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New Game: What's the Word?

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What's the Word? - MAGNANIMOUS

pronunciation: [maɡ-nan-ə-məs]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Latin, 16th century

 

meaning: 1. Quick and willing to forgive --- 2. Noble and fair, as in a ruler or leader

 

"The magnanimous king abolished taxes and was beloved throughout the land."

"The battle was over when the king offered a magnanimous gesture of peace to his rival."

 

About Magnanimous

A magnanimous action is one that extends forgiveness. A 2014 study found that people are much more likely to be magnanimous and forgiving if the party that did them wrong offers an apology or similar gesture. That may seem obvious, but the study explored the psychological implications of conflict management and group living.

 

Did you know?

What does being magnanimous have to do with animals? They both share Latin roots with animus, which refers to things that are alive or lively. A person who is magnanimous is said to have a particularly lively spirit of goodness within them.

 

 

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What's the Word? - ESCHEW

pronunciation: [əs-cho͞o]

 

Part of speech: verb

Origin: Late middle English, 14th century

 

meaning: 1. To avoid as a point of habit --- 2. To shun or abstain from something for moral reasons

 

"She eschews alcohol and drugs in favor of a healthy, low-key lifestyle."

"Many religious figures in history have eschewed basic comforts to get closer to the noble truths they pursue."

 

About Eschew

Many religious faiths around the world require the eschewing of certain foods, activities, or lifestyles as a sign of respect or reverence towards their god or gods. Judaism is among the most famous of these, with strict adherents eschewing fish without fins or scales, shellfish, and pigs.

 

Did you Know?

What does eschewing something from your life have to do with being shy? Their relationship is etymological, as both words originally came from an Old German verb that meant "to frighten off."

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What's the Word? - EPONYMOUS
pronunciation: [ə-pah-nə-məs]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Greek, 19th century

 

meaning: 1. Relating to the name of something --- 2. Describing and item named after a subject in question

 

"Her eponymous album was a hit, and now everyone knows her name."

"The biggest stars have names that draw wide audiences, which is why they get eponymous TV shows."

 

About Eponymous

Music listeners and critics consistently vote The Beatles' eponymous 1968 album to be among the greatest albums of all time. Today, it's commonly known as "The White Album."

 

Did you know?

Synonymous, anonymous, pseudonym, eponymous — it's no coincidence they all have to do with names for things. They come from the Greek word onyma, meaning "name."

 

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What's the Word? - CANTANKEROUS

pronunciation: [kan-tang-kə-rəs]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Unknown, 18th century

 

meaning: 1. Contentious --- 2. Uncooperative

 

"Our cantankerous mule has never been very cooperative, but he's only gotten worse with age."

"My grandfather was known to be cantankerous, though he did have a kind side as well."

 

About Cantankerous

While mules are stereo-typically believed to be stubborn and cantankerous, they're actually quite intelligent and generally cooperative. However, their intelligence gives them a long memory — so if they have a bad experience doing something, they're unlikely to do it a second time.

 

Did you know?

While the origins of cantankerous can't be definitively pinpointed, one theory suggests that it started as a blend of the words contentious and rancorous.

 

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What's the Word? - CREPUSCULAR

pronunciation: [krə-pəs-kyə-ler]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Latin, mid 17th century

 

meaning: 1. Of or pertaining to twilight --- 2. Active in twilight or evening, as with certain animals

 

"Crepuscular animals tend to move around in the period between day and night."

"The crepuscular hour is my favorite, when the sky turns deep red and purple and the noise of the day quiets to a whisper."

 

About Crepuscular

Many animals are crepuscular, meaning most active at twilight and dawn, including some you might not know. Deer, rabbits, bears, skunks, bobcats, and even possums are generally considered to be crepuscular.

 

Did you know?

Crepuscular is an extremely medical-sounding word for something as artful and lovely as the waning hours of day, but it comes directly from the Latin word crepusculum, meaning twilight.

 

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What's the Word? - MILQUETOAST

pronunciation: [milk-tōst] 

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin: American english, 1924

 

meaning:1. A timid and weak individual --- 2. Someone who is not assertive

 

"I love Jerry, but he can be a bit of a milquetoast when it comes to standing up for himself."

"Don't be such a milquetoast — go out there and tell them what you want."

 

About Milquetoast

If you’re a milquetoast — someone who is timid or shy — you might want to hire a professional line holder to ensure nobody takes your place in a long queue. These people can make as much as $25 per hour holding your spot in a lengthy line so you don’t waste your time.

 

Did you Know?

This unique word was inspired by the meek character Caspar Milquetoast in a 1920s comic strip called "The Timid Soul." The name Milquetoast was inspired by milk toast, a British dish featuring buttered toast served in hot milk.

 

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What's the Word? - LEXICOGRAPHY

pronunciation: [leks-ə-kah-ɡrə-fee]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin: Greek & Latin, 17th century

 

meaning: 1. The Process of making a lexicon or dictionary --- 2. The principles that are applied in the making dictionaries

 

"Lexicography requires attention to detail, a love of language, and a willingness to do research."

"She's studied lexicography for some time — she practically knows every word in the book!"

 

About Lexicography

How do words go through the process of lexicography and end up in the dictionary? There isn't some official tribunal of word experts who hold court and decide. It's mostly based on data. If a word is used often enough in a certain way, for a long enough time, it will be added to a dictionary.

 

Did you know?

The word lexicography was originally coined in 1680, meaning it has been guiding the creation of other words for more than 300 years.

 

Edited by DarkRavie

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What's the Word? - ERUDITE

pronunciation: [er-ə-dīt]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Middle English, 14th century

 

meaning: 1. Possessing knowledge as a result of study --- 2. Learned

 

"You can go a long way in life if you can study hard and become an erudite student."

"She developed a reputation as an erudite scholar who was passionate about her field of study."

 

About Erudite

Michael Nicholson of Kalamazoo, Michigan, might be the world's most erudite person, or most scholarly, dedicated pupil. Over the course of his lifetime, he's accumulated 30 college degrees (including a doctorate and three masters), most of them in the field of education.

 

Did you know?

The origins of erudite literally describe someone who is not rude. If that seems off-topic, stay with us: The word rude once described someone who was unrefined and unlearned, and the prefix e- can be translated as "out of." Thus, to become erudite is to leave a rough state for a higher plane of educated sophistication.

 

Edited by DarkRavie

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What's the Word? - COPACETIC

pronunciation: [koh-pə-se-tik]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: American, 20th century

 

meaning: 1. Slang for "all is well" --- 2. Fine or satisfactory

 

"She seemed upset, but I let her know that everything was copacetic."

"After hearing the instructions, everyone was pleased and copacetic with what was expected of them."

 

About Copacetic

Copacetic is an informal slang word used to convey that everything is all right. It's closely associated with 1960s surfer culture — picture the classic hand gesture of a thumb and pinky sticking out for a visual representation of the word. Despite its uncertain origins, it has been traced back as far as 1915.

 

Did you know?

While it's become associated with 1960s American hippie and surf culture, this word's precise origins are a mystery. Many historians trace copacetic to African–American slang in the 1800s. Others believe it started in the Pacific Northwest. Others believe it was adapted from a Yiddish phrase.

 

Edited by DarkRavie

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What's the Word? - AMELIORATE

pronunciation: [ə-meel-yə-rayt]

 

Part of Speech: verb

Origin: Latin, 16 century

 

meaning: 1. To improve or make more tolerable --- 2. To alleviate 

 

"The massage I received helped to ameliorate my back pain."

"We need to think of ways to ameliorate the high turnover rate in the company."

 

About Ameliorate

Throughout history, people have come up with some strange ways of ameliorating — or making better — symptoms of sickness or ill health. For many years, mercury was believed to cure ailments, heal injuries, and prolong life. We now know that mercury is extremely poisonous and deadly if consumed in large amounts.

 

Did you know?

Ameliorate doesn't just describe something getting better or improving. It's used exclusively to refer to something that is currently in a bad or negative state that's then improved to a degree.

 

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What's the Word? - DIRIGIBLE

pronunciation: [dir-ə-jə-bəl]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Latin, late 16th century

 

meaning: 1. Steerable --- 2. Capable of being controlled or directed

 

"Sure, your new aircraft invention is fast, but it's not dirigible; you can't steer it in the direction you want to travel."

"Shauna piloted the dirigible blimp away from the building's spire, narrowly avoiding disaster."

 

About Dirigible

A dirigible mode of transportation is one that can be steered and controlled, such as a blimp. The earliest blimp designs date back as far as 1784, but the first actual flight of a blimp-like aircraft is thought to have happened in 1852. That's more than half a century before the Wright Brothers' famous first flight.

 

Did you Know?

As a noun, a dirigible is a type of airship that is steerable or capable of being controlled. That definition sounds pretty familiar to us...

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What's the Word? - LACKADAISICAL

pronunciation: [la-kə-day-zə-kəl]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: English, 18th century

 

meaning: 1. Lazy or disinterested --- 2. Lacking vitality or enthusiasm

 

"Your lackadaisical attitude won't get you far in the fast-paced corporate world."

"He took a lackadaisical approach to school, submitting incomplete assignments after the deadline."

 

About Lackadaisical

Anyone who owns a cat can tell you that felines have a tendency to be lackadaisical, or a bit lazy. The laziest breed of all might be the ragdoll. This (perhaps overly) friendly type of cat is known to go limp upon being picked up… but is also usually found lying limp around the house, too.

 

Did you Know?

Lackadaisical comes from a 17th-century word, "Lackaday," which was said when someone was frustrated, disappointed, or even surprised. It eventually evolved to its adjective form, lackadaisical, and the interjection fell out of popularity.

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What's the Word? - PENULTIMATE

pronunciation: [pi-nəl-tə-mət]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Latin, 17th century

 

meaning: 1. Next to last in a series --- 2. The next-to-last syllable of a single word

 

"The penultimate episode of the series was much more emotional than the finale."

"The penultimate syllable of the word penultimate is 'ti.'"

 

About Penultimate

Sometimes the English language creates multiple words for a very specific purpose. Penultimate is partnered with two other words that mean "second-to-last," penult and penultima. However, these both tend to refer specifically to the second-to-last syllable of a word.

 

Did you Know?

Many writers incorrectly use penultimate as an intensified version of the word ultimate. Though this might have a nice ring to it, no editor in the world would let it slide.

 

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What's the Word? - BUGABOO

pronunciation: [bə-gə-boo]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin: Celtic, mid 18th century

 

meaning: 1. An imaginary object that inspires needless flight --- 2. A problem that persists

 

"In popular culture, the bugaboo of bloodthirsty clowns rears its head every few years."

"The recurring computer virus was the bugaboo that plagued the office for weeks."

 

About Bugaboo

A bugaboo is an imaginary figure that strikes fear into the hearts of unsuspecting victims, and the somewhat nebulous “boogeyman” is a prime example. In fact, while the word’s exact source is unknown, one potential explanation for its origins is bugbear, a fanciful demon from the 1500s who took the form of a bear and ate children.

 

Did you Know?

The history of bugaboo is not entirely clear, though it's likely that it derives from the Welsh word "bogy," meaning "the devil."

 

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What's the Word? - BAILIWICK

pronunciation: [bay-li-wik]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin: Middle English, 15th century

 

meaning: 1. A bailiff's jurisdiction --- 2. A person's specific area of skill, knowledge or ability

 

"Criminals who find themselves tried in his bailiwick can expect stern courtroom rules."

"I'm a novice at science, but literature is my bailiwick."

 

About Bailiwick

Bailiwick has been in use in English since the 15th century, but only in the 1800s did it begin to be used to describe a person's area of expertise or study. A biology professor would most definitely be an expert on the classification of mammals.

 

Did you Know?

We use bailiff to describe something very specific today — the official who oversees the security of a courtroom. But in Middle English, it referred to the sheriff of a town or region, and their bailiwick was their area of jurisdiction.

 

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What's the Word? - AGITA

pronunciation: [a-jee-tə]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin: Italian, 1980's

 

meaning: 1. Nervousness or agitation --- 2. Anxiety --- 3. Indigestion or stomach discomfort

 

"A feeling of agita overcame me as the storm clouds rolled in.:

"I don't know whether it was anxiety or something I ate, but I felt a great deal of agita in the pit of my stomach."

 

About Agita

Agita, or a feeling of nervousness or anxiety, was first used among New York City's population of Italian immigrants, which makes sense given its Italian-language origins. Similar words appear throughout that language, used to describe everything from music to emotions.

 

Did you Know?

Agita comes from an Americanized pronunciation of an Italian dialect word, acido, referring to acid or heartburn. However, its more figurative definition relating to anxiety is believed to have stemmed from the word agitation.

  

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What's the Word? - MASTICATE

pronunciation: [mas-tə-kayt]

 

Part of speech: verb

Origin: Middle English, 17th century

 

meaning: 1. To chew food --- 2. To crush into pulp

 

"His injured jaw left him unable to masticate his meals."

"Rhinos have a unique way of masticating the leaves and branches they eat throughout their lives."

 

About Masticate

Where did chewing, or masticating, come from? We owe the process by which we eat nearly all foods to mammalian herbivores. In fact, carnivorous animals actually hardly chew at all. Their jaws are designed to rip food free and swallow it whole. This explains the origin of the phrase "wolfing it down."

 

Did you Know?

They don't sound exactly the same, but masticate shares its roots with another fancy-sounding word relating to the teeth — mandible.

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What's the Word? - INIMITABLE

pronunciation: [in-im-ə-tə-bəl]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Latin, 15th century

 

meaning: 1. Unique and beyond imitation --- 2. Impossible to duplicate or copy

 

 

"Vermeer's works are unparalleled because of his masterly, inimitable ability to paint light."

"His legendary skills on the electric guitar are inimitable — I'll never be that good."

 

About Inimitable

Since its inception in 1789, the U.S. Treasury has endeavored to make its currency as inimitable as possible. To ward off counterfeiters, the Treasury has instituted numerous measures to change the appearance of its bills, including special watermarks, security strips, color-shifting ink, and ongoing tweaks to the paper composition.

 

Did you Know?

Inimitable comes close to its neighbor inimical, but there is no love lost between them. The former stems from the Latin imitabilis, which refers to something imitable, but the latter comes from the root inimicus, and means "something harmful or hostile."

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What's the Word? - EPICUREAN

pronunciation: [ep-ə-kyə-rē-ehn]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Greek, 15th century

 

meaning: 1. Relating to enjoyment and gratification, especially through fine food and drink --- 2. Devoted to refined pleasures and the deliberate avoidance of pain or suffering

 

"Her epicurean lifestyle immersed her in a world of rare wines and gourmet foods."

"The price tag for his epicurean life was high, but such was the cost of savoring the finer things in life."

 

About Epicurean

While epicureans are known for their lavish tastes and discriminating palates, that doesn't always make them experts in what they partake. An epicurean interest indicates the degree of pleasure a person finds in a refined experience, whereas true knowledge of and a specialist opinion on, say, a rare vintage of wine, is reserved for a connoisseur.

 

Did you Know?

Epicurean derives from the name of the Greek philosopher Epicurus and the school he founded in the 3rd century BC. He taught his disciples that the "good life" was one that caused pleasure and led to enjoyment (though not excessively), and should be pursued over a life that brought pain and discomfort.

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What's the Word? - PANACHE

pronunciation: [pə-nash]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin: Middle French, 16th century

 

meaning: 1. Flamboyance or a confident flair --- 2. A decorative plume or tuft of feathers, especially on a headdress or helmet

 

"Met Gala attendees are known for their creative evening wear, which they show off with fearless panache."

"The knight's helmet was crowned with an extravagant red panache."

 

About Panache

Usually reserved for events like tournaments or other occasions, a soldier's panache indicated things like his wealth, position, or family colors. The size and exuberance of a panache was a status symbol. And though usually worn only ceremonially, King Henry IV is remembered for wearing an elaborate white plume into battle as a rallying point for his troops.

 

Did you Know?

Panache takes flight from its Latin root in pinnaculum to mean "little wing" or, in its more vernacular form, pinna, meaning "feather."

Edited by DarkRavie

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