Word of The Day for Thursday, March 31, 2011


qua•qua•ver•sal (kwey-kwuh-VUR-suhl)  adj

sloping downward from the center in all directions,  like a dome

quaquaversally adverb

1720–30; from Latin quaqua "in every direction" + versus "towards" literally, "wheresoever turned, turned everywhere" + -al

Related Words: versus, anniversary, universe, introvert, extroversion, versatile, revert, tergiversation, transverse, avert, obverse, pervert, invert, subvert, divert, controversy, convert, malversation, adverse, conversation, universal

Sentence Examples:
• You just got this quaquaversal acreage ranging out everywhere. Dog don't like to squat on such a terrain. -Work shirts for madmen, George Singleton

• It has been shown that the dips observed in at least three localities are quaquaversal and the expression of dome structure. Nowhere in the area does the strike and dip of the beds conform to an anticlinal or synclinal structure. The dips seem everywhere to be quaquaversal, and it is believed that all of the tilted Niagara beds of northern Indiana represent small domes similar to those at Huntington and Wabash. -Indiana. Dept. of Geology and Natural Resources, 1904

• Where such a quaquaversal structure stands alone it is simply called a dome. A knowledge of these domes is essential to intelligent prospecting as they make oil territory "spotted." -Practical oil geology, Dorsey Hager

Sources: Dictionary.com

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

Word of The Day for Wednesday, March 30, 2011


re•cre•ant (REK-ree-uhnt)

1. cowardly or craven
2. unfaithful, disloyal, or traitorous
3. a coward
4. an apostate, traitor, or renegade

recreance, recreancy noun;  recreantly adverb

 c.1300 (adj.)  from O.Fr. recreant "yielding, giving," prp. of recroire "to yield in a trial by combat, surrender allegiance," perhaps on notion of "take back one's pledge, yield one's cause," from re- "again, back"  + croire "entrust, believe," from L. credere "to believe," perhaps from PIE compound *kerd-dhe- "to believe," lit. "to put one's heart"   (Meaning "unfaithful to duty" is from 1640s. Noun sense of "one who yields in combat, coward, faint-hearted person" is first recorded c.1400.)

Synonyms: cowardly, afraid, apostate, cowering, craven, defecting, disloyal, faithless, fearful, frightened, gutless, perfidious, scared, timid, timorous, traitorous, unfaithful, unfaithful, pusillanimous
Related Words: credulous, credible, credence, miscreant, credo, credit

Sentence Examples:
• I took heart after having given some thought to my misfortunes and, artfully concealing the marks of the blows for fear that Eumolpus would make merry over my mishaps or, worse yet, that Giton might be saddened by my disgrace, I did the only thing I could do to save my self-respect, I pretended that I was sick and went to bed.  There, I turned the full fury of my resentment against that recreant which had been the sole cause of all the evil accidents which had befallen me. -The Satyricon, Petronius Arbiter

• "John of Hordle," he thundered, "you have shown yourself during the two months of your novitiate to be a recreant monk, and one who is unworthy to wear the white garb which is the outer symbol of the spotless spirit." -The White Company, Arthur Conan Doyle

• "Oh, my dear Maude," said Cecilia, "pray let him do what he pleases with himself in these the last days of his liberty. When he has got a wife he must attend to her,--more or less. Now he is as free as air. Pray let him do as he pleases, and for heaven's sake do not bother him!" Maude who had her own lover, and was perfectly satisfied with him though she had been engaged to him for nearly twelve months, knew that things were not going well, and was unhappy. But at the moment she said nothing further.
"Where is this recreant knight?" said Francesca.
-Kept in the Dark, by Anthony Trollope

Sources: Dictionary.com, Online Etymology

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

Word of The Day for Tuesday, March 29, 2011


im•pu•i•sance (im-PYOO-uh-suhns, im-pyoo-IS-uhns, im-PWIS-uhns)  n

lack of power or effectiveness; weakness; impotence

impuissant adjective

15c; from Middle English impuissaunce, from Old French impuissance : in- "not" + puissance "power"

Synonyms: helpless, impotent, incapable, incapacitated, incompetent, ineffectual, inefficacious, inoperative, powerless, weak, flaccid, forceless, limp, torpid

Sentence Examples:
• He could have no hope of making his position clear to the constituency to which he was responsible. Debarred on the one side from taking an active part in the administration of state affairs, and bitterly arraigned on the other on the grounds of inefficiency, laxity, and indifference to duty, the second month of office found John Barclay in a fair way to be ground to powder between the millstones of impuissance and hostile criticism. -The Lieutenant-Governor, by Guy Wetmore Carryl

• He is my own handiwork. I have created him. I have fashioned his outlines, have wound up the mechanism that moves him to compose. Did you ever read that terrifying thought of Yeats, the Irish poet? I've forgotten the story, but remember the idea: 'The beautiful arts were sent into the world to overthrow nations, and, finally, life itself, sowing everywhere unlimited desires, like torches thrown into a burning city.' There--'like torches thrown into a burning city!' Richard Van Kuyp is one of my burning torches. In the spectacle of his impuissance I find relief from my own suffering. -Visionaries, by James Huneker

• It may seem paradoxical that in an era where engineering is an everyday facet of life, where we seek and sometimes succeed in controlling one dimension of life after another, we should feel a sense of impuissance, but this is indeed the case. -Why literature matters in the 21st century, Mark William Roche

Sources: Free Dictionary

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

Word of The Day for Monday, March 28, 2011


dif•fi•dent (DIF-i-duhnt)  adj

1. lacking confidence in one's self; distrustful of one's own powers; not self-reliant; timid; modest; bashful
2. characterized by modest reserve
3. (archaic)  lacking confidence in others; distrustful

diffidence noun;  diffidently adverb

mid-15c., from L. diffidentem (nom. diffidens), prp. of diffidere "to mistrust, lack confidence," from dis- "away" + fidere "to trust"

Synonyms: hesitant, unconfident, bashful, chary, constrained, demure, distrustful, flinching, meek, mousy, reluctant, reserved, retiring, self-conscious, self-effacing, sheepish, shrinking, shy, suspicious, timid, timorous, unassertive, unassuming, unassured, unobtrusive, unpoised, unsure, withdrawn
Related Words: fiduciary, confidence, faith

Sentence Examples:
• About this time there arrived in Virginia a dissolute stranger with a literary turn of mind—rather seedy he was, but very quiet and unassuming; almost diffident, indeed. He was so gentle, and his manners were so pleasing and kindly, whether he was sober or intoxicated, that he made friends of all who came in contact with him.  -Roughing It, Mark Twain

• Though but a retired student, and teacher of the canon law, a humble-minded man of letters, and a diffident imperial Counsellor, yet is he to be numbered among the greatest Evangelists and Reformers of mediæval Europe whose trumpet-toned tongue penetrated into regions where the names of Luther or Erasmus were but an empty sound, if even that. -The Ship of Fools, Sebastian Brandt

• It was probably in consequence of this feeling that only one or two—the boldest of the bold of this dashing fraternity—had, so far, mustered up the courage to approach the young lady with a distinct proposal of marriage; and these, it is hardly necessary to say, had been firmly, but as pleasantly as possible, sent to the right-about. This class of lovers gave Lucy no trouble whatever; bold as they might be in the pursuit of their lawless avocation, they were diffident to the verge of absurdity in the presence of beauty, if associated with dignity and refinement; they were painfully conscious of their uncouth bearing and manners; and Lucy had little difficulty in keeping them at a proper distance. -The Voyage of the Aurora, Harry Collingwood

Sources: Wordnik, Online Etymology, Dictionary.com

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

Word of The Day for Sunday, March 27, 2011


war•i•son (WAR-uh-suhn)  n

1. reward; guerdon; requital
2. (erroneously) a war cry played to order the soldiers to attack, normally played on a bugle
3. preparation; protection; provision; supply
4. healing

1805;  from Anglo-French warison  "defense, possessions", Old French garison; in the sense of a bugle call to assault, Walter Scott's misinterpretation of now obsolete waryson  "reward, wealth, possessions"

Sentence Examples:
•    Wherefore shoot, archers, for my sake,
     And let sharp arrows flee;
     Minstrels, play up for your warison,
     And well quit it shall be.
-The Book of Old English Ballads, George Wharton Edwards

• He made a cry throughout all the town,
    Whether he be yeoman or knave,
  That could bring him Robin Hood,
    His warison he should have.
-Ballads of Robin Hood and other Outlaws, Frank Sidgwick

•    Having wound up with this sublime comparison,
       Methinks we may proceed upon our narrative,
     And, as my friend Scott says, 'I sound my warison;'
       Scott, the superlative of my comparative—
     Scott, who can paint your Christian knight or Saracen,
       Serf, lord, man, with such skill as none would share it, if
     There had not been one Shakspeare and Voltaire,
     Of one or both of whom he seems the heir.
-Don Juan, by Lord Byron

Sources: Wordnik, Dictionary.com

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

Word of The Day for Saturday, March 26, 2011


yash•mak (yahsh-MAHK, YASH-mak)  n
also yashmac or yasmak

a veil worn by Muslim women that is wrapped around the upper and lower parts of the face so that only the eyes remain exposed to public view

1844; Turkish yaşmak

Sentence Examples:
• The girl wore absolutely nothing except a Yashmak and a zone of blue jewels across her breasts and hips. -The Moonlit Way, by Robert W. Chambers

• But he is the writer society delights in, to show what it is composed of. A man brazen enough to declare that he could hold us in suspense about the adventures of a broomstick, with the aid of a yashmak and an ankle, may know the world; you had better not know him—that is my remark; and do not trust him. -The Amazing Marriage, Complete, by George Meredith

• Most of these qualities, I am aware, are found in many another pair of lambent, dreamy eyes half-hidden by the soft folds of a yashmak--eyes which these houris often flash on some poor devil of a giaour, knowing how safe they are and how slim his chance for further acquaintance. -The Veiled Lady, by F. Hopkinson Smith

Sources: Merriam-Webster

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

Word of The Day for Friday, March 25, 2011


te•stud•in•ate (te-STOOD-n-it, -eyt) 

1. of, like or relating to a tortoise or turtle
2. formed like the carapace of a tortoise; arched; vaulted

3. a turtle
4. any member of the order Testudines, comprising turtles, tortoises, and terrapins

1720–30; from Latin testudinatus “arched, vaulted”, from testudo “tortoise” from testa "shell" + -atus

Synonyms: chelonian, testudinal, testudinarious
Related Words: testudinal, testudinarious, turtle, tortoise

Sentence Examples:
• But enough, and, for the reader who is not zoologically disposed, more than enough. He has been led, if he has condescended to follow, from the land to the marsh, from the marsh to the lake, stream, and river, the residences of the various modifications of testudinate life. A short repose should be placed at his disposal, before, in the course of our narrative, he follows these great rivers of the old and new world, in which the fresh water tortoises disport themselves, into that ocean in which all rivers, great and small, are lost. -The Living age, Eliakim Littell, Robert S. Littell

• We have been taught, and truly with respect to the higher grade of animals, that in the blood is the life. But in the case of the testudinate which is to furnish forth the soup, the calipee, the steaks, the currie, for which and upon which aldermen live, any one who wishes to descend into the abysses from which that ambrosial feast is furnished forth, may find a headless trunk suspended neck downward that it may bleed more freely, and the head placed bill uppermost on a cold plate for the resting place of the severed neck.  -Eclectic magazine, John Holmes Agnew, Walter Hilliard Bidwell

•    No little testudinate triflers are these,
    Unmindful of doom unforbodingly playing.
  The cook's charming manners are likely to please,
  But the flash of that knife Snapping Turtles might freeze,
        'Tis so strangely suggestive of--slaying.
-Punch, or the London Charivari

Sources: Dictionary.com, Free Dictionary, Wiktionary

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

Word of The Day for Thursday, March 24, 2011


mal•ap•ro•pos (mal-ap-ruh-POH)

1. inappropriate; out of place; inopportune; untimely

2. inappropriately; inopportunely

1668; from Fr. mal à propos "inopportunely, inappropriately," lit. "badly for the purpose," from mal "evil, ill, wrong, wrongly," from L. male (adv.) "badly," or malus (adj.) "bad, evil" + proposer "propose" from pro- "forth" + poser "put, place"

Synonyms: inappropriate, inapposite, inapt, infelicitous, inopportune, tactless, uncalled for, unseemly, unsuitable, untimely
Related Words: malapropism, propose

Sentence Examples:
• It was simply this--a most unfortunate propensity to talk of the wrong place, person, or time, in any society he found himself; and this taste for the mal apropos, extended so far, that no one ever ventured into company with him as his friend, without trembling for the result; but even this, I believe his only fault, resulted from the natural goodness of his character and intentions; for, believing as he did, in his honest simplicity, that the arbitrary distinctions of class and rank were held as cheaply by others as himself, he felt small scruple at recounting to a duchess a scene in a cabaret, and with as little hesitation would he, if asked, have sung the "Cruiskeen lawn," or the "Jug of Punch," after Lablanche had finished the "Al Idea," from Figaro. -The Confessions of Harry Lorrequer, Charles James Lever

• CHARLOTTE: Mr. Dimple, will you favour us with an account of the public entertainments?
DIMPLE: Why, really, Miss Manly, you could not have asked me a question more mal-apropos.  For my part, I must confess that, to a man who has travelled, there is nothing that is worthy the name of amusement to be found in this city.
-The Contrast, Royall Tyler

• On Vivid's return home, his gratification was soon diminished by the recollections of "existing circumstances," and these caused him to sink into a gloomy and desponding state; when Sam Alltact, rather malapropos, entered with a black-edged card, inviting his master to the funeral of a deceased acquaintance, an eminent young artist, named Gilmaurs, who, never having been an R.A., but simply an engraver of extraordinary genius, was not to be buried under the dome of St. Paul's, but in a village churchyard.  -The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction

Sources: Sources

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

Word of The Day for Wednesday, March 23, 2011


jounce (jouns)

to move or cause to move with bumps and jolts; bounce
a rough, jolting movement; a jolt

mid-15c., of unknown origin, perhaps a blend of jump and bounce

Synonyms: bounce, bump, jar, jolt, jolting

Sentence Examples:
• A jounce sent them flying towards each other; they collided and recoiled, regarding one another in breathless indignation. -A Young Man in a Hurry, Robert W. Chambers

• Steadying himself, he trained his guns on the leading plane and fired. His tracers streaked out and seemed to be cutting the Zero's left wing in two, but the Jap craft continued to come boiling in at the big four-engined bomber. Lumps of lead began to bounce and jounce around in Dawson's stomach. -Guadalcanal, by Robert Sydney Bowen

• I might have if I hadn't tumbled into the bushes, Tom. Gracious, how the buckboard did jounce up and down! -The Rover Boys on the Farm, Arthur M. Winfield

Sources: Free Dictionary, Online Etymology

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

Word of The Day for Tuesday, March 22, 2011


ru•bi•cund (ROO-bi-kuhnd)  adj

1. red or reddish; ruddy
2. inclined to a healthy rosiness; ruddy complexion

rubicundity noun

1495–1505; from Fr. rubicond or directly from L. rubicundus, from rubere "to be red"

Synonyms: florid, healthy, red, reddish, rosy, rubescent, ruddy
Related Words: rubescent

Sentence Examples:
• The next victim was a big, rubicund, healthy-looking man, clean shaved, with light-blue eyes that were slightly magnified by the glasses of his gold-mounted spectacles. -The Wonder, J. D. Beresford

• One of the civilians is a very small man with a black beard, the only thing notable about him being his nose, which, to judge from its size, ought not to belong to him. The other is a rubicund youth, who seems to have arrived but recently in the country. -The Social Cancer, José  Rizal

• The old man rose with hospitable haste, and opening the door, was heard condoling with the new arrival.  The new arrival also condoled with himself, so that Mrs. White said, "Tut, tut!"  and coughed gently as her husband entered the room, followed by a tall, burly man, beady of eye and rubicund of visage. -The Monkey's Paw, W.W. Jacobs

Sources: Dictionary.com, Free Dictionary, Online Etymology

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

Word of The Day for Monday, March 21, 2011


ster•nu•ta•tor•y (ster-NOO-tuh-tohr-ee)

causing or having the effect of sneezing
an agent or substance that causes sneezing
sternutation noun; sternutative adjective

1610–20;  from Late Latin sternutatorius,  equivalent to sternutare "to sneeze", frequentative of sternuere "to sneeze" + -torius -tory

Sentence Examples:
• "Good snuff is not to be sneezed at," said Major Favraud. "None offered to young ladies, it seems," taking a huge pinch, and thrusting it bravely up his nostrils, as one takes a spoonful of unpleasant medicine. Then contradicting his own assertion immediately afterward, he succeeded in expelling most of it in a series of violent sternutatory spasms, which left him breathless, red-faced, and watery-eyed, with a handkerchief much begrimed.  -Sea and Shore, Mrs. Catharine A. Warfield

• The odour of the fresh plant is rather unpleasant, and the taste acrid, herbaceous, and astringent; and the powdered leaves act as a strong sternutatory. -The Botanist's Companion, William Salisbury

• Columbus first beheld smokers in the Antilles. Pizarro found chewers in Peru, but it was in the country discovered by Cabral that the great sternutatory was originally found. Brazilian Indians were the Fathers of snuff, and its best fabricators. -Tobacco; Its History, Varieties, Culture, Manufacture and Commerce, E. R. Billings

Sources: Free Dictionary, Dictionary.com

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

Word of The Day for Sunday, March 20, 2011


wam•ble (WOM-buhl) 

verb intr.
1. to move unsteadily; to totter, waver, roll, etc
2. to feel nausea
3. (of a stomach) To rumble or growl

1. an unsteady motion
2. a feeling of nausea

14c; from Middle English wamelen "to feel nausea",  from Indo-European root wem- "to vomit"

Related Words: vomit, emetic

Sentence Examples:
• I fancy the waves begin to work, for my belly I'm sure begins to wamble. -Blackwood's magazine,1819

• I'll have to take you there. It's a cheery sensation, you know, to find a man who has some imagination, but who has been unspoiled by Interesting People, and take him to hear them wamble. They sit around and growl and rush the growler—I hope you know growler-rushing— and rejoice that they're free spirits. Being Free, of course, they're not allowed to go and play with nice people, for when a person is Free, you know, he is never free to be anything but Free. That may seem confusing, but they understand it at Olympia's. -Our Mr. Wrenn, Sinclair Lewis

• When the Galatian heard these things, and perceived the poison to wamble up and down and indispose his body, he ascended his chariot, hoping to be relieved by the jogging and shaking. -Plutarch's lives

Sources: Wordsmith

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

Word of The Day for Saturday, March 19, 2011


u•kase (yoo-KAYS, -KAYZ; YOO-kays, -kayz)  n

1. an authoritative order or decree; an edict
2. a proclamation of a czar having the force of law in imperial Russia


1729; from Russian ukaz "edict," from ukazat' "to show, decree," from Old Church Slavic ukazati, from u-, intens. prefix, + kazati "to show, order," which is related to the first element of Casimir

Synonyms: command, commandment, declaration, decretum, dictum, edict, order, ordinance, precept, prescript, proclamation, promulgation, ruling, diktat

Sentence Examples:
• That official was charged with the ukase depriving Feodor of his rank, and appointing his brother Zeno to the post of frigate-captain in his place. The crew were looking on in gloomy silence, ready for any turn which events might take. "Throw both ukase and messenger into the sea!" shouted Feodor.  -The Tower of Dago, Mor Jokai

• A Russian told me that the Empress Elizabeth had done the journey in fifty-two hours. "You mean that she issued a ukase to the effect that she had done it," said a Russian of the old school; "and if she had liked she could have travelled more quickly still; it was only a question of the wording of the ukase."  -Russia and Poland, Jacques Casanova

• During the reign of Louis XIII this great and fatal truth had not yet been impressed upon the French nation, for the popular voice was stifled beneath the ukase of despotism; and even the tiers-état--important as the loyalty of that portion of a kingdom must ever be to its rulers--were treated with disdain and contumely; but beneath all the workings of his government (or rather the government of his minister, for the son of Marie de Medicis was a monarch only in name), may be traced the undercurrent of popular indignation and discontent, which, gradually swelling and rising during the two succeeding reigns, finally overthrew with its giant waves the last frail barrier which still upreared itself before a time-honoured throne. -The Life of Marie de Medicis, Julia Pardoe

Why This Word:

A ukase, in Imperial Russia, was a proclamation of the tsar, government, or a religious leader (patriarch) that had the force of law. Adequate translations are "edict" or "decree" of Roman law.  After the Russian Revolution, a government proclamation of wide meaning was called a "decree"; more specific proclamations were called ukaz. Both terms are usually translated as "decree". According to the Russian Federation's 1993 constitution, a ukaz is a Presidential decree. Such ukazes have the power of laws, but may not alter the regulations of existing laws, and may be superseded by laws passed by the Federal Assembly.

Sources: Free Dictionary, Online Etymology, Wikipedia

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

Word of The Day for Friday, March 18, 2011


hyp•na•gog•ic (hip-nuh-GOJ-ik)  adj

of, relating to, or occurring in the period of drowsiness immediately preceding or following sleep
1886; from Fr. hypnagogique, from Gk. hypnos “sleep”, from PIE *swep-no, from base *swep- "sleep" + agogos “leading”

Synonyms: hypnotic, somniferous, somnolent, soporiferous, soporific, somnial
Related Words: pedagogue, demagogue, hypnosis

Sentence Examples:
• Wilson's dream world is informed by the perspective of the hypnagogic state: the sleep of reason may produce monsters, as Goya thought, but it can also call forth visions. -Time 1984

• We will first consider a condition of muscular activity which is peculiar to the hypnagogic state. It is well known that even on being suddenly awakened from a deep sleep, full consciousness is not immediately regained. Complete consciousness is reached only after passing through this intermediary hypnagogic state. -Abnormal psychology, Isador Henry Coriat

• "Often," she says, "when I am awake I pass into a state resembling sleep, in which I lose control of my imagination, but keep my powers of perception and reasoning. I dream before I go to sleep, and the way I have proved this is by opening my eyes, looking around the room, turning over in bed, closing my eyes again, and taking up the dream where I left off. Very often I am able to finish a dream in this way when I have been waked in the middle of it." Waking dreams of this sort, like hypnagogic images, indicate the unity which underlies all the distinctions of waking and dreaming life. -The American journal of psychology, 1896

Sources:Merriam-Webster, Online Etymology

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

Word of The Day for Thursday, March 17, 2011


tim•or•ous (TIM-er-uhs)  adj

1. full of fear; fearful
2. subject to fear
3. characterized by or indicating fear
(timid  is used of a person's character or disposition; timorous  is used of a person's action or behavior)

timorousness noun;  timorously adverb

mid-15c; from O.Fr. temeros (14c.), from M.L. timorosus "fearful," from L;. timor "fear," from timere "to fear"

Synonyms: afraid, apprehensive, faint, fainthearted, fearful, hesitant, meek, shrinking, shuddering, shy, tentative, timid, tremulous, unassertive
Related Words: timid

Sentence Examples:
• You shun me, Chloe, like a fawn that is seeking its timorous mother in the pathless mountains, not without a vain dread of the breezes and the thickets: for she trembles both in her heart and knees, whether the arrival of the spring has terrified by its rustling leaves, or the green lizards have stirred the bush. But I do not follow you, like a savage tigress, or a Gaetulian lion, to tear you to pieces. Therefore, quit your mother, now that you are mature for a husband. -The Works of Horace

• Having thus acknowledged what I owe those who have aided and approved me, I turn to another class; a small one, so far as I know, but not, therefore, to be overlooked.  I mean the timorous or carping few who doubt the tendency of such books as “Jane Eyre:” in whose eyes whatever is unusual is wrong; whose ears detect in each protest against bigotry—that parent of crime—an insult to piety, that regent of God on earth.  I would suggest to such doubters certain obvious distinctions; I would remind them of certain simple truths. -Jane Eyre (Preface), Charlotte Bronte

• For the uneasy reader, for the timorous citizen, for all those for whom an "i" can never be too plainly dotted in definition, we repeat as an axiom: "Bohemia is a stage in artistic life; it is the preface to the Academy, the Hôtel Dieu, or the Morgue." -Bohemians of the Latin Quarter, Henry Murger

Sources: Dictionary.com, Online Etymology

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

Word of The Day for Wednesday, March 16, 2011


ob•ro•gate (OB-ruh-geyt)  v

to annul indirectly by enacting a new and contrary law, instead of by expressly abrogating or repealing the old one

obrogated past participle; obrogated past tense; obrogating present participle; obrogates 3rd person singular present; obrogation noun

from Latin obrogatus, p. p. of obrogare "to obrogate"

Synonyms: abolish, annul, cancel, dissolve, invalidate, negate, nix, nullify, undo, vacate, vitiate, void

Sentence Examples:
• In the new Code of Canon Law there are many instances of revocation or obrogation of older legislation, as in the matter of censures and matrimonial impediments.  -Moral Theology, John A. McHugh and Charles J. Callan

• If these considerations justify the view that Gracchus contemplated the cognizance of the plebs, the clause of the Twelve Tables which claimed capital causes for the centuries was obrogated so far as this particular jurisdiction was concerned. But the conservative lawyers whom Cicero quotes seem not to have admitted the obrogation, and still appeal to the clause of the Tables as stating a fundamental principle of the constitution.  -The legal procedure of Cicero's time, Abel Hendy Jones Greenidge

• Israel fears the obrogation of its peace treaty with Egypt. That is understandable - but this is a popular uprising and the people are making legitimate demands - and guess what.....Israel is NOT the reason why the people protest.

Sources: Free Dictionary, Dictionary.com

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

Word of The Day for Tuesday, March 15, 2011


a•sper•i•ty (uh-SPER-i-tee)  n

1. moral roughness; roughness of tone, temper or manner; severity;  harshness 
2. sharpness; disagreeableness; difficulty
3. roughness of surface; unevenness
4. roughness or harshness of sound; that quality which grates upon the ear; raucity
5. roughness to the taste; sourness; tartness

early 13c., asprete "harshness of feelings," a figurative use, from O.Fr. asperete (12c., Mod.Fr. âpreté), from L. asperitatem (nom. asperitas) "roughness," from asper "rough, harsh," of unknown origin; in Latin used also of sour wine, bad weather, and hard times

Synonyms: harshness, acerbity, acrimony, bitterness, churlishness, crabbiness, crossness, difficulty, disagreeableness, irascibility, irritability, meanness, roughness, sharpness, sourness, tartness, astringency
Related Words: exasperate, asperate

Sentence Examples:
• A day or two after we reached St. Louis, I was walking along Fourth Street when a grizzly-headed man gave a sort of start as he passed me, then stopped, came back, inspected me narrowly, with a clouding brow, and finally said with deep asperity— 'Look here, HAVE YOU GOT THAT DRINK YET?' -Life on the Mississippi, Mark Twain

• "The train of reasoning is not very obscure, Watson," said Holmes with a mischievous twinkle. "It belongs to the same elementary class of deduction which I should illustrate if I were to ask you who shared your cab in your drive this morning."
"I don't admit that a fresh illustration is an explanation," said I with some asperity.
-The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax, Arthur Conan Doyle

• It was before the Gaelic movement, and before we had such things as “intellectuals” and the “economic man,” or even the Irish Literary Theatre. Leamy’s gentle and loyal soul could have taken no influence from the asperity of some of the intervening ferment, “Parliamentarian” though he was.  -Irish Fairy Tales, Edmond Leamy

Sources: HyperDictionary, Online Etymology

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

Word of The Day for Monday, March 14, 2011


ju•gu•late (JOO-gyuh-leyt, JUHG-yuh-)  v

1. to check or suppress (often said of disease) by extreme measures
2. to cut the throat of; kill
jugulated past participle; jugulated past tense; jugulating present participle; jugulates 3rd person singular present;  jugulation noun

1615–25;  from Latin jugulatus, past participle of jugulare  "to cut the throat of", from jugul "throat" , from jug "yoke"

Related Words: jugular

Sentence Examples:
• However, occasional passages of guerrillas in the boundary areas of the country where it abuts on Laos and Viet-Nam are, of course, impossible to jugulate entirely. Not that total jugulation of the South Vietnamese border area would by now guarantee eventual victory any more than the successful closing of the Algero-Tunisian border brought the French victory in the Alergian war. -Street without joy, Bernard B. Fall

• So convinced am I that the salts and acid solution used boldly will jugulate most cases of dysentery, that hereafter (unless contra-indicated) I shall try to jugulate the disease first. -The Medical era: a practical medical magazine, Solomon Claiborne Martin

• To comprehend fully the idea of jugulation we must be vitalists, for the organic physicians fail more or less to jugulate a disease outside of intermittent fever, and even this will return under their treatment, whether they attend to the miaspis. the microbes, or the toxic condition of the blood. -American medical journal, 1891

Sources: Dictionary.com

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

Word of The Day for Sunday, March 13, 2011


garde•robe (GAHRD-rohb)  n

1. a wardrobe or its contents
2. a private room, as a bedroom
3. (in medieval architecture) a latrine or privy

1400–50; from Middle English, from Old French, from garder "to watch, guard" + robe "clothing"

Synonyms: wardrobe
Related Words: guard, robe, regard, wardrobe

Sentence Examples:
• He walked slowly to the end of the passage scrutinising every recess and closet door, every garde-robe and wall press from which it was possible that the beast he had seen might have emerged.  -The Black Douglas, S. R. Crockett

• It is lighted by a small slit and has a wooden floor with a trap in it, from which a ladder once descended to the head of the staircase; and at the west side, in the parapet of the aisle, there is a garderobe seat.  -Bell's Cathedrals, Cecil Walter Charles Hallett

• Medieval England wins the gross-out award for its invention of the castle garderobe — a protruding room with a tiny opening out of which royalty would do their business. The garderobe was usually suspended over a moat that collected all manner of human discards, making for a particularly uninviting hurdle for an invading army. -A Brief History of Toilets, Time, 2009

Why This Word:

The term garderobe describes a place where clothes are stored (wardrobe is a related term), but may also be used for places where other items are stored, or euphemistically for historical toilets.

In European public places, a garderobe denotes the cloakroom, but it may also be an alcove or an armoire. In Danish, Dutch, German, and Spanish garderobe can mean a cloakroom. In Latvian it means checkroom.

In its euphemistic meanings, a garderobe is either a close stool or a medieval or Renaissance lavatory or toilet. In a medieval castle or other building, a garderobe usually was a simple hole discharging to the outside. Such toilets were often placed inside a small chamber, leading by association to the use of the term garderobe to describe them. Depending on the structure of the building, garderobes could lead to cess pits or moats. Many can still be seen in Norman and medieval castles and fortifications. They became obsolete with the introduction of indoor plumbing.

Sources: Dictionary.com

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

Word of The Day for Saturday, March 12, 2011


nid•i•fy (NID-uh-fahy)  v

to build a nest

nidified past tense; nidifying present participle; nidification noun; nidificate verb

1658; from Latin nidificare "to build a nest", from nidus "nest"

Related Words: nest

Sentence Examples:
• And not only will the Osmiae return, through the always open windows, but they will also nidify on the natal spot, if they find something like the necessary conditions. -The Wonders of Instinct, J. H. Fabre

• Some say, from personal observation, that they nidify upon the grain exclusively—others, with equal confidence and as I believe with more propriety, say exclusively upon the leaf and stalk; the parent fly has necessarily been mistaken. Some affirm that they finish their nidification by the 20th of September: Dr. Chapman is of this opinion. -The American journal of science and arts, 1832

• Perhaps no other bird in the world has chosen so many varied places to nidify. From our own observation we have seen the sparrow breeding in the same tree as the rook, and occasionally even intruding on the domain of the heron, taking up its quarters some twenty yards below, and making amends, by its noisy bustle, for the gravity of its more silent neighbour. -The natural history of the birds of Ireland, indigenous and migratory, John J. Watters

Sources: Wordnik, Merriam-Webster

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

Word of The Day for Friday, March 11, 2011


By•ron•ic (bahy-RON-ik)  adj

1. of or relating to George Gordon, 6th Baron Byron, the British Romantic poet
2. having characteristics of Byron, such as being melancholic, passionate,  melodramatic, dark, romantically brooding or having disregard for societal norms

Byronism noun; Byronically adverb

1815–25;  Byron  + -ic; after poet Lord Byron (1788-1824), who displayed such characteristics, as did his poetry, i.e. a flawed character marked by great passion who exhibits disrespect for social institutions and is self-destructive.

Sentence Examples:
• With thoughtful gray eyes set deep under a jut of brows and a nose as finely cut as a woman's, it was of a type that, in more sophisticated localities, men would have said had risen to meet the Byronic ideal of which the world was just then enamored. But there was nothing Byronic or self-conscious about David Crystal. He had been born and bred in what was then the Far West, and that he should read poetry and regard life as an undertaking that a man must face with all honor and resoluteness was not so surprising for the time and place.  -The Emigrant Trail, Geraldine Bonner

• There are practical difficulties also in the way of him who would play the Byronic young gentleman. He must be supernaturally wicked--or rather must have been; only, alas! in the unliterary grammar of life, where the future tense stands first, and the past is formed, not from the indefinite, but from the present indicative, "to have been" is "to be"; and to be wicked on a small income is impossible. -The Second Thoughts of An Idle Fellow, Jerome K. Jerome

• It was a glorious sight, yet I know not that I felt more on seeing the bird in all its natural freedom and royalty, than when, imprisoned and insulted, he had filled my early thoughts with the Byronic "silent rages" of misanthropy. -Summer on the Lakes, S.M. Fuller

Sources: Free Dictionary, Wordsmith

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

Word of The Day for Thursday, March 10, 2011


fus•cous (FUHS-kuhs)  adj

of a brownish-gray color; dark or dusky
1662; from Latin fuscus "dark, swarthy"

Related Words: obfuscate

Sentence Examples:
• Yet we were still ten versts from the next village, and in the meanwhile the large purple cloudbank--arisen from no one knows where--was advancing steadily towards us. The sun, not yet obscured, was picking out its fuscous shape with dazzling light, and marking its front with grey stripes running right down to the horizon. -Boyhood, Leo Tolstoy

• "My dear Lancelot, when did I ever set up to be a gentleman?  You know that was always your part of the contract."  And a swarthy, thick-set young man with a big nose lowered the dripping umbrella he had been holding over Lancelot, and stepped from the gloom of the street into the fuscous cheerfulness of the ill-lit passage. -Merely Mary Ann, Israel Zangwill

• These colors may be paler or deeper. They may be obscured by a fuscous shade or may be modified by a dull or lustrous surface.  -The Genus Pinus, George Russell Shaw

Sources: Wiktionary, Online Etymology

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

Word of The Day for Wednesday, March 9, 2011


kludge (kluhj)  n
alt kluge (klooj)

1. a workaround, a quick-and-dirty solution, a clumsy or inelegant, yet effective, solution to a problem, typically using parts that are cobbled together
2. a system, especially a computer system, that is constituted of poorly matched elements or of elements originally intended for other applications; a clever programming trick intended to solve a particular nasty case in an expedient, if not clear, manner
3. something that works for the wrong reason

See below

Sentence Examples:
• It’s a kludge, but it works well. Since this system is going to be running Xen, it will need a bridge anyway.

• So don't think of IPS as magic security pixie dust. Think of it as a kludge to cover for your inadequate patching procedures.

• What follows is a story of hope. That even when things seem their bleakest a kludge can come along and get things limping along.

Why This Word:

The present word has alternate spellings (kludge and kluge) and pronunciations (rhyming with fudge and stooge respectively), and several proposed etymologies.

The Oxford English Dictionary kludge entry cites one source for this word's earliest recorded usage, definition, and etymology: Jackson W. Granholm's 1962 "How to Design a Kludge" article, which appeared in the American computer magazine Datamation. 
    The word 'kludge' is...derived from the same root as the German Kluge..., originally meaning 'smart' or 'witty'.... 'Kludge' eventually came to mean 'not so smart' or 'pretty ridiculous'.

The German surname Kluge derives from klug "prudent; wise". Although the OED2 notes Granholm was "jocular", it accepts his ironic etymology from a fictional "Fink and Wiggles" for Funk & Wagnalls lexicographer.

    A phone call to Phineas Burling can be revealing. Phineas Burling is the Chief calligrapher with the Fink and Wiggles Publishing Company, Inc. Fink and Wiggles are, of course, the well known publishers of the NEW MULTILINGUAL DICTIONARY. According to Burling, the word "kludge" first appeared in the English language in the early fifteen-hundreds. It was imported into the geographic region of the lowlands between King's Lynn (then Bishop's Lynn) and the Isle of Ely by Dutch settlers arriving there to reclaim tidelands of the Wash as rutabaga fields. …
    The word "kludge" is, according to Burling, derived from the same root as the German "klug" (Dutch kloog, Swedish Klag, Danish Klog, Gothic Klaugen, Lettish Kladnis and Sanskrit Veklaunn), originally meaning "smart" or "witty". In the typical machinations of language in evolutionary growth, the word "Kludge" eventually came to mean "not so smart" or "pretty ridiculous". Today the leading definition given by the NEW MULTILINGUAL is, "An ill-assorted collection of poorly-matching parts, forming a distressing whole."
    It is in this latter sense that "Kludge" is used by computer hardware men. Today "kludge" forms one of the most beloved words in design terminology, and it stands ready for handy application to the work of anyone who gins up 110-volt circuitry to plug into the 220 VAC source. The building of a Kludge, however, is not work for amateurs. There is a certain, indefinable, masochistic finesse that must go into true Kludge building. The professional can spot it instantly. The amateur may readily presume that "that's the way computers are".
This OED2 entry also includes the verbal kludge "to improvise with a kludge or kludges" and kludgemanship "skill in designing or applying kludges".

The Jargon File (a.k.a. The New Hacker's Dictionary), which is a glossary of internet slang maintained by Eric S. Raymond, differentiates kludge from kluge and cites usage examples predating 1962.

This Jargon File entry notes kludge apparently derives via British military slang from Scots kludge or kludgie meaning "a common toilet", and became confused with U.S. kluge during or after World War II.

This entry notes kluge, which is now often spelled kludge, "was the original spelling, reported around computers as far back as the mid-1950s and, at that time, used exclusively of hardware kluges". The Jargon File gives possible etymologies from naval slang (cf. jury rig) or printing equipment.

First, kluge "was common Navy slang in the WWII era for any piece of electronics that worked well on shore but consistently failed at sea". A 1947 article in the New York Folklore Quarterly recorded the classic shaggy dog story "'Murgatroyd the Kluge Maker' then current in the Armed Forces, in which a 'kluge' was a complex and puzzling artifact with a trivial function." When Murgatroyd enlists into the Navy, he gives "kluge maker" as his occupation. Because none of the officers knows what a kluge is, Murgatroyd ascends through the ranks, eventually becoming "kluge maker, first class". When an admiral demands that Murgatroyd build him a kluge, he constructs a strange object with springs in all directions. He then drops it over the side of the ship into the ocean, where it goes "kkluuge".

Second, the "Kluge paper feeder" was an automatic paper feeder for printing presses, which was first manufactured by Brandtjen and Kluge in 1919. It supposedly had a Rube Goldberg machine reputation, and was "temperamental, subject to frequent breakdowns, and devilishly difficult to repair — but oh, so clever!"

The Jargon File further includes kluge around "to avoid a bug or difficult condition by inserting a kluge", kluge up "to lash together a quick hack to perform a task". After Granholm's 1962 "How to Design a Kludge" article popularized the kluge variant kludge, both were interchangeably used and confused. The Jargon File concludes:

    The result of this history is a tangle. Many younger U.S. hackers pronounce the word as /klooj/ but spell it, incorrectly for its meaning and pronunciation, as 'kludge'. … British hackers mostly learned /kluhj/ orally, use it in a restricted negative sense and are at least consistent. European hackers have mostly learned the word from written American sources and tend to pronounce it /kluhj/ but use the wider American meaning! Some observers consider this mess appropriate in view of the word's meaning.

Other suggested folk etymologies or backronyms for kludge or kluge is from klumsy, lame, ugly, dumb, but good enough, or klutzy, lashup, under, going, engineering.
Sources: Wikipedia

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

Word of The Day for Tuesday, March 8, 2011


tha•las•sic (thuh-LAS-ik)  adj

1. of or pertaining to seas and oceans
2. of or pertaining to smaller bodies of water, as seas and gulfs, as distinguished from large oceanic bodies
3. growing, living, or found in the sea; marine
1883; from French thalassique, from Greek thalassa "sea"

Synonyms: marine, Neptunian, abyssal, aquatic, littoral, maritime, natatorial, nautical, pelagic, sea, seafaring

Sentence Examples:
• Primitive peoples carry a drag upon their migrations in their restricted geographical outlook; ignorance robs them of definite goals. The evolution of the historical movement is accelerated by every expansion of the geographical horizon. It progresses most rapidly where the knowledge of outlying or remote lands travels fastest, as along rivers and thalassic coasts.  -Influences of Geographic Environment, Ellen Churchill Semple

• That's Dynamite Island; the Kragans have an explosives-plant there. They make nitroglycerine, like all the thalassic peoples; they also make TNT and propellants. Learned that from us, of course. They also manufacture most of their own firearms, some of them pretty extreme—up to 25-mm. for shoulder rifles. Don't ever fire one; it'd break every bone in your body. -Ullr Uprising, Henry Beam Piper

• America belatedly returned to larger thalassic preoccupations in the 1890s. Models of territorial imperium are useless to explain what happened thereafter. So also is the supposition that thalassic power is a kind of unprincipled globalization in which American vices are projected indiscriminately across the surface of the globe. -Global Creation, Simon Marginson, Peter Murphy, Michael A. Peters

Sources: Dictionary.com, Merriam-Webster

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

Word of The Day for Monday, March 7, 2011


stru•thi•ous (STROO-thee-uhs)  adj

of or relating to the ostriches and related birds

1773, from Late Latin struthio "ostrich", irregular from Greek strouthos

Related Words: ostrich

Sentence Examples:
• So large a struthious bird as the cassowary requires more extensive feeding-grounds and greater seclusion than was to be found in any island of the Banda Group, and, as at the present day so in the past, Ceram was the true home of the Malayan cassowary, which found and which finds in the extensive forests of that island the home adapted to its requirements.  -Essays on early ornithology and kindred, James R. McClymont

• The bones, of which I have received the casts, are three in number, and of great interest. One of them is a characteristic fragment of the upper part of a fibula; the other two, still more interesting, as enabling us to determine the class and genus of the animal to which they belong, exhibit the extremities of the right and left tarso-metatarsal bones. The former is somewhat broken; the latter is nearly perfect, and exhibits the triple division of the inferior extremity of the bone into the three trochleæ or pulley-shaped processes of the struthious birds. -Remarks on some fossil impressions in the sandstone rocks of Connecticut River, John Collins Warren

• Vast struthious birds, which would have looked down with supreme contempt on the loftiest African ostrich, whose limb-bones greatly exceeded in bulk those of our dray horses, whose three-toed feet made a print in the clay some eighteen inches long, and whose proud heads commanded the horizon from an elevation of twelve feet above the ground,—terrible birds, whose main development of might was in the legs and feet, being utterly destitute of the least trace of wings—these strode swiftly about the rank ferny brakes, possessing a conscious power of defence in the back stroke of their muscular feet, and fearless of man or beast, mainly nocturnal in their activity, concealing themselves by day in the recesses of the dense forests, where the majestic trees were interwoven with cable-like climbers, or couching in the midst of tall reeds and aroideous plants that margined the great swampy lakes of these regions. -The Romance of Natural History, Philip Henry Gosse

Sources: Merriam-Webster

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

Word of The Day for Sunday, March 6, 2011


ill•e•ism (IL-ee-ism)  n

the act of referring to oneself in the third person

illeist noun

from Latin ille “that man; he” + -ism (modelled on egoism)

Sentence Examples:
• Since joining the National Basketball Association, the lanky Australian has echoed the illeists of America’s sporting elite. “This is such a great day in the life of Andrew Bogut, the family of Andrew Bogut,” said Andrew Bogut.

• Well, one possible contribution to toddler illeism is parental illeism, as in "Mommy has to go now".

• There are places where Yahweh, speaking in the first person, refers to himself-or to someone else-as "Yahweh." This is formal illeism, though further complicated by the presence of a number of divine titles.

Sources: Wikipedia, Wiktionary

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

Word of The Day for Saturday, March 5, 2011


pre•ven•ient (pri-VEEN-yuhnt)  adj

1. coming before; preceding
2. expectant; anticipatory
prevenance noun;  preveniently adverb

1650s, from L. praevenientem, prp. of praevenire, from prae- from PIE *prai- + venire “to come” from PIE base *gwa- "to go, come"

Synonyms: antecedent, anterior, before, erstwhile, foregoing, former heretofore, introductory, precedent, precursive, precursory, preexistent, prefatory, preliminary, preparatory, previous, prior, prodromal, supra
Related Words: prevent; from venire “to come” venue, intervene, avenue, provenance, parvenu, invention, advent, adventure, revenue, et al

Sentence Examples:
• Christian theology teaches the doctrine of prevenient grace, which briefly stated means this, that before a man can seek God, God must first have sought the man. -The Pursuit of God, by A. W. Tozer

• It is not one that can be undertaken without a sense of inadequate knowledge, and still more inadequate power of expression; but such a challenge cannot be refused, provided that whoever accepts it believes that he has some things to say which ought to be said, some lines of thought which ought to be indicated, something to urge, the truth of which he is thoroughly convinced of. Without such conviction prevenient, "we doubt not" that books on serious subjects, even if clever, and public speech either from platform or pulpit, "do verily have the nature of sin," and the more eloquent they are the worse the offence; with it, the very incompleteness and imperfection in the mode of presentation may even stimulate others to more thought, and to make up deficiencies all the better for themselves. -Rebuilding Britain, by Alfred Hopkinson

• E'en as the bird, who midst the leafy bower
Has, in her nest, sat darkling through the night,
With her sweet brood, impatient to descry
Their wished looks, and to bring home their food,
In the fond quest unconscious of her toil:
She, of the time prevenient, on the spray,
That overhangs their couch, with wakeful gaze
Expects the sun; nor ever, till the dawn,
Removeth from the east her eager ken;
So stood the dame erect, and bent her glance
Wistfully on that region, where the sun
Abateth most his speed; that, seeing her
Suspense and wand'ring, I became as one,
In whom desire is waken'd, and the hope
Of somewhat new to come fills with delight.
-Paradise, Dante Alighieri; The Rev HF Cary, Trans

Sources: Free Dictionary, Online Etymology

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

Word of The Day for Friday, March 4, 2011


pre•ter•mit (pree-ter-MIT)  v

1. to disregard intentionally or allow to pass unnoticed or unmentioned
2. to fail to do or include; omit, neglect
3. to suspend, interrupt or terminate

pretermitted past participle; pretermitted past tense; pretermitting present participle; pretermits 3rd person singular present; pretermission, pretermitter noun

1510s, from L. praetermittere “let pass, overlook,” from praeter- "beyond, before, above, more than" + mittere "to send"

Synonyms: neglect, omit, overlook
Related Words: preterite, preternatural, omit, permit, commit, dismiss, mission, promise

Sentence Examples:
• Another dubious point is Oswald's argument in the first act as to the expensiveness of marriage as compared with free union. Since the parties to free union, as he describes it, accept all the responsibilities of marriage, and only pretermit the ceremony, the difference of expense, one would suppose, must be neither more nor less than the actual marriage fee.  -Ghosts, Henrik Ibsen

• 'Look here, now,' cut in the other, 'I'll tell you who I am: I'm Colour-Sergeant Brand of the Blankth. That'll tell you if I'm a drinking man or not.' It might and it might not, thus a Greek chorus would have intervened, and gone on to point out how very far it fell short of telling why the sergeant was tramping a country lane in tatters; or even to argue that he must have pretermitted some while ago his labours for the general defence, and (in the interval) possibly turned his attention to oakum. But there was no Greek chorus present; and the man of war went on to contend that drinking was one thing and a friendly glass another. -The Wrong Box, Robert Louis Stevenson & Lloyd Osbourne

• The rationalist avows a moral bias--an attitude towards his fellows, a moral 'taste,' let us say--which partly determines his reasoned judgment. He has a conception of goodness in virtue of which he finds 'revelation' frequently repellent and the popular 'God' a chimera; even as the believer finds them satisfactory because they are in part conformable to his moral and speculative bias, and he has been brought up to pretermit judgment beyond those limits. -Rationalism, John Mackinnon Robertson

Sources: Free Dictionary, Online Etymology

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

Word of The Day for Thursday, March 3, 2011


man•sue•tude (MAN-swi-tood)  n

the quality or state of being gentle : meekness, tameness

1350–1400; from L. mansuetudo "tameness," from mansuetus, pp. of mansuescere "to tame," lit. "to accustom to the hand," from manus "hand" + suescere "to accustom, habituate," from PIE *swdh-sko-, from base *s(w)e-

Synonyms: meekness, tameness
Related Words: desuetude, mastiff; manuscript, manage, manual, et al

Sentence Examples:
• Although the pose and treatment of the head are practically identical with that in the Berlin picture, the conception seems a less dramatic one. It includes, unless the writer has misread it, an element of greater mansuetude and a less perturbed reflectiveness. -The Later works of Titian, Claude Phillips

• Chastity, for instance, which is, together with mansuetude, the especial Christian virtue, becomes in this fashion that mere guarding of virginity which, for some occult reason, is highly prized in Heaven; as to clean living being indispensable for bearable human relations, which even the unascetic ancients recognised so clearly, there is never an inkling of that. -Renaissance Fancies and Studies, Violet Paget (AKA Vernon Lee)

• But the moment of softening and mansuetude slipped quickly by, and was succeeded by a burst of anger; for Mr. Tapster suddenly became aware that Flossy's left hand, the little thin hand resting on the back of the chair, was holding two keys which he recognized at once as his property.  -McClure's Magazine, June 1908

Sources: Merriam-Webster, Online Etymology

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

Word of The Day for Wednesday, March 2, 2011


hag•i•ar•chy (HAG-ee-ahr-kee, HEY-jee-)  n

1.  government by saints, holy persons, or people in holy orders
2. a state so governed
3. (ecclesiastical term) an order of saints

1820–30; from Gk hagi- from hagios "holy"   + -archy "rule," from L. -archia, from Gk. -arkhia, from arkhos "leader, chief, ruler," from arkhe "beginning, origin, first place"

Synonyms: hagiocracy
Related Words: hagiography

Sentence Examples:
• Nowhere was the crystallization of form and principle more pronounced than in religious life, which fastened upon the mother country a deadening weight that hampered all progress, and in the colonies, notably in the Philippines, virtually converted her government into a hagiarchy that had its face toward the past and either could not or would not move with the current of the times. -The Social Cancer, José  Rizal

• He became so renowned as a bringer of gifts that when the Reformation banished most of the saints he was allowed to stay behind, still working his annual miracle of generosity. The children kept him, in spite of the protests of reformers, as the darling of the old hagiarchy. In the United States he is the only saint, outside of the Roman communion, who survives at all. -The Nation, 1919

• Gerard did not know that he had rifled a shrine of the Panchpiryas. How should he? He did not know that such a sect existed. Had he heard of them he might perhaps have guessed from their name that they worshipped five saints, in which case he would not have taken one, leaving a diminished hagiarchy. -Living age, Eliakim Littell & Robert S. Littell

Sources: Free Dictionary

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

Word of The Day for Tuesday, March 1, 2011


tor•por (TAWR-per)  n

1. sluggish inactivity or inertia
2. lethargic indifference; apathy
3. a state of suspended physical powers and activities
4. dormancy, as of a hibernating animal

torporific adjective

c.1600;  from L. torpor "numbness," from torpere "be numb," from PIE base *ster- "stiff"

Synonyms: lethargy, apathy, disinterest, dormancy, drowsiness, dullness, idleness, impassivity, inaction, inactivity, languor, laziness, lifelessness, listlessness, passiveness, sleepiness, sloth, slowness, sluggishness, slumber, stupor, torpidity, torpidness
Related Words: torpedo, torpid

Sentence Examples:
• At length the announcement of tea and coffee in the cedar parlor roused all hands from this temporary torpor. Every one awoke marvellously renovated, and while sipping the refreshing beverage out of the Baronet's old-fashioned hereditary china, began to think of departing for their several homes. -Tales of a Traveller, Washington Irving

• I understand that this torpor is quite common with men and women suddenly bereaved.  I believe that a whole week passed before my brain recovered any really vital motion; and then such feeble thought as I could exert was wholly occupied with the desperate stupidity of the whole affair.  -Old Fires and Profitable Ghosts, A. T. Quiller-Couch

• The anguish, the torpor, the toil
  Will have passed to other millions
  Consumed by the same desires.
  Ages will come and go,
  Darkness will blot the lights
  And the tower will be laid on the earth.
-Rivers to the Sea, Sara Teasdale

Sources: Dictionary.com, Online Etymology

Word-E: A Word-A-Day