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 » Tue Apr 06 2021 9:03am

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

hoosegow

noun HOOSS-gow

Definition
US, informal + humorous : jail

Did You Know?
In Spanish, juzgado means "panel of judges, courtroom." The word is based on the Spanish past participle of juzgar, meaning "to judge," which itself was influenced by Latin judicare—a combination of jus, "right, law," and dicere,"to decide, say." When English speakers of the American West borrowed juzgado, they recorded it the way they heard it: hoosegow. They also associated the word specifically with the jail that was usually in the same building as a courthouse. Today, hoosegow has become slang for any place of confinement for lawbreakers.

Examples
"Lee Young-ae stars as a woman released from prison after serving time for a murder she didn't commit; no sooner is she out of the hoosegow than she begins her quest to hunt down the real murderers." — G. Allen Johnson, The San Francisco Chronicle, 6 Oct. 2020

"Even in beach communities, 'No shoes? No shirt? Then no service' rules are common. Many restaurants and other establishments have even stricter requirements. More basic than that, if you go out in public, you have to wear clothes. No clothes? Hello hoosegow." — Wayne Dickson, letter in The News-Journal (Daytona Beach, Florida), 17 June 2020
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Word of the day

Post by Richard Frost » Wed Apr 07 2021 9:20am

7th April - https://www.merriam-webster.com/word-of-the-day

brusque

adjective BRUSK

Definition
1 : markedly short and abrupt

2 : blunt in manner or speech often to the point of ungracious harshness

Did You Know?
We borrowed brusque from French in the 1600s. The French, in turn, had borrowed it from Italian, where it was spelled brusco and meant "tart." And the Italian term came from bruscus, the Medieval Latin name for butcher's-broom, a shrub whose bristly leaf-like twigs have long been used for making brooms. English speakers initially used brusque to refer to a tartness in wine, but the word soon came to denote a harsh and stiff manner, which is just what you might expect of a word bristling with associations to stiff, scratchy brooms.

Examples
"'Where are you getting all this?' Dinah asked, drawing startled or disapproving glances from a few who worried that she was being too brusque with the boss. 'It's only been, what, four hours?'" — Neal Stephenson, Seveneves, 2015

"Archaeologists look down on him because of his working-class background, and his brusque manner hasn't won him many friends. He doesn't argue with those he disagrees with; he just walks away." — Dan Lybarger, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 19 Feb. 2021
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Word of the day

Post by Richard Frost » Thu Apr 08 2021 9:16am

THURSDAY, APRIL 08, 2021 - https://www.dictionary.com/e/word-of-the-day/

cupidity

[ kyoo-pid-i-tee ]
noun

eager or excessive desire, especially to possess something; greed.

WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF CUPIDITY?
Cupidity “excessive desire; greed” comes from Old French cupidité, from Latin cupiditās (inflectional stem cupiditāt-) “passionate desire, yearning, longing; greed; lust,” a derivative of the adjective cupidus, which has the same meanings. Cupidus is in turn derivative of the verb cupere “to wish, wish for, desire,” which (unfortunately) has no reliable etymology. Cupidity entered English in the 15th century.

HOW IS CUPIDITY USED?
Their enemies are not man. They are intolerance, fanaticism, dictatorship, cupidity, hatred and discrimination which lie within the heart of man.
THICH NHAT HANH TO REV. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JUNE 1, 1965, IN DIALOGUE, 1965

He rushed with ravenous eagerness at every bait which was offered to his cupidity.
THOMAS BABINGTON MACAULAY, THE HISTORY OF ENGLAND FROM THE ACCESSION OF JAMES II, VOL. 5,
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Re: Word of the day strikes back

Post by Richard Frost » Fri Apr 09 2021 10:18am

April 9, 2021

vendetta
noun ven-DET-uh

Definition
1 : a feud between different clans or families : blood feud

2 : an often prolonged series of retaliatory, vengeful, or hostile acts or exchange of such acts

Did You Know?
Vendetta has been getting even in English since the 19th century, when it first was used to refer to feuds between different clans or families. It later extended in meaning to cover acts that are known to feature in feuds of all kinds. English speakers borrowed vendetta, spelling and all, from Italian, in which it means "revenge." It ultimately traces to the Latin verb vindicta, of the same meaning. That Latin word is also in the family tree of many other English terms related to getting even, including avenge, revenge, vengeance, vindicate, and vindictive.

Examples
"In the pilot episode of Superman & Lois, The CW series introduced a mysterious villain known as the Stranger. While this villain kept his identity a secret, he had a personal vendetta against Superman and planned on taking him out for good." — Ian Cardona, Comic Book Resources (CBR.com), 5 Mar. 2021

"When Taylor Swift … announced that she'd be re-recording her albums in a push for ownership over her work, the venture sounded risky. Swift cast her decision as both a personal vendetta … and a moralistic stand against the industry's treatment of artists." — Shirley Li, The Atlantic, 13 Feb. 2021
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Word of the day

Post by Richard Frost » Sat Apr 10 2021 9:56am

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

fatuous
adjective FATCH-oo-us

Definition
: complacently or inanely foolish : silly

Did You Know?
"I am two fools, I know, / For loving, and for saying so / In whining Poetry," wrote John Donne, simultaneously confessing to both infatuation and fatuousness. As any love-struck fool can attest, infatuation can make buffoons of the best of us. So it should come as no surprise that the words fatuous and infatuation derive from the same Latin root, fatuus, which means "foolish." Both terms have been part of English since the 17th century. Infatuation followed the earlier verb infatuate, a fatuus descendant that once meant "to make foolish" but that now usually means "to inspire with a foolish love or admiration."

Examples
"You would have to be an inattentive person never to have noticed the incongruity between the well-informed but fatuous opinions of your forward-thinking peers on the one hand, and the simple but wise judgments of your parents or grandparents on the other." — Barton Swaim, Commentary, November 2020

"Jules Feiffer's cartoons in the Village Voice, which started appearing in 1956, made fun of the kind of people who read the Village Voice.... It's not that people like to laugh at themselves. They like to laugh at people who are just a little more fatuous and self-absorbed than themselves." — Louis Menand, The New Yorker, 1 Feb. 2021
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Word of the day

Post by Richard Frost » Sun Apr 11 2021 9:16am

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

drub
verb DRUB

Definition
1 : to beat severely

2 : to berate critically

3 : to defeat decisively

Did You Know?
Sportswriters often use drub, but the term's history reveals that it wasn't always a sporting word. When drub was first used in English, it referred to a method of punishment that involved beating the soles of a culprit's feet with a stick or cudgel. The term was apparently brought to England in the 17th century by travelers who reported observing the punitive practice in Asia. The ultimate origin of drub is uncertain, but some etymologists have speculated that it may have evolved from the Arabic word ḍaraba, meaning "to beat."

Examples
Morale after the game was low: the hometown team had been drubbed by the worst team in the league.

"After getting drubbed by a combined 65 points, the Warriors beat two winless teams—Chicago and Detroit—and started to learn how they need to play." — Wes Goldberg, The Mercury News (San Jose, California), 1 Jan. 2021
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Word of the day

Post by Richard Frost » Mon Apr 12 2021 9:51am

Word of the Day : April 12, 2021

gallant
adjective GAL-unt

Definition
1 : showy in dress or bearing : smart

2 a : splendid, stately

b : spirited, brave

c : nobly chivalrous and often self-sacrificing

3 : courteously and elaborately attentive

Did You Know?
Gallant exists in modern English primarily as an adjective, but it entered the language first as a noun. In the 14th century, when tales of Camelot populated the mythology of English speakers, a gallant was a young man of fashion—imagine perhaps a young and smartly dressed Arthur or Lancelot. The word had been borrowed in the forms galaunt and gallaunt from Middle French, the ultimate source being Middle French galer, a verb meaning "to squander in pleasures, have a good time, enjoy oneself." Galer also bestowed upon English the adjective gallant, which joined the language in the 15th century. A verb gallant meaning "to pay court to a lady" entered the language in the late 17th century as a derivative of the English adjective, but it is rarely encountered today.

Examples
"But travel-stained though he was, he was well and even richly attired, and without being overdressed looked a gallant gentleman." — Charles Dickens, Barnaby Rudge, 1841

"A gallant collection of four seniors, one junior and one freshman combined to score 268 of the Bruins' 278.5 points in their surge to second place in the team standings." — Mike Tupa, The Bartlesville (Oklahoma) Examiner-Enterprise, 27 Feb. 2021
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Word of the day

Post by Richard Frost » Tue Apr 13 2021 9:24am

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

minatory

adjective MIN-uh-tor-ee

Definition
: having a menacing quality

Did You Know?
Knowing that minatory means "threatening," can you take a guess at a related word? If you're familiar with mythology, perhaps you guessed Minotaur, the name of the bull-headed, people-eating monster of Crete. Minotaur is a good guess, but as terrifying as the monster sounds, its name isn't related to minatory. The relative we're searching for is actually menace. Minatory and menace both come from derivatives of the Latin verb minari, which means "to threaten." Minatory was borrowed directly from Late Latin minatorius. Menace came to English via Anglo-French manace, menace, which came from Latin minac-, minax, meaning "threatening."

Examples
"Then the squirrel seemed to notice Vinnie; to turn a minatory black eye toward him. The eye extended out from its head an inch or two on a little silvery stalk and tilted this way and that." — John Shirley, Crawlers, 2003

"In 'Wonderland,' a retired ballerina named Orla Moreau (H.G. Wells-reference alert!) and her husband, a lifelong dilettante named Shaw, move their two young kids from Manhattan to the woods of upstate New York so he can pursue his new passion for painting. An isolated old house in December, some minatory trees in the yard—what could go wrong?" — Bill O'Driscoll, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 20 Aug. 2020
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Word of the day

Post by Richard Frost » Wed Apr 14 2021 10:29am

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 14, 2021 - https://www.dictionary.com/e/word-of-the-day/

foofaraw
[ foo-fuh-raw ]
noun

a great fuss or disturbance about something very insignificant.

WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF FOOFARAW?
Foofaraw, “a great fuss over something very insignificant; excessive decoration or ornamentation, as on clothing or a building,” originated on the western frontier of the U.S. in the mid-19th century. Foofaraw, spelled fofarraw, used as an adjective meaning “gaudy, tawdry” first appears in print in June 1848 in a series of articles for Blackwood’s Magazine (published in Edinburgh) by George Ruxton, an English explorer and travel writer, who wrote about the Far West. Fofarrow used as a noun meaning “gaudy apparel” appears in the same magazine by the same author two months later, in August 1848. The sense “great fuss over something insignificant” dates from the early 1930s. The many variant spellings, such as fofarraw, fofarow, foofaraw, foofoorah, and 20 others, show that foofaraw has no reliable etymology. Speculations about the etymology of foofaraw include Spanish fanfarrón, a noun and adjective meaning “braggart, boaster” (perhaps from Arabic farfār “talkative”). Foofaraw may also come from French fanfaron, a noun and adjective with the same meanings as the Spanish. The French dialect form fanfarou may also have contributed to the American word.

HOW IS FOOFARAW USED?
Last week, Swedish movie theaters created a media foofaraw when they announced that they would begin providing a rating based on the Bechdel test for the films they screen.
HOLLY L. DERR, "WHAT REALLY MAKES A FILM FEMINIST?" THE ATLANTIC, NOVEMBER 13, 2013

Pound for pound, City Lights is almost certainly the best bookstore in the United States. It’s not as sprawling as the Strand, in Manhattan, or Moe’s Books, in Berkeley. But it’s so dense with serious world literature of every stripe, and so absent trinkets and elaborate bookmarks and candles and other foofaraw, that it’s a Platonic ideal.
DWIGHT GARNER, "LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI'S ENDURING SAN FRANCISCO," NEW YORK TIMES, MARCH 11, 2019
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Word of the day

Post by Richard Frost » Thu Apr 15 2021 9:00am

THURSDAY, APRIL 15, 2021 - https://www.dictionary.com/e/word-of-the-day/

hydra

[ hahy-druh ]
noun

a persistent or many-sided problem that presents new obstacles as soon as one aspect is solved.

WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF HYDRA?
Geoffrey Chaucer (ca. 1340-1400) was the first English writer to use ydre, the nine-headed serpent. Middle French ydre derives from Latin hydra, itself a borrowing of Greek hýdra “water-serpent.” Hýdra is closely related to Greek hýdōr “water,” and both words come from the Proto-Indo-European root wed-, wod-, ud– “wet, water.” This same root is the source of wet, water, and wash in Germanic (English); of voda “water” and vodka “vodka” in Slavic (Czech), of Hittite wātar “water.” Ud– is the variant of the root for both Greek hýdōr and Old Irish uisce “water” (from unattested ud-skio-) and the immediate source of English whisky/whiskey.

HOW IS HYDRA USED?
At every turn, Lutie confronts that many-headed hydra of racism, sexism and classism.
TAYARI JONES, "IN PRAISE OF ANN PETRY," NEW YORK TIMES, NOVEMBER 10, 2018

Partially or fully wiping out federal student loan debt would be a godsend to many Americans but not be enough to slay the fund-eating dragon that has become a many-headed hydra.
ELIZABETH TANDY SHERMER, "EVEN FORGIVING STUDENT LOANS WON'T SOLVE THE HIGHER EDUCATION FUNDING CRISIS," WASHINGTON POST, JANUARY 22, 2021
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