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New Game: What's the Word?

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What's the Word? - BAROQUE

pronunciation: [bə-ROHK]

 

Part of speech: sdjective

Origin:  French, mid-18th century

 

meaning

1. Relating to or denoting a style of European architecture, music, and art of the 17th and 18th centuries that followed mannerism and is characterized by ornate detail.

2. Highly ornate and extravagant in style.

 

Example:

"'Prose is architecture, not interior decoration, and the Baroque is over.' — Ernest Hemingway" 
"The historical home was maintained in the height of its baroque style. "

 

About Baroque

While baroque can be used as a noun to describe the particular style and period of art, it's more commonly used as an adjective. Again, it can be describing works from the Baroque period, but it's still used in a modern sense to describe anything over-the-top and elaborately ornate.

 

Did you know?

As an artistic style, baroque pieces are recognizable for their ornate details. In architecture the period is exemplified by the Palace of Versailles and by the work of Bernini in Italy. Major composers include Vivaldi, Bach, and Handel; Caravaggio and Rubens are important baroque artists.

 

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What's the Word? - EPOCH

pronunciation: [EH-pək]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin:  Latin, early 17th century

 

meaning

1. A period of time in history or a person's life, typically one marked by notable events or particular characteristics.

2. The beginning of a distinctive period in the history of someone or something.

 

Example:

"Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another.' — Carl Sagan" 
"A British epoch is defined by the ruling monarch: Elizabethan, Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian."

 

About Epoch

Epoch has been through a bit of an etymological journey. In Ancient Greek, "epekhein" meant "stop, take up a position." That turned into "epokhē," which is a fixed point in time. Then in Latin, "epocha" meant a date from which succeeding years are numbered (as in 0 A.D.). Epoch can still mean that beginning point, but it also describes spans of time defined by notable events (such as the Renaissance or the Industrial Revolution).

 

Did you know?

In a general sense, an epoch is a period of time. But there are specific definitions. In geology, an epoch is "a division of time that is a subdivision of a period and is itself subdivided into ages, corresponding to a series in chronostratigraphy." If you're an astronomer, an epoch is "an arbitrarily fixed date relative to which planetary or stellar measurements are expressed."

 

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What's the Word? - PERGOLA

pronunciation: [pər-ɡə-lə]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin:  Italian, mid-17th century

 

meaning

1. An archway in a garden or park consisting of a framework covered with trained climbing or trailing plants.

 

Example:

"The wedding took place under the pergola covered in ivy and white flowers."
"The only thing left in the garden was the wooden pergola."

 

About Pergola

In the 17th century, pergola was borrowed from the Italians, but the word was originally Latin, "Pergula" meant projecting roof. Maybe you can plant your arugula under the pergola in the garden.

 

Did you know?

You know your landscaping as the bushes, trees, and flowers around your yard, but what about hardscaping? A hardscape is a man-made feature used in landscape architecture, such as paths or walls. You can also have structures like a pergola, arbor, or gazebo.

 

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What's the Word? - TRIPTYCH

pronunciation: [TRIP-tik]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin:  Greek, mid-18th century

 

meaning: 

1. A picture or relief carving on three panels, typically hinged together side by side and used as an altarpiece.

2. A set of three associated artistic, literary, or musical works intended to be appreciated together.

 

Example:

"The middle panel of the triptych was lost at least 50 years ago." 
"If you listen to the first piece of the triptych, you have to listen to all three."

 

About Triptych

Before there was a triptych, there was a diptych. In Late Greek, "diptukha" meant a pair of writing tablets. This description was applied to hinged wooden panels with paintings, used as an altarpiece. When it expanded to have a third panel, it became a triptych.

 

Did you know?

Lemony Snicket describes a triptych perfectly: "If you have walked into a museum recently — whether you did so to attend an art exhibition or to escape from the police — you may have noticed a type of painting known as a triptych. A triptych has three panels, with something different painted on each of the panels. For instance, my friend Professor Reed made a triptych for me, and he painted fire on one panel, a typewriter on another, and the face of a beautiful, intelligent woman on the third. The triptych is entitled What Happened to Beatrice and I cannot look upon it without weeping."

 

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What's the Word? - SUSTAINABILITY

pronunciation: [sə-stayn-ə-BIL-ə-dee]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin:  Latin, 1970s

 

meaning

1. The ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level.

2. Avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.

 

Example:

"Sustainability of the fish population in the lake is our goal." 
"Reducing single-use plastics is an important element of environmental sustainability."

 

About Sustainability

If you watch your favorite legal drama on television, you'll sometimes hear the response of "sustained!" to an objection. This sense of sustainability has been around since the early 1900s. In a general sense (economics, environment, etc), it means to avoid a depletion of resources.

 

Did you know?

As a primary tenet of environmental and conservation efforts, the definition of "sustainability" is important. In a 1994 World Bank publication: "Sustainability is defined as a requirement of our generation to manage the resource base such that the average quality of life that we ensure ourselves can potentially be shared by all future generations."

 

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What's the Word? - WHETSTONE

pronunciation: [hWET-stohn]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin:  Old English, 12th century

 

Meaning

1. A fine-grained stone used for sharpening cutting tools.

 

Example:

A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.' ― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones" 
"He bought his own whetstone so he could keep his kitchen knives razor sharp."

 

About Whetstone

Coming from Old English, the word "whetstone," originally spelled "hwetstan," has been around almost as long as bladed weapons. A whetstone is a fine-grained stone used for sharpening blades. It's kind of like sandpaper, but instead of smoothing wood, it sharpens the edge of metal.

 

Did you know?

Sometimes water is used as lubrication between the whetstone and the blade, but "whet" is not related to "wet." The prefix is Old English for "to sharpen a blade," but that usage of "whet" has dropped out of use. The idiom concerning your hunger is correctly spelled "to whet your appetite," meaning to sharpen your desire for food.

 

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What's the Word? - ELFLOCKS

pronunciation: [ELF-lahks]

 

Part of speech: plural noun

Origin:  Old English, late 16th century

 

Meaning

1. A tangled mass of hair.

 

Example:

"She woke from her nap with a head full of elflocks."
 "When my hair gets long it always looks like elflocks."

 

About Elflocks

The first appearance of "elflock" is in "Romeo and Juliet," but it has been adopted into folklore and fairy tales. The descriptive word doesn't mean hair belonging to an elf, but instead it's a tangle of hair. Elves and fairies are known tricksters, so they might play with your hair while you sleep.

 

Did you know?

In Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," Romeo's friend, Mercutio, delivers an impassioned monologue about Queen Mab. She is a fairy, described as a midwife, but also known as being a nighttime prankster. If she weaves your hair into elflocks during your sleep, Mercutio warns, "Once untangled much misfortune bodes."

Edited by DarkRavie
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What's the Word? - DOCTRINE

pronunciation: [DAHK-trən]

 

Part of speech: plural noun

Origin:  Latin, 14th century

 

Meaning

1. A belief or set of beliefs held and taught by a Church, political party, or other group.

2. A stated principle of government policy, mainly in foreign or military affairs.

 

Example:

"'The older I grow, the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.' ― H.L. Mencken" 
"Presidents are often remembered for certain policies or actions, which can be called their doctrine."

 

About Doctrine

While today you go to the doctor for your medical concerns, in the original Latin, "doctor" meant teacher. Drawing from that, "doctrina" meant teaching. As the word moved from Old French into Middle English, "doctrine" turned into a set of beliefs stated by a church or political party.

 

Did you know?

The Monroe Doctrine, announced by President Monroe during his 1823 address to Congress, was a cornerstone of American foreign policy for many decades. The basic gist of it was that the United States would not interfere with European affairs, nor accept European intervention in the Americas.

 

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What's the Word? - TENSILE

pronunciation: [TEN-siyl]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin:  Latin, early 17th century

 

Meaning

1. Relating to tension.

2. Capable of being drawn out or stretched.

 

Example:

"The flooding increased the tensile forces and caused the cracks in the foundation." 
"The tensile quality of steel allowed for the construction of high-rises. "

 

About Tensile

In Latin, the verb "tendere" means to stretch. It evolved into an adjective, "tensilis," in medieval Latin. We use tensile as an adjective in English mainly in technical contexts. It can be tension related to physics, or describing a material capable of being stretched.

 

Did you know?

A tensile structure is an architectural construction using only tension and no compression or bending. Recognizeable tensile structures include The O2 in London, the Denver International Airport, Yoyogi National Gymnasium in Tokyo, and Killesburg Tower in Stuttgart.

 

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What's the Word? - PHOENIX

pronunciation: [FEE-niks]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin:  Greek, pre-12th century

 

Meaning

1. (in classical mythology) a unique bird that lived for five or six centuries in the Arabian desert, after this time burning itself on a funeral pyre and rising from the ashes with renewed youth to live through another cycle.

2. A person or thing regarded as uniquely remarkable in some respect.

 

Example:

"'In order to rise from its own ashes, a Phoenix first must burn.' ― Octavia Butler" 
"I used the phoenix as personal inspiration to recover from my setback.

 

About Phoenix

As a common noun, "phoenix" is a mythological bird that lived for many centuries before burning and rising from the ashes into a new cycle of life. As a proper noun, "Phoenix" is the capital of Arizona, among many other geographical names. Then you could use the phrase "rise like a phoenix from the ashes" to refer to a figurative comeback or rebirth.

 

Did you know?

The original phoenix appears in Ancient Greek folklore as a bird that rises from its own ashes into a new life. The name, imagery, and powers ascribed to the phoenix have shown up in countless legends across many cultures. It has even appeared in modern pop culture as a comic book character in X-Men and in the world of Harry Potter.

 

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What's the Word? - TERMINUS

pronunciation: [tər-mən-əs]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin:  Latin, mid-16th century

 

Meaning

1. A final point in space or time; an end or extremity.

2. The end of a railroad or other transportation route, or a station at such a point; a terminal.

 

Example:

"The terminus of the highway construction is scheduled for April 2021." 
"Take the subway to the terminus, and I'll meet you there."

 

About Terminus

You might recognize the adjective "terminal," meaning situated at the end, but "terminus" is the noun form. Use this word to distinguish the end point, either in space or time. It's a handy word to pull out at the end of a party. "This is the terminus, and you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here."

 

Did you know?

Terminus is also used as a name for a specific architectural feature. A terminus is a figure of a human bust or an animal ending in a square pillar from which it appears to spring, originally used as a boundary marker in ancient Rome.

 

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What's the Word? - KAWAII

pronunciation: [kə-WAI]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin:  Japanese, 1980s

 

Meaning

1. (in the context of Japanese popular culture) cute.

 

Example:

"Her bedroom is decorated in a kawaii style." 
"The litter of kittens is so kawaii."

 

About Kawaii

The simplest explanation of kawaii might be "cuteness inspired by Japanese culture." There's not a strict definition of kawaii, but think pastels, cute cartoon creatures, pigtails, and glitter. It started in Japan but has spread around the world, influencing everything from fashion to entertainment to food.

 

Did you know?

The most recognizable mascot of kawaii culture might be Hello Kitty. She was originally designed in 1974 to be British, because many Japanese people were interested in the foreign culture, but Hello Kitty's worldwide popularity now comes from an obsession with Japanese culture.

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What's the Word? - INVARIABLE

pronunciation: [in-VEHR-ee-əb-əl]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin:  Latin, 15th century

 

Meaning

1. Never changing.

2. (of a noun in an inflected language) having the same form in both the singular and the plural, e.g., sheep.

 

Example:

"'The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.' ― Emerson" 
"My mother's kitchen includes the invariable combination of a pot of coffee and plate of cookies."

 

About Invariable

Invariable can be broken down into its Latin parts for an easy definition. "In" means not and "variabilis" means changeable. If you're invariable you've made up your mind and there's no changing it.

 

Did you know?

You might not be familiar with the linguistic meaning of invariable: a noun with the same form in the singular and plural. You find these nouns most commonly in the animal world: sheep, buffalo, deer, fish, moose, etc.

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What's the Word? - FUNFAIR

pronunciation: [FUN-fer]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin:  British English, early 20th century

 

Meaning

1. A fair consisting of rides, sideshows, and other amusements.

 

Example:

"My favorite childhood memories are from the funfair." 
"The school is holding a charity funfair next weekend.

 

About Funfair

Funfair is a British English term for a fair with rides, games, and other amusements. You might also call it a carnival, bazaar, festival, midway, or just a fair. In Australia it's called a sideshow alley, and in Germany it's a "volkfest."

 

Did you know?

Modern funfairs got their start with the Great Exhibitions held in London's Hyde Park in the mid-1800s. Prince Albert commissioned a massive structure, called the Crystal Palace, in which to showcase Great Britain's scientific, technical, and artistic advancements.

 

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What's the Word? - CORPUS

pronunciation: [KOR-pəs]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin:  Latin, early 18th century

 

Meaning

1. A collection of written texts, especially the entire works of a particular author or a body of writing on a particular subject.

2. (Anatomy) The main body or mass of a structure.

 

Example:

"I own the corpus of my two favorite authors, Virginia Woolf and Henry James." 
"We need to examine the corpus for a proper diagnosis."

 

About Corpus

Corpus is Latin for the body, and it was used in Middle English to refer to the body of a human or animal in an anatomical sense. Today "corpus" is used in the humanities to refer to the entire body of work from an author, or on a particular subject.

 

Did you know?

Lexicographers (people who study words and write the dictionary) call all of the words in the dictionary the "corpus." There are different corpuses for different dictionaries. If you pick up a copy of Merriam-Webster versus the Oxford English Dictionary, the corpus will vary slightly between the two.

 

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What's the Word? - AVANT-GARDE

pronunciation: [ah-vant-GARD]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin:  French, early 20th century

 

Meaning

1. Favoring or introducing experimental or unusual ideas.

 

Example:

"The student art show promised many avant-garde pieces." 
"The design was a little too avant-garde for me."

 

About Avant-Garde

Avant-garde is used as an adjective to describe something unusual or experimental. It can also be used as a noun to refer to these out-there ideas, or the people introducing them. You might meet the avant-garde at an avant-garde art gallery.

 

Did you know?

Avant-garde, while commonly used to refer to the arts, can also describe cultural change. Ideas of progress and social change can be avant-garde in one decade, and accepted as the norm in another.

 

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