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New Game: What's the Word?

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What's the Word? - DERACINATE

 

Part of speech: verb

Origin: French, 16th century

 

meaning: 1. To uproot --- 2. To take something out of its native environment

 

"My family deracinated from our home country to search for a better life elsewhere."

"After I deracinated all the weeds, my garden looks better than ever."

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What's the Word? - BOMBINATE

Part of speech: verb

Origin: Latin, 19th century

 

meaning: 1. To buzz --- 2. To drone --- 3. To hum

 

 

"The bombinating of the bees grew louder and louder as we got closer to their hive."

"After complaining for hours, his voice just sounded like a bombinating mess."

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What's the Word? - FRISSON

Part of speech: noun

Origin: French, late 18th century

 

meaning: 1. A sudden and intense feeling of excitement --- 2. A shudder caused by a thrill --- 3. Getting the chills. shiver

 

"I felt a giddy frisson when I got the big promotion."

"When the orchestra arrived at the gorgeous climax of the piece, many in the audience experienced a moment of frisson."

 

About Frisson

We might not know it by it's official name, but we've all experienced frisson — otherwise known as "getting the chills." It's most common when we listen to a particularly moving piece of music or see a beautiful work of art. Interestingly, the chills are often also associated with pupil dilation.

 

Did you Know?

Frisson doesn't just trace its origins back to French; it literally means "shiver" in French.

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What's the Word? - RUBIGINOUS

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Latin, 17th century

 

meaning: 1. Of a reddish brown color or rust --- 2. Rusty or rusty-looking

 

"The rubiginous appearance of the metal pipes suggested they were old and should be replaced."

"We trekked across the hot, dry desert, our feet leaving prints in the rubiginous soil."

 

About Rubiginous

Something that's rubiginous has the reddish-brown color of rust, or may even be covered in actual rust.  Rust is the result of a reaction between iron and oxygen combined with the presence of water or moisture.  Eventually, given enough time, all iron will convert to rust and eventually disintegrate.

 

Did you Know?

Take another look at rubiginous — you might see part of a familiar word hidden inside it.  Rubiginous shares Latin roots with another reddish word: ruby.

 

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What's the Word? - MENDACIOUS

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Latin, early 17th century

 

meaning: 1. Frequently dishonest or deceitful --- 2. Untrue

 

"If you weren't so mendacious, I would be more inclined to believe your story."

"Her mendacious words were delivered with conviction, but there was no truth behind any of it."

 

About Mendacious

One of the most famous habitual liars — or one of the most mendacious figures — in literature is The Boy Who Cried Wolf. In the iconic fable, a young boy regularly lies about a wolf attacking his sheep. When a wolf actually does attack his sheep, the townspeople don’t believe him.

 

Did you Know?

Mendacious shares the same roots as amend, connected by their meaning relating to adapting or changing something that's been said. In the case of mendacious, it's changed into a falsehood.

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What's the Word? - LOGY

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Unknown, 19th century

 

meaning: 1. Lacking vitality --- 2. Sluggish or lethargic

 

"My parents did not appreciate my logy approach to cleaning the dishes."

"I slept poorly last night, so I am feeling logy and slow this morning."

 

About Logy

Chronic fatigue, which could cause one to be logy and lethargic in everyday life, is actually a diagnosable medical condition. However, as much as 90% of cases of chronic fatigue go undiagnosed.

 

Did you Know?

No one is really sure about the origin of logy, but a common theory is that it stems from the Dutch word log ("heavy" or "dull").

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What's the Word? - POLYGLOT

Part of speech: noun

Origin: Latin, 17th century

 

meaning: 1. A multilingual person --- 2. A publication featuring one text in multilingual languages --- 3. A blend of languages

 

"She's an accomplished polyglot, speaking seven different languages fluently."

"I'm no polyglot — I barely have a grasp on English, let alone another language."

 

About Polyglot

Ziad Vazah might be the ultimate polyglot, or multilingual person.  According to Guinness World Records, he knows more languages than anyone on Earth.  Fazah can reportedly speak and read as many as 59 different languages.

 

Did you Know?

Polyglot can also be used as an adjective, meaning "multilingual."  For example, a polyglot book is one that is written in multiple different languages.

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What's the Word? - FESTOON

Part of speech: verb

Origin: French, 17th century

 

meaning: 1. To decorate, embellish or ornament --- 2. To hang a decorative strip between two fixed points

 

"Before the surprise party, I had to festoon the entryway with streamers and decorations."

"College students love to festoon their dorm rooms with all kinds of trinkets."

 

About Festoon

One of the most iconic examples of festooning — or hanging a decorative string or banner — comes from Mexico.  If you’ve traveled there, you may have seen bright, colorful flags with cut-out patterns hanging above the streets.  These are known as papel picado, and have been used in traditional celebrations and in public spaces for centuries.

 

Did you Know?

A festoon (the noun) is the decorative string or banner you might hang from two points at a party.  So, in theory, one could festoon a festoon.

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What's the Word? - ORGANON

Part of speech: noun

 

meaning: 1. A tool or instrument used to gain knowledge --- 2. A set of guiding principles for a particular science, philosophy or discipline

 

"The internet was my organon of choice when doing research for school."

"The scientist abided by an organon of peer-reviewed documents, books, and studies to inform her work."

 

About Organon

An organon is something (such as a textbook) used to help someone acquire knowledge, and the word stems from the Greek language. In fact, the "Organon" is a collection of six books by Greek philosopher Aristotle dealing with logic, all combining to create a definitive lecture still referenced today.

 

Did you Know?

Some scholars argue that we are living in the era of the greatest organon in human history: the internet. You're using it to gain knowledge right now!

Edited by DarkRavie

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What's the Word? - BLATHERSKITE

Part of speech: noun

Origin: Scottish English, 17th century

 

meaning: 1. nonsense --- 2. A person who is prone to speaking nonsense

 

"I don't want to hear your blatherskite — I need you to speak clearly about things that really matter."

"The teacher had great insights, but he was such a blatherskite that his students never understood them."

 

About Blatherskite

William Shakespeare's play, "Much Ado About Nothing," features a character named Dogberry who is a bit of a blatherskite — he speaks in nonsense throughout much of his time onstage.

 

Did you know?

We have the Scots to thank for this word, which originated from a slightly profane term. Thanks to its appearance in a Scottish song that was popular during the Revolutionary War, blatherskite lost its edge and became commonly used in American English.

 

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What's the Word? - OBSEQUIOUS

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Latin, 15th century

 

meaning: 1. Obedient or submissive --- 2. Attentive and compliant to the point of excess

 

"His obsequious attitude meant he was always eager to please his superiors."

"The hotel's butler was positively obsequious, constantly opening the door, carrying luggage, and calling a car for us."

 

About Obsequious

Often used as the ultimate metaphor for blind following, lemmings have long been believed to commit mass suicide by following each other obsequiously off of cliffs.  The truth is that this behavior has never been naturally observed, and stems from a manipulated scene in a 1958 nature documentary from Disney.

 

Did you know?

Obsequious, a word used to describe followers, shares its Latin roots with words like sequel (a story that follows the first) and sequence (a series of numbers that follow each other.)

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What's the Word? - GREGARIOUS

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Latin, 17th century

 

meaning: 1. Highly sociable --- 2. Associating with others of the same group or type --- 3. Living or growing in a group or colony

 

"My gregarious neighbor always sets up block parties and get-togethers."

I"'m not that gregarious — I avoid big crowds and large events."

 

About Gregarious

Gregarious comes from a word referring to flocks or herds of animals. So what's the largest flock ever witnessed? That distinction is said to belong to the red-billed quelea bird of Africa, which was captured in a flock over 1.5 billion strong.

 

Did you know?

Gregarious comes from Latin words referring to herds or flocks. Even today, in more scientific uses, the word is used to refer to animals or plants that live in social groups.

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What's the Word? - KERFUFFLE

Part of speech: noun

Origin: Scottish, 19th century

 

meaning: 1. A commotion or noise --- 2. A chaotic scene caused by an altercation

 

"Once the fight broke out, I lost my watch in the ensuing kerfuffle."

"An argument over a boyfriend caused quite a kerfuffle in the high school cafeteria."

 

About Kerfuffle

More than a mere kerfuffle, but not quite an epic saga, the Anglo–Zanzibar War of 1896 is the shortest recorded war in history. While its duration has been the subject of debate, historians generally say it lasted only 38 minutes.

 

Did you know?

Kerfuffle is just one of many funny-sounding words to describe a noisy commotion. Others include brouhaha, hubbub, skirmish, and hullabaloo.

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What's the Word? - SYZYGY

Part of speech: NOUN

Origin: Greek, 17th century

 

meaning: 1. The arrangement of three celestial bodies in a straight line --- 2. The metaphorical alignment of two people, ideas, or events

 

"During an eclipse, Earth, the moon, and the sun are in perfect syzygy." 

"For the first time, I found myself and my coworkers in perfect syzygy regarding how we should proceed next."

 

About Syzygy

Syzygy, or a celestial alignment, between the sun and moon is responsible for tidal variations in the oceans. When the sun and moon are in a state of syzygy, their tidal forces compound on each other. This causes the ocean to both rise higher and fall lower than average. This occurrence happens twice each month.

 

Did you Know?

The word syzygy is used in a range of academic settings, from mathematics and medicine to psychology and zoology. In all of these disciplines, the word generally relates to the concept of two (or more) things relating or fusing together.

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What's the Word? - HUBRIS

Part of speech: noun

Origin: Greek, 19th century

 

meaning: 1. Excessive pride and arrogance --- 2. Overconfidence leading to an eventual downfall

 

"His hubris would not allow him to read the instructions. Consequently, his new TV fell off the wall an hour after he installed it."

"Some professional athletes suffer from hubris and assume that their money will last forever."

 

About Hubris

One of the most famous examples of hubris, or excessive pride and self-confidence, is told in John Milton's "Paradise Lost," in which Lucifer's pride in seeing himself as wiser than God results in him being cast out into Hell and becoming the devil.

 

Did you know?

In Ancient Greece, seeing oneself as above the Gods was the greatest crime—one that inevitably led to downfall.  Eventually, this concept of such extreme and fatal arrogance was given a name: hubris.

 

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What's the Word? - PROPITIOUS

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Late middle English, 15th century

 

meaning: 1. Auspicious or advantageous --- 2. Indicative of good fortune --- 3. Kind, gracious

 

"My new car is a propitious sign that I'm on the right track."

"The Queen's propitious behavior made her much beloved by the people."

 

About Propitious

Talk about a propitious occurrence: On October 14, 1912, Teddy Roosevelt was leaving a Milwaukee hotel for a campaign stop when he was shot in the chest. The bullet was propitiously slowed by the 50-page speech Roosevelt had in his pocket. He was able to deliver the speech that same day, saying "It takes more than that to kill a bull moose."

 

Did you know?

Though propitious and auspicious are very similar in meaning, there are some subtle differences between them. The former is generally used to describe things that help us achieve success, while the latter is more commonly used when foreshadowing success to come.

 

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What's the Word? - OMPHALOS

Part of speech: noun

Origin: Greek, 19th century

 

meaning: 1. A central point or hub --- 2. A rounded stone (especially that at Delphi) representing the navel of the earth in ancient Greek mythology

 

"The omphalos of his speech was a story about his rough childhood growing up in Ukraine."

"Can you get to the omphalos of all this before I lose patience?"

 

About Omphalos

The filibuster is a legally-protected form of avoiding the omphalos of a discussion in Congress. It's used to delay votes by allowing a Senator to refuse to yield their speaking time. Some filibusters have lasted longer than 24 hours.

 

Did you know?

Omphalos refers to the center of activity, and, in Greek, it derives from the center of the human body—the navel, or umbilicus. It shares the same roots with what we call the umbilical cord.

 

 

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What's the Word? - SUBMONTANE

pronunciation: [səb-män-tān] 

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Late Latin, 19th century

 

meaning: 1. Passing under mountains --- 2. At or near the base of a mountain

 

"The submontane village enjoyed mild weather; it was shielded from major storms by the mountain range that towered above it."

"This beautiful submontane area hosts abundant wildlife, making it the perfect place for hiking and bird-watching."

 

About Submontane

A submontane village in Norway, situated in the shadow of a high mountain range, came up with a novel solution for increasing the amount of sunlight they received. They built a giant mirror to reflect sunlight down into the village.

 

Did you know?

The breakdown of submontane is quite easy to see. Sub as a prefix generally means "under" or "beneath." Montane is less common, but it is used to describe things having to do with mountainous areas. Knowing that, you can see how the state of Montana is suitably named.

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What's the Word? - LOGORRHEA

pronunciation: [lȯ-gə-ˈrē-ə]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin: Greek, early 20th century

 

meaning: 1. Uncontrollable talkativeness --- 2. A tendency toward overly complex wordiness in speech or writing

 

"His speech started out strong, but devolved into incoherent logorrhea that was hard to follow."

"When writing a term paper, avoid unnecessary logorrhea and stick to the point."

 

About Logorrhea

A good editor can help any writer transform confusing logorrhea into something more coherent and easy to read. That’s a step in the writing process author Lucy Ellmann might have skipped — her 1,000-plus-page book “Ducks, Newburyport” is mostly one single sentence. Clearly she did something right, though: the novel is nominated for the prestigious Booker Prize for 2019.

 

Did you know?

The Ancient Greek word logos means "word" or "utterance." It's also the root for English words like logo, logotype, and logolatry, the worship of words.

 

 

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What's the Word? - EPHEMERAL

pronunciation: [ə-fem-ər-əl]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Greek, 16th century

 

meaning: 1. Fleeting or short-lived --- 2. Lasting for a singe day

 

"My ephemeral romance lasted only through the summer, but I'll always treasure it."

"Fads are ephemeral — they're popular for a short time before the masses move on to the next big thing."

 

About Ephemeral

You might think of a 'jiffy' as a generally ephemeral — or short-lived, non-permanent — measurement of time, but did you know it's an actual, measurable unit? It accounts for the time it takes for light to travel the distance of a single nucleon.

 

Did you Know?

While ephemeral has come to describe anything fleeting or not lasting, it comes from a Greek word that specifically means "lasting a day." We now think of ephemeral things as lasting far less time, often just a passing moment.

 

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