian and Old High German fro, which also means "happy." (It is also a distant relative of Old English frogga, from which Modern English derived frog.) When frolic first entered English in the early-mid 16th century, it was used as an adjective meaning "merry" or "full of fun." The verb came into use by the end of that century, followed a few decades later by a noun use, as in "an evening of fun and frolic."

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 13, 2018 is:

nuts • \NUTS\  • adjective

1 : enthusiastic, keen

2 : insane, crazy


"On Friday nights, when my kids … were younger, we would sit and watch a film. It's a fantastic feeling when you see them getting drawn into something you love. My husband, Phil, and I are nuts about West Wing, and we've gradually got my son into that as well." — Rebecca Front, quoted in Good Housekeeping (UK), April 2016

"I think the most irresponsible thing I did was invest in a company that was going nowhere.… It kept falling apart. People kept telling me I was nuts. I kept pushing forward." — Jessica Alba, quoted in Cosmopolitan, 1 Mar. 2016

Did you know?

The informal adjective nuts dates to the early 1900s but developed from an earlier 17th-century slang meaning often found in phrases like "nuts to me" and "nuts for me," where it referred to a source of delight, as in this quote from English satirist Jonathan Swift's A Journal to Stella (1766): "Why, we had not one word of quarrel; only he railed at me when I was gone: and Lord Keeper and Treasurer teased me for a week. It was nuts to them; a serious thing with a vengeance." The use likely had something to do with the taste of the dry fruit or seed since early figurative examples of the noun include the expression "nuts and cheese." Adjectival use, typically describing enthusiasm about or fondness for someone or something came about in the late 18th century. In Britain, the term was often used in the phrase "dead nuts on," as "She is dead nuts on the boy next door." The notion that enthusiasm and infatuation often lead to obsession may have played a role in the early 20th-century senses of nuts denoting extreme devotion, as in "nuts about baseball," and functioning as a synonym of "insane."

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 12, 2018 is:

adust • \uh-DUST\  • adjective

: scorched, burned


The adust landscape of volcanic rock and sand can be particularly beautiful at sunset.

"These arid and adust creatures, looking like the mummies of some antediluvian animals, … had to all appearance come out from this long tempest of trial unscathed and unharmed." — Thomas De Quincey, Revolt of the Tartars, 1837

Did you know?

Adust comes from Latin adustus, the past participle of adūrere ("to set fire to"), a verb formed from the Latin prefix ad- and the verb ūrere ("to burn"). It entered the English language in the early 15th century as a medical term related to the four bodily humors—black bile, blood, phlegm, and yellow bile—which were believed at the time to determine a person's health and temperament. Adust was used to describe a condition of the humors in which they supposedly became heated or combusted. Adust black bile in particular was believed to be a source of melancholy. The association with melancholy gave rise to a sense of adust meaning "of a gloomy appearance or disposition," but that sense is now considered archaic.

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 11, 2018 is:

recuse • \rih-KYOOZ\  • verb

: to disqualify (oneself) as judge in a particular case; broadly : to remove (oneself) from participation to avoid a conflict of interest


Because she was a frequent customer at the plaintiff's shop, the judge recused herself from the case.

"If HB 1225 becomes law in its current form, any county official who has an agreement with a wind developer must recuse himself or herself from any matter that involves the ownership, operation, construction or location of a wind power device in the county." — Travis Weik, The Courier-Times (New Castle, Indiana), 14 Jan. 2018

Did you know?

Recuse is derived from the Middle French word recuser, which comes from the Latin recusare, meaning "to refuse." English speakers began using recuse with the meaning "to refuse or reject" in the 14th century. By the 15th century, the term had acquired the meaning "to challenge or object to (a judge)." The current legal use of recuse as a term specifically meaning "to disqualify (oneself) as a judge" didn't come into frequent use until the 19th century. Broader applications soon followed from this sense—you can now recuse yourself from such things as debates and decisions as well as court cases.

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 10, 2018 is:

instauration • \in-staw-RAY-shun\  • noun

1 : restoration after decay, lapse, or dilapidation

2 : an act of instituting or establishing something


"Once, humanity dreamed of the great instauration—a rebirth of ancient wisdom that would compel us into a New Age…." — Knute Berger, Seattle Weekly, 14 Dec. 2005

"Showing that we can set quantifiable and therefore measurable standards for a program's performance does indeed make possible the instauration of market dynamics with respect to outcomes for our students and for society at large." — Carlos J. Alonso, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 12 Dec. 2010

Did you know?

Instauration first appeared in English in the early 16th century, a product of the Latin verb instaurare, meaning "to renew or restore." This same source gave us our verb store, by way of Middle English and Anglo-French. After instauration broke into English, the philosopher Francis Bacon began writing his Instauratio Magna, which translates to The Great Instauration. This uncompleted collection of works, which was written in Latin, calls for a restoration to a state of paradise on earth, but one in which humankind is enlightened by knowledge and truth.

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 9, 2018 is:

mnemonic • \nih-MAH-nik\  • adjective

1 : assisting or intended to assist memory; also : of or relating to a technique of improving the memory

2 : of or relating to memory


James taught his students the mnemonic sentence "King Philip Came Over For Good Spaghetti" to help them remember the levels of biological classification (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species).

"Let's illustrate this point with a simple exercise using the elementary school mnemonic 'Every Good Boy Deserves Fun.' Teachers use this tool to help students learn the letters of the musical staff: EGBDF." — Richard Klasco and Lewis H. Glinert, The Washington Post, 14 Jan. 2018

Did you know?

The word mnemonic derives from the Greek mnēmōn ("mindful"), which itself comes from the verb mimnēskesthai, meaning "to remember." (In classical mythology, Mnemosyne, the mother of the Muses, is the goddess of memory.) In addition to its adjectival use, mnemonic is also a noun meaning "a mnemonic device," and the plural from mnemonics is used in the sense of "a technique of improving the memory." As with many classical borrowings, we retained the double initial consonant, but not the pronunciation of both, since the combination doesn't occur naturally in English (pneumonia is a similar case). If this spelling strikes you as particularly fiendish to remember, keep this mnemonic in mind: although the word's pronunciation begins with an n sound, the spelling begins with an m, as in memory.

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 8, 2018 is:

embargo • \im-BAHR-goh\  • noun

1 : an order of a government prohibiting the departure of commercial ships from its ports

2 : a legal prohibition on commerce

3 : stoppage, impediment; especially : prohibition

4 : an order by a common carrier or public regulatory agency prohibiting or restricting freight transportation


"The embargo has forced freight companies to find new routes. Indian food suppliers, for example, used to make a stop in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Now they fly their products on cargo planes direct to Qatar." — Zahraa Alkhalisi, CNN Money, 23 June 2017

"The Trump administration … tightened the economic embargo on Cuba, restricting Americans from access to hotels, stores and other businesses tied to the Cuban military." — Gardiner Harris, The New York Times, 8 Nov. 2017

Did you know?

Embargoes may be put in place for any number of reasons. For instance, a government may place a trade embargo against another country to express its disapproval with that country's policies. But governments are not the only bodies that can place embargoes. A publisher, for example, could place an embargo on a highly anticipated book to prevent stores from selling it before its official release date. The word embargo, dating from around the year 1600, derives via Spanish embargar from Vulgar Latin imbarricare, formed from the prefix im- and the noun barra ("bar").

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 7, 2018 is:

carp • \KAHRP\  • verb

: to find fault or complain querulously


"The play begins in 1619, three years after his death, when a few of his former colleagues are carping about the pirated versions of his plays now cluttering London stages and bookstalls." — Alexis Soloski, The New York Times, 25 July 2017

"Cynthia began her work day with a contentious discussion involving a contract dispute.... From there she went right into a staff meeting where a number of her employees carped about minor operational issues as if they were monumental. At various junctures, she found herself holding her breath and gritting her teeth." — Philip Chard, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 25 June 2017

Did you know?

You might guess that today's word is a descendant of the noun carp, referring to a type of fish. That's a reasonable speculation, but the words are unrelated. Both entered the English language in the 15th century but from different sources. Whereas the fish's name traces back to Latin carpa, the verb is of Scandinavian origin: it may be related to the Icelandic verb karpa, meaning "to dispute" or "to wrangle," and beyond that perhaps to Old Norse karp, meaning "boasting" or "arrogance." There is a noun carp that is related to the Scandinavian verb, however: it means "complaint," and it dates to that same century.

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 6, 2018 is:

logomachy • \loh-GAH-muh-kee\  • noun

1 : a dispute over or about words

2 : a controversy marked by verbiage


"All politics is local, and that goes double for school politics. But just what does 'local' mean? Georgians are going to have an argument about that word between now and the November referendum on the proposed Opportunity School District. A great logomachy over localism, if you like." — Kyle Wingfield, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 11 Sept. 2016

"Not that anyone could accuse this city of lacking logophiles—that's 'lovers of words,' if you have to ask. But where could word warriors go to engage in spirited logomachy?" — Ron Fletcher, The Boston Globe, 29 Apr. 2007

Did you know?

It doesn't take much to start people arguing about words, but there's no quarrel about the origin of logomachy. It comes from the Greek roots logos, meaning "word" or "speech," and machesthai, meaning "to fight," and it entered English in the mid-1500s. If you're a word enthusiast, you probably know that logos is the root of many English words (monologue, neologism, logic, and most words ending in -logy, for example), but what about other derivatives of machesthai? Actually, this is a tough one even for word whizzes. Only a few very rare English words come from machesthai. Here are two of them: heresimach ("an active opponent of heresy and heretics") and naumachia ("an ancient Roman spectacle representing a naval battle").

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