Cuvantul zilei - Word of the day
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 29, 2017 is:
lethargic \luh-THAHR-jik\ adjective
1 : of, relating to, or characterized by laziness or lack of energy : feeling or affected by lethargy : sluggish
2 : indifferent, apathetic
After eating a large plate of spaghetti and meatballs I often feel lethargic and sleepy.
"The cold water temperatures slow down the metabolism of the fish, and they become very lethargic." — Jim Hutchinson, Asbury Park (New Jersey) Press, 9 Mar. 2017
Did you know?
In Greek mythology, Lethe was the name of a river in the underworld that was also called "the River of Unmindfulness" or "the River of Forgetfulness." Legend held that when someone died, he or she was given a drink of water from the river Lethe to forget all about his or her past life. Eventually this act of forgetting came to be associated with feelings of sluggishness, inactivity, or indifference. The name of the river and the word lethargic, as well as the related noun lethargy, all derive from lēthē, Greek for "forgetfulness."
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 28, 2017 is:
slough \SLUFF\ verb
1 : to cast off or become cast off
2 : to crumble slowly and fall away
3 : to get rid of or discard as irksome, objectionable, or disadvantageous
"The glue [that affixes the tiling to the hull] is exposed to a wide variety of environmental conditions, including big temperature swings as well as the pressures of operating at 1,000 feet beneath the surface. The friction of moving underwater tugs at the coating, and running into objects contributes to it gradually sloughing off." — Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 7 Mar. 2017
"After Monday’s [landslide], the Department of Public Works cut down two trees on the hillside, removed a loose mass of dirt that was unstable and reopened the road. But a significant chunk of the hillside sloughed off in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, with a valley resident alerting people that it had closed as early as 12:30 a.m." — Samantha Kimmey, Point Reyes Light (Marin County, California), 9 Mar. 2017
Did you know?
There are two verbs spelled slough in English, as well as two nouns, and both sets have different pronunciations. The first noun, referring to a swamp or a discouraged state of mind, is pronounced to rhyme with either blue or cow; it derives from Old English slōh, which is akin to a Middle High German slouche, meaning "ditch." Its related verb, which can mean "to plod through mud," has the same pronunciation. The second noun, pronounced to rhyme with cuff, refers to the shed skin of a snake (as well as anything else that has been cast off). Its related verb describes the action of shedding or eliminating something, just like a snake sheds its skin. This slough derives from Middle English slughe and is distantly related to slūch, a Middle High German word meaning "snakeskin."
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 27, 2017 is:
junket \JUNK-ut\ noun
1 : a dessert of sweetened flavored milk set with rennet
2 a : a festive social affair
b : trip, journey: such as (1) : a trip made by an official at public expense (2) : a promotional trip made at another's expense
The senator is under fire for going on a weeklong lavish junket.
"When I was young, … our family often made junkets after church on Sunday, to Cook's, a massive arrangement of barns and sheds near New London. Purveyors of everything from household items to car parts, it … had such buyer appeal that it seemed to be swarming with shoppers every time we stopped in." — The Litchfield (Minnesota) Independent Review, 9 Feb. 2017
Did you know?
The road junket has traveled has been a long one, with frequent stops for food along the way. Since at least the 15th century, the word has named various comestibles, ranging from curds and cream to sweet confections. By the 16th century, junket had also come to mean "banquet." Apparently, traveling must have been involved to reach some junkets because eventually the term was also applied to pleasure outings or trips (whether or not food was the focus). Today, the word usually refers either to a trip made by a government official and paid for by the public, or to a free trip by a member of the press to a place where something, such as a new movie, is being promoted.
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 26, 2017 is:
upbraid \up-BRAYD\ verb
1 : to criticize severely : find fault with
2 : to reproach severely : scold vehemently
"A helpful neighbor was able to contact the owner in Dorset and upbraided her for having her house stand empty while a young couple could find no place to live." — Kitty Ferguson, Stephen Hawking: An Unfettered Mind, 2012
"There was a steady stream of customers, mostly for takeout, and the experience was marred only by a guy we took to be the proprietor upbraiding one of his employees in front of the customers. Bad form, sir." — Heidi Knapp Rinella, The Las Vegas Review-Journal, 1 Apr. 2016
Did you know?
Upbraid, scold, and berate all mean to reproach angrily, but with slight differences in emphasis. Scold usually implies rebuking in irritation or ill temper, either justly or unjustly. Upbraid tends to suggest censuring on definite and usually justifiable grounds, while berate implies scolding that is prolonged and even abusive. If you're looking for a more colorful term for telling someone off, try tongue-lash, bawl out, chew out, or wig—all of which are fairly close synonyms of berate. Among these synonyms, upbraid is the senior member in English, being older than the others by at least 100 years. Upbraid derives via Middle English from the Old English ūpbregdan, believed to be formed from a prefix meaning "up" and the verb bregdan, meaning "to snatch" or "to move suddenly."
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 25, 2017 is:
hummock \HUM-uk\ noun
1 : a rounded knoll or hillock
2 : a ridge of ice
3 : a fertile area in the southern United States and especially Florida that is usually higher than its surroundings and that is characterized by hardwood vegetation and deep humus-rich soil
"Ah! I have penetrated to those meadows on the morning of many a first spring day, jumping from hummock to hummock, from willow root to willow root, when the wild river valley and the woods were bathed in so pure and bright a light as would have waked the dead, if they had been slumbering in their graves, as some suppose." — Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854
"Relying on a surveying device … Reeder set about measuring minute elevation changes across the land, searching for subtle gradations and anomalies. He zeroed in on a hummock that looked like the earthen side of a bunker, long since overgrown with moss and foliage, and roughly 100 feet away, a telltale dip in the earth." — Matthew Shaer, Smithsonian Magazine, March 2017
Did you know?
Hummock first appeared in English in the mid-1500s as an alteration of hammock, another word which can be used for a small hill. This hammock is not related to the hammock we use to refer to a swinging bed made of netting or canvas. That hammock comes from the Spanish hamaca, and ultimately from Taino, a language spoken by the original inhabitants of the Greater Antilles and the Bahamas. The origins of the other hammock and the related hummock are still obscure, though we know they share an ancestor with Middle Low German hummel ("small height") and hump ("bump"). The latter of those is also a cousin of the English word hump, another word which can refer to a small hill or hummock.
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 24, 2017 is:
ambiguous \am-BIG-yuh-wus\ adjective
1 a : doubtful or uncertain especially from obscurity or indistinctness
b : incapable of being explained, interpreted, or accounted for : inexplicable
2 : capable of being understood in two or more possible senses or ways
"In the app, numbers and symbols are included by default, and ambiguous characters like the digit 0 and capital O are suppressed." — Neil J. Rubenking, PCMag.com, 24 Feb. 2017
"The setting for this story is ambiguous—a girl and her mother leave one country for another to escape an unspecified conflict. The only clue given to the location is the vast ocean separating the two countries, which the refugees must travel by boat." — Anna Fitzpatrick, The Globe and Mail (Canada), 4 Mar. 2017
Did you know?
Ambiguous, obscure, vague, equivocal, and cryptic are used to describe writing or speech that is not clearly understandable. Ambiguous applies to language capable of more than one interpretation ("an ambiguous suggestion") and derives from the Latin verb ambigere, meaning "to be undecided." Obscure suggests a hiding or veiling of meaning through some inadequacy of expression or withholding of full knowledge ("obscure poems"). Vague, on the other hand, describes a lack of clear formulation due to inadequate conception or consideration ("a vague sense of obligation"). Equivocal is the best choice for language that creates a wrong or false impression, allowing for uncertainty or promoting mistaken interpretations ("the politician gave an equivocal answer"), and when there is a deliberate attempt to confuse, cryptic can be used ("cryptic clues about the location of the buried treasure").
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 23, 2017 is:
factoid \FAK-toyd\ noun
1 : an invented fact believed to be true because of its appearance in print
2 : a briefly stated and usually trivial fact
Printed on the back of each baseball card is a chart showing the player's statistics along with one or two interesting factoids about his career.
"Diana, the manager, took us through the intricacies of coffee roasting, providing us with interesting factoids such as that lava from the volcanoes results in excellent soil for coffee growing, and the darker the coffee bean, the less caffeine it has." — Patti Nickell, The Lexington (Kentucky) Herald Leader, 17 Feb. 2017
Did you know?
We can thank Norman Mailer for the word factoid; he coined the term in his 1973 book Marilyn, about Marilyn Monroe. In the book, Mailer explains that factoids are "facts which have no existence before appearing in a magazine or newspaper, creations which are not so much lies as a product to manipulate emotion in the Silent Majority." Mailer's use of the -oid suffix (which traces back to the ancient Greek word eidos, meaning "appearance" or "form") follows in the pattern of humanoid: just as a humanoid appears to be human but is not, so a factoid appears to be factual but is not. Mailer likely did not appreciate the word's evolution. As current evidence demonstrates, it now most often refers to things that decidedly are facts, just not ones we tend to pay much attention to.
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 22, 2017 is:
cartographer \kahr-TAH-gruh-fer\ noun
: one that makes maps
A cartographer was brought in to create new graphical representations of the shoreline that had been reshaped by erosion.
"A multi-media interactive website that celebrates the life and times of 16th-century cartographer Martin Waldseemüller—who created the 1507 World Map … —has been unveiled by the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., and the Galileo Museum, Florence, Italy." — USA Today, 1 Jan. 2017
Did you know?
Up until the 18th century, maps were often decorated with fanciful beasts and monsters, at the expense of accurate details about places. French mapmakers of the 1700s and 1800s encouraged the use of more scientific methods in the art they called cartographie. The French word cartographie (the science of making maps), from which we get our English word cartography, was created from carte, meaning "map," and -graphie, meaning "representation by." Around the same time we adopted cartography in the mid-19th century, we also created our word for a mapmaker, cartographer.
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 21, 2017 is:
bucolic \byoo-KAH-lik\ adjective
1 : of or relating to shepherds or herdsmen : pastoral
2 a : relating to or typical of rural life
b : pleasing or picturesque in natural simplicity : idyllic
"My husband, Toby, and I … live on a remote sheep farm in the Cotswold Hills.… Our house perches on the edge of a bucolic valley, its pastures divided by ancient dry-stone walls and hawthorn hedges." — Plum Sykes, Vogue, November 2016
"With acres of tree-shaded paths, outdoor cafés, a lake with rowboats, and several exhibition spaces, the city's grandest park offers a bucolic escape." — Andrew Ferren, Traveler, November 2016
Did you know?
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 as an adjective 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."
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 20, 2017 is:
eighty-six \ay-tee-SIKS\ verb
: (slang) to refuse to serve (a customer); also : to get rid of : throw out
The bar's policy is that bartenders have both the authority and responsibility to eighty-six customers who disrupt other patrons.
"He eighty-sixed the last reform once he was safely re-elected, saying he wanted to give municipalities more time to get ready for the change." — Brian O'Neill, The Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) Post-Gazette, 14 June 2007
Did you know?
If you work in a restaurant or bar, you might eighty-six (or "eliminate") a menu item when you run out of it, or you might eighty-six (or "cut off") a customer who should no longer be served. Eighty-six is still used in this specific context, but it has also entered the general language. These days, you don't have to be a worker in a restaurant or bar to eighty-six something—you just have to be someone with something to get rid of or discard. There are many popular but unsubstantiated theories about the origin of eighty-six. The explanation judged most probable by Merriam-Webster etymologists is that the word was created as a rhyming slang word for nix, which means "to veto" or "to reject."
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 19, 2017 is:
tatterdemalion \tatt-er-dih-MAIL-yun\ adjective
1 : ragged or disreputable in appearance
2 : being in a decayed state or condition : dilapidated
"ThreadBanger features episodes about making clothes and other D.I.Y. endeavors that will make you wish you could live life all over again and be a tatterdemalion steampunk kid from San Francisco." — Virginia Hefferman, The New York Times, 21 June 2009
"Layoffs in the refinery, paper mills and brewery that anchored the economy after its shipbuilding and merchant trading days ended have left many striking 19th century buildings of the compact, hilly downtown in a tatterdemalion state but have not torn its welcoming, small-town atmosphere." — Philip Hersh, The Chicago Tribune, 21 Nov. 2014
Did you know?
The exact origin of tatterdemalion is uncertain, but it's probably connected to either the noun tatter ("a torn scrap or shred") or the adjective tattered ("ragged" or "wearing ragged clothes"). We do know that tatterdemalion has been used in print since the 1600s. In its first documented use, it was a noun referring to a person in ragged clothing—the type of person we might also call a ragamuffin. (Ragamuffin, incidentally, predates tatterdemalion in this sense. Like tatterdemalion, it may have been formed by combining a known word, rag, with a fanciful ending.) Soon after the first appearance of tatterdemalion, it came to be used as an adjective to describe anything or anyone ragged or disreputable.
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 18, 2017 is:
grimalkin \grih-MAWL-kin\ noun
: a domestic cat; especially : an old female cat
The family grimalkin, dreaming, perhaps, of mousing days long past, twitched her tail as she dozed contentedly on the windowsill.
"The security-evading feline was caught on camera … on a confectionary shelf, back in November. Now, the grumpy grimalkin has been pictured glaring down at shoppers from above a fridge full of pizzas, garlic bread and ready meals." — Hatty Collier, News Shopper, 7 Jan. 2016
Did you know?
In the opening scene of William Shakespeare's Macbeth, one of the three witches planning to meet with Macbeth suddenly announces, "I come, Graymalkin." The witch is responding to the summons of her familiar, or guardian spirit, which is embodied in the form of a cat. Shakespeare's graymalkin literally means "gray cat." The gray is of course the color; the malkin was a nickname for Matilda or Maud that came to be used in dialect as a general name for a cat—and sometimes a hare—and for an untidy woman as well. By the 1630s, graymalkin had been altered to the modern spelling grimalkin.
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 17, 2017 is:
reciprocate \rih-SIP-ruh-kayt\ verb
1 : to give and take mutually
2 : to return in kind or degree
3 : to make a return for something done or given
4 : to move backward and forward alternately
It was kind of Jake to give us a ride to the airport, and we'd like to find a way to reciprocate the favor.
"The covenant only works if each partner, as best as possible, puts the other's needs above his or her own, with the understanding that the other will reciprocate." — David Brooks, The New York Times, 7 Mar. 2017
Did you know?
Reciprocate, retaliate, requite, and return all mean "to give back," usually in kind or in quantity. Reciprocate implies a mutual or equivalent exchange or a paying back of what one has received ("We reciprocated their hospitality by inviting them to our beach house"). Retaliate usually implies a paying back of an injury or offense in exact kind, often vengefully ("She retaliated by spreading equally nasty rumors about them"). Requite implies a paying back according to one's preference, and often not in an equivalent fashion ("He requited her love with cold indifference"). Return implies simply a paying or giving back ("returned their call" or "return good for evil").
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 16, 2017 is:
interminable \in-TER-muh-nuh-bul\ adjective
: having or seeming to have no end; especially : wearisomely protracted
Hayley didn't think she would have the patience to sit through another interminable radio pledge drive without changing the station at least once.
"Garrett Richards' first thought when he found out about his torn elbow ligament in May was to schedule Tommy John surgery as soon as possible.… Richards knew how to handle the seemingly interminable months of rehab, and he wanted to get the clock started on his return." — Jorge L. Ortiz, USA Today, 28 Feb. 2017
Did you know?
We promise not to ramble on endlessly about the origins of interminable. The word was borrowed into English in the 15th century and descends from a Latin combination of the prefix in- ("not") and the verb terminare, meaning "to terminate" or "to limit." The word describes not only something without an actual end (or no end in sight, such as "interminable oceans"), but also events, such as tedious lectures, that drag on in such a way that they give no clear indication of ever wrapping up. Other relatives of interminable in English include terminate, determine, terminal, and exterminate.
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 15, 2017 is:
pittance \PIT-unss\ noun
: a small portion, amount, or allowance; also : a meager wage or remuneration
"… chances are good that any snow that might fall in coming days could be like the pittance of flakes that fell Thursday—and then almost immediately melted." — Neil Johnson, The Janesville (Wisconsin) Gazette, 11 Mar. 2017
"It's a setup worthy of Sherlock Holmes: a museum acquires a work of art for a pittance, not quite realizing what it has on its hands, only to discover, quite casually, that the piece in question is a long-lost work by a canonical artist." — Kirkus Reviews, 24 Feb. 2017
Did you know?
It's a pity when you haven't anything but a pittance. And in fact, pity and pittance share etymological roots. The Middle English word pittance came from Anglo-French pitance, meaning "pity" or "piety." Originally, a pittance was a gift or bequest to a religious community, or a small charitable gift. Ultimately, the word comes from the Latin pietas, meaning "piety" or "compassion." Our words pity and piety come from pietas as well.
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 14, 2017 is:
magnanimous \mag-NAN-uh-mus\ adjective
1 : showing or suggesting a lofty and courageous spirit
2 : showing or suggesting nobility of feeling and generosity of mind
Rather than gloat about her victory in the race, Michelle chose to be magnanimous and congratulated her opponents on their strong showings.
"Of course, all TV shows will one day end, and cancellation is part of the business. But similar to its streaming rival Netflix, Amazon has been unusually magnanimous with renewals, granting second and even third seasons to series that haven't exactly captured the cultural conversation…." — Meredith Blake, The Los Angeles Times, 17 Dec. 2016
Did you know?
When you see anima, animus, or a similar formation in a word, it's an indicator of something alive, lively, or spirited. Something described as animated is full of life, for example, and the word animal names a living, breathing thing. The Latin word animus means "soul" or "spirit." In magnanimous, that animus is joined by Latin magnus, meaning "great." Basically meaning "greatness of spirit," magnanimity is the opposite of pettiness. A truly magnanimous person can lose without complaining and win without gloating. Angry disputes can sometimes be resolved when one side makes a magnanimous gesture toward another.
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 13, 2017 is:
napery \NAY-puh-ree\ noun
: household linen; especially : table linen
The napery was laundered and starched and folded crisply for the next day's brunch guests.
"Once upstairs, the sense of a solid, proper steakhouse, with low lighting, a busy bar, tufted chairs and banquettes, and snow-white napery on the tables, is clear and obvious." — Merrill Shindler, The Los Angeles Daily News, 28 Feb. 2017
Did you know?
Napery has been used as a fancy word for our household linens, especially those used to cover a table, since the 14th century. The word derives via Middle English from Anglo-French nape, meaning "tablecloth," and ultimately from Latin mappa, "napkin." You can see part of the word napkin in that root; another, much less obvious relative is apron, which was once spelled as napron in Middle English but gradually evolved to its current spelling by way of English speakers habitually misdividing the phrase a napron as an apron.
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 12, 2017 is:
snaffle \SNAFF-ul\ verb
: to obtain especially by devious or irregular means
A malicious code discovered in the computer system was designed to snaffle user names and passwords.
"A quick-thinking and quick-catching baseball player has avoided a potential disaster in the dugout for his team, as he snaffled a bat careering towards his team." — Wide World of Sports (www.wwos.nine.com.au), 3 Mar. 2017
Did you know?
The origins of snaffle are shrouded in mystery. What we know of its story begins in the 16th century. At that time, snaffle existed as both a noun referring to a simple bit for a horse's bridle and a verb meaning "to fit or equip with a snaffle" or "to restrain or check with or as if with a snaffle." The noun could be from an old German word for "mouth," snavel, but the connection has not been confirmed. The "obtain" meaning of the verb appeared in the early 18th century, and its origins are similarly elusive. Not so mysterious is what happened next to the verb: it developed a meaning of "to steal or rob," at least in British dialects.
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 11, 2017 is:
livelong \LIV-lawng\ adjective
: whole, entire
The farmhands worked hard all the livelong day and finally fell into their beds, exhausted, well past sundown.
"They were part of a research study that showed how standing in the classroom (and not sitting all the livelong day) can help reduce body mass index…." — Leslie Barker, The Dallas Morning News, 30 Aug. 2016
Did you know?
"I've been workin' on the railroad, all the livelong day." So goes the American folk standard, and nowadays when we encounter the word livelong, it is typically in the phrase "all the livelong day" or something similar. Although we don't see livelong much in prose anymore, poets still love the word, possibly for its two distinct, alliterative syllables. Despite the resemblance, livelong does not mean the same thing as lifelong (as in "a lifelong friend"). In fact, the words are not closely related: the live in livelong derives from lef, a Middle English word meaning "dear or beloved."
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 10, 2017 is:
widdershins \WID-er-shinz\ adverb
: in a left-handed, wrong, or contrary direction : counterclockwise
"Who could fail to be charmed by Korda's account of how he met his wife, Margaret, in Central Park, where they both rode their horses early in the morning, one going clockwise, the other widdershins, until the fateful day when they found themselves going in the same direction …?" — Maxine Kumin, The New York Times Book Review, 22 Apr. 2001
"… I know, however, that you are lying, and nothing can turn me widdershins against the power of my own will." — Elinor Wylie, Mortal Image, 1927
Did you know?
English speakers today are most likely to encounter widdershins as a synonym of counterclockwise. But in earliest known uses, found in texts from the early 1500s, widdershins was used more broadly in the sense of "in the wrong way or opposite direction." To say that one's hair "stood widdershins" was, in essence, to say that one was having a bad hair day. By the mid-1500s, English speakers had adopted widdershins to specifically describe movement opposite to the apparent clockwise direction (as seen from the northern hemisphere) of the sun traveling across the sky, which, at the time, could be considered evil or unlucky. The word originates from the Old High German widar, meaning "back" or "against," and sinnen, meaning "to travel."
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