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 » Fri Aug 13 2021 9:01am

FRIDAY, AUGUST 13, 2021 - https://www.dictionary.com/e/word-of-the-day/

ambisinister

[ am-bi-sin-uh-ster ]
adjective

clumsy or unskillful with both hands.

THE ORIGIN OF AMBISINISTER
Ambisinister, “clumsy or unskillful with both hands,” is the opposite of ambidextrous, “able to use both hands equally well.” The first element of ambisinister, ambi-, is the familiar Latin prefix ambi– “both, around,” as in ambiguous and ambivalent; the second half of the word, –sinister, comes from the Latin adjective sinister “on the left, left hand, or left side; adverse in influence or nature; unfavorably located.” Ambisinister is a relatively recent word, first recorded in 1849, more than two centuries after ambidextrous (1646).

HOW IS AMBISINISTER USED?
During our first lesson, I tried to follow him as he played […] but I could not. I feared I had simply become ambisinister until I realized that his sitar had fewer frets than mine did. He explained that his […] tradition habitually removes several frets to enhance the flow of the bent notes. RICHARD D. CONNERNEY, THE UPSIDE DOWN TREE: INDIA'S CHANGING CULTURE, 2009

Ambidextrous people can do any task equally well with either hand, but it’s exceptionally rare. Ambilevous or ambisinister are awkward with both hands. Our brains are cross-wired meaning the left hemisphere controls the right handed side of the body and vice-versa. So left handers can boast they are always in their right mind. RACHAEL BLETCHLY AND SHIVALI BEST, "LEFTY OR RIGHTY? THE SURPRISING EFFECTS OF BEING RIGHT OR LEFT-HANDED." MIRROR, AUGUST 13, 2018

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Word of the day

Post by Richard Frost » Sat Aug 14 2021 9:37am

14th August 2021 - https://www.merriam-webster.com/word-of-the-day

scuttlebutt

noun SKUTT-ul-butt

What It Means
Scuttlebutt is an informal noun that refers to rumor or gossip.

// After he retired, Bob regularly stopped by the office to catch up on the latest scuttlebutt.

Examples
"There's always a bit of scuttlebutt when a talented chef leaves a popular restaurant to pursue another opportunity." — Ligaya Figueras, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 29 Apr. 2021

Did You Know?
When office workers catch up on the latest scuttlebutt around the water cooler, they are continuing a long-standing tradition that probably also occurred on the sailing ships of yore. Back in the early 1800s, the cask containing a ship's daily supply of fresh water was called a scuttlebutt (from the verb scuttle meaning "to cut a hole through" and the noun butt, "cask"); that name was later applied to a drinking fountain on a ship or at a naval installation. In time, the term for the water source was also applied to the gossip and rumors generated around it, and the latest chatter has been called "scuttlebutt" ever since.
scuttlebutt
in British English

NOUN nautical
1. a drinking fountain
2. (formerly) a cask of drinking water aboard a ship
3. mainly US slang
rumour or gossip

Collins English Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers

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Word of the day

Post by Richard Frost » Sun Aug 15 2021 9:01am

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

saltigrade

[ sal-ti-greyd, sawl- ]
adjective

moving by leaping.

THE ORIGIN OF SALTIGRADE
Saltigrade means “moving by leaping” and refers to a family of jumping spiders. The first element, salti-, derives from Latin saltāre “to jump about; dance,” frequentative of salīre “to jump.” The second element, –grade, meaning “walking; moving,” derives from Latin gradī “to walk, step, go.” Saltigrade first appears in English in the early part of the 19th century.

HOW IS SALTIGRADE USED?
It paused momentarily for one final examination of its surroundings. It felt no signals and sensed no activity within its range of perception. It felt secure in moving. It moved its saltigrade legs slowly at first, being very alert to possible detection. […] It was fully aware of each movement of its legs. It had the flexibility to move easily over the jagged landscape, and it could balance its entire body on any leg.
GARY L. BENNETT, THE STAR SAILORS, 1980

Manic existence is at the mercy of a sequence of jumps over reality, constituting a saltigrade present marked by flitting restlessness. GUILHERME MESSAS, THE EXISTENTIAL STRUCTURE OF SUBSTANCE MISUSE: A PSYCHOPATHOLOGICAL STUDY, 2021

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Word of the day

Post by Richard Frost » Mon Aug 16 2021 8:22am

MONDAY, AUGUST 16, 2021 - https://www.dictionary.com/e/word-of-the-day/

zugzwang

[ tsook-tsvahng ]
noun

in chess, a situation in which a player is limited to moves that cost pieces or have a damaging positional effect.

THE ORIGIN OF ZUGZWANG
Zugzwang means “compulsion to move” in German, and the first element of the word is cognate to the English word tug “a forceful pull.” Zugzwang is one of several terms that we Anglophones have borrowed to describe moves, people, and actions related to chess. Also from German, we’ve adopted patzer, a casual, amateurish chess player. Meanwhile, Italian gives us fianchetto, a move that involves developing the bishop by moving a pawn out of the way, and French gives us en prise, which describes when a piece is likely to be captured. With a game as universally beloved as chess is, it’s not surprising that terms related to the game have crossed, recrossed, and criss-crossed linguistic divides.

HOW IS ZUGZWANG USED?
In chess, there’s a position called zugzwang, like being forced to hurt yourself. Being put in zugzwang means a player is obliged to move even though moving means losing a piece. If the player didn’t have to move, the situation wouldn’t be so dire. It always takes place at the endgame; it’s a position that seals the truth, which is that losing is inevitable. ZOÉ VALDÉS, THE WEEPING WOMAN, 2016

As in debates over the budget at the federal level, there is an element of what chess players call zugzwang: since any specific solution over deficit reduction is likely to be fairly unpopular, the first mover or perceived aggressor is often at a disadvantage. NATE SILVER, “DECODING THE WISCONSIN POLLS,” NEW YORK TIMES, FEBRUARY 23, 2011

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Word of the day

Post by Richard Frost » Tue Aug 17 2021 8:56am

TUESDAY, AUGUST 17, 2021 - https://www.dictionary.com/e/word-of-the-day/

minatory

[ min-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee ]
adjective

menacing; threatening.

THE ORIGIN OF MINATORY
Despite the similar sound, minatory isn’t related to the name of the Minotaur, a human-bull hybrid in Greek mythology. Though the Minotaur was certainly a minatory creature, Minotaur is a compound of Minos, a king of Crete, and the Ancient Greek word for “bull,” while minatory ultimately derives from a Latin verb meaning “to threaten” and that was used in terms related to driving cattle with threats. This same Latin verb is the ultimate source of menace “a threat” and promenade “a stroll or walk,” both derived ultimately from the “cattle driving” sense.

HOW IS MINATORY USED?
When I woke up in the sleeping balcony and looked out the small casement window beside the bed at the bare branches nodding outside in the grey morning, tapping on the walls in an indecipherable but all too obviously minatory code, … I found it impossible to imagine how, in a month or so, they’d be green again, covered in the lushness of leaves and lifted by warmer breezes. RAFI ZABOR, I, WABENZI, 2005

Since her father’s imprisonment, Minou handles the business, and she is in the shop when a mysterious envelope appears, addressed to her and bearing a terse, minatory message: “She knows that you live.”
ELIZABETH HAND, "‘BURNING CHAMBERS’ IS A SWEEPING HISTORICAL NOVEL THAT PUTS CURRENT EVENTS IN PERSPECTIVE," WASHINGTON POST, JUNE 19, 2019

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Re: Word of the day strikes back

Post by Sarah » Tue Aug 17 2021 10:13am

Word of the day from Susie Dent today:
Word of the day is ‘imprescience’ (19th century): a total lack of foresight and foreknowledge.
https://twitter.com/susie_dent/status/1 ... 97217?s=20
Thanked by: Richard Frost, Kelantan

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Re: Word of the day strikes back

Post by macliam » Tue Aug 17 2021 1:24pm

Sarah wrote:
Tue Aug 17 2021 10:13am
Word of the day from Susie Dent today:
Word of the day is ‘imprescience’ (19th century): a total lack of foresight and foreknowledge.
https://twitter.com/susie_dent/status/1 ... 97217?s=20
Hmmm..... apt with reference to the Afghan fiasco :roll:
Just because I'm paranoid, it doesn't mean they're not out to get me

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Re: Word of the day strikes back

Post by Sarah » Tue Aug 17 2021 1:45pm

Susie Dent's word of the day is nearly always topical, especially the ones I repost here! ;)

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Re: Word of the day strikes back

Post by Richard Frost » Wed Aug 18 2021 9:34am

Word of the Day : August 18, 2021 - https://www.merriam-webster.com/word-of-the-day

defenestration

noun dee-fen-uh-STRAY-shun

What It Means
Defenestration originally meant "a throwing of a person or thing out of a window." Today, it's more often used for "a usually swift dismissal or expulsion (as from a political party or office)."

// Michael's annoyance at his alarm clock's persistent drone led to its sudden defenestration from his eighth-floor bedroom.

Examples
"The drama would culminate in [Margaret Thatcher's] … defenestration…." — Jeremy Cliffe, The New Statesman, 6 Jan. 2021

Did You Know?
These days defenestration—from the Latin fenestra, meaning "window"—is often used to describe the forceful removal of someone from public office or from some other advantageous position. History's most famous defenestration, however, was one in which the tossing out the window was quite literal. On May 23, 1618, two imperial regents were found guilty of violating certain guarantees of religious freedom and were thrown out the window of Prague Castle. The men survived the 50-foot tumble into the moat, but the incident marked the beginning of the Bohemian resistance to Hapsburg rule that eventually led to the Thirty Years' War and came to be known as the Defenestration of Prague (it was the third such historical defenestration in Prague, but the first known to be referred to as such by English speakers).

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Re: Word of the day strikes back

Post by Sarah » Wed Aug 18 2021 1:16pm

Today:
Susie Dent wrote:I wish I had the words to describe the exceptional man that was Sean Lock. But today I don’t, and I think he might have liked it that way.
https://twitter.com/susie_dent/status/1 ... 67680?s=20
Thanked by: Kelantan

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