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New Game: What's the Word?

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What's the Word? - PAROXYSM

pronunciation: [PAR-ək-siz-əm]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin: Old French, early 15th century

 

Meaning

1. A sudden attack or violent expression of a particular emotion or activity.

 

Example:

"The opera singer broke into a paroxysm of song."

"After the first paroxysms of grief passed, he was able to focus on important tasks."

 

About Paroxysm

This word comes from the Old French “paroxysme” via medieval Latin and the Greek “paroxusmos,” meaning “irritation or exasperation.” This comes from “paroxunein,” which means to “exasperate or goad.” From “para-” meaning “beyond” + “oxunein,” meaning “sharpen.”

 

Did You Know?

In the earliest uses of “paroxysm” in English, it was often linked to medical conditions and denoted agitated, worsening symptoms of an illness. The term fell out of use in colloquial medical discussion as the word took on its modern, broader definition.

 

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What's the Word? - TÊTE-À-TÊTE

pronunciation: [ted-ə-TET]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin: French, late 17th century

 

Meaning

1. A private conversation between two people.

2. An S-shaped sofa on which two people can sit face to face.

 

Example:

"The world leaders had a private tête-à-tête before the press conference."

"The 20-somethings sat on the tête-à-tête and continued to flirt."

 

About Tête-à-Tête

This word comes directly from the French, literally meaning “head-to-head.” Originates from the Old French “teste,” meaning “head.”

 

Did You Know?

The courting bench and the gossip’s chair are just two of the monikers given to the tête-à-tête couch. They were extremely popular in Victorian-era upper-class homes — perhaps because Victorians were so conservative about the courting process. The sofa’s unique design allowed blossoming couples to sit close without ever touching.

 

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What's the Word? - KISMET

pronunciation: [KIZ-met]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin: Turkish, early 19th century

 

Meaning

1. Destiny; fate

 

Example:

"It seemed to be kismet when John and Elizabeth ran into each other at a mostly empty matinee."

"Do you believe in kismet when it comes to finding a soulmate? "

 

About Kismet

This word stems from the Turkish “qismet” from the Arabic “qisma,” meaning “division, portion, lot.” The root, “qasama” means “he divided.”

 

Did You Know?

In the late 1990s, MIT researcher Dr. Cynthia Breazeal debuted the robot head she created as an experiment in affective computing — essentially, a machine that can recognize and simulate emotions. Breazeal named the robot “Kismet.” It was one of the first robots that could exhibit emotional and social interactions with humans.

 

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What's the Word? - PUNCTILIO

pronunciation: [puNGk-TIL-ee-oh]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin: Italian and Spanish, late 16th century

 

Meaning

1. A fine or petty point of conduct or procedure.

 

Example:

"Pedro had a knack for remembering the punctilio of military dress codes."

"Debutante balls are rife with all sorts of punctilio."

 

About Punctilio

This word comes from both the Italian “puntiglio” and the Spanish “puntillo,” the diminutive of “punto,” meaning “a point.” It originally stems from the Latin “punctum.”

 

Did You Know?

In the “A Series of Unfortunate Events” books and Netflix show, the newspaper/tabloid “The Daily Punctilio” offers a “simplified and often incorrect” take on the world surrounding its readers, according to narrator Lemony Snicket. The paper’s motto “All The News in Fits of Print,” is a play on The New York Times' well-known tagline. If you watch the series and look closely at the smaller headlines, you might appreciate some of the joke headlines, like “Police Search for Missing Mustache” or “Yes, Slowdown Continues to Accelerate.”

 

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What's the Word? - SALUBRIOUS

pronunciation: [sə-LOO-bree-əs]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Latin, mid-16th century

 

Meaning

1. Health-giving; healthy.

 

Example:

"Regular exercise is always a wise, salubrious habit."

"My mother teasingly called my salubrious dinners “rabbit food.”"

 

About Salubrious

This word stems from the Latin “salubris,” meaning “promoting health.” Originally from “salus,” meaning “welfare or health.”

 

Did You Know?

“Salubrious” can also refer to a place that is pleasant and not run-down, such as a health spa in a picturesque location.

 

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What's the Word? - BURNISH

pronunciation: [BER-nish]

 

Part of speech: verb

Origin: Middle English, early 14th century

 

Meaning

1. Enhance or perfect (something such as a reputation or a skill).

2. Polish (something, especially metal) by rubbing.

 

Example:

"Mary knew she would have to burnish her research skills to shine in her job hunt."

"Betty liked to burnish her collection of silver every month."

 

About Burnish

This word stems from Middle English by way of the Old French “burniss-,” a lengthened stem of “burnir” that means to “make brown.”

 

Did You Know?

“Burnish” can also be a noun that means the shine on a highly polished surface.

 

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What's the Word? - AQUILINE

pronunciation: [AK-wə-lahyn]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Latin, mid-17th century

 

Meaning

1. Like an eagle.

2. (Of a person's nose) hooked or curved like an eagle's beak.

 

Example:

"Actor Noah Wyle’s most recognizable feature is his aquiline nose."

"The Great Seal of the United States has an aquiline figure on it."

 

About Aquiline

This word stems from the Latin “aquilinus,” deriving from “aquila,” meaning “eagle.”

 

Did You Know?

“Aquiline” is most commonly used to describe the shape of a person’s nose. However, its root word, “aquila” doubles as the name of a constellation on the celestial equator. The name denotes the bird that carried Zeus’s thunderbolts in ancient mythology. The constellation itself doesn’t closely resemble a bird but does have wings.

 

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What's the Word? - PREPOSSESSING

pronunciation: [pree-pə-ZES-ing]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Unknown, mid-17th century

 

Meaning

1. Attractive or appealing in appearance.

 

Example:

"The rundown neighborhood has become more prepossessing due to recent renovations."

"Miriam had a prepossessing aura that always attracted people to her."

 

About Prepossessing

In the 1610s, this word was related to “getting possession of land beforehand.” The meaning morphed about 20 years later into “possessing a person beforehand with a feeling or notion.” And in the 1640s, the meaning broadened into causing someone to “have a favorable opinion of something; to preoccupy the mind or heart of.”

 

Did You Know?

“Prepossessing” also has archaic definitions that means creating prejudice and possessing something prior to a specific time.

 

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What's the Word? - REGALIA

pronunciation: [rə-GAYL-yə]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin: Latin, mid-16th century

 

Meaning

1. The emblems or insignia of royalty, especially the crown, scepter, and other ornaments used at a coronation.

 

Example:

"The higher the military rank, the more regalia will be featured on formal dress."

"The collection of crown jewels are part of the queen’s regalia. "

 

About Regalia

This word stems from the medieval Latin meaning “royal privileges.” It originates from the neuter plural of “regalis,” meaning “regal.”

 

Did You Know?

The word “regalia” traditionally applied to those with royal backgrounds. In the Middle Ages, the definition started to broaden a bit. Academic regalia in graduation ceremonies — gowns, caps, hoods, and medals — is a tradition from that time when hooded gowns were necessary to keep the graduating students and educators warm.

 

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What's the Word? - SUPEREROGATION

pronunciation: [soo-pər-ər-ə-GEY-shun]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin: Latin, early 16th century

 

Meaning

1. The performance of more work than duty requires.

 

Example:

"Will put in hours of supererogation due to staff vacations."

"Sydney’s grades were bumped up substantially with all of her supererogation."

 

About Supererogation

This word comes from the late Latin “supererogatio(n-),” from “supererogare,” meaning “pay in addition.” Stems from “super-,” meaning “over” + “erogare,” meaning “pay out.”

 

Did You Know?

The idea of acts of supererogation, those which are morally good, but not required, first appeared in the Bible in the story of a Good Samaritan. The Latin Bible uses the word “super-erogare.” Philosophers began to study supererogation as a non-religious ethical theory in the 1960s.

 

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What's the Word? - ENTENTE

pronunciation: [ahn-TANT]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin: French, mid-19th century

 

Meaning

1. A friendly understanding or informal alliance between states or factions.

2. A group of states in an informal alliance.

 

Example:

"The Entente Cordiale was the foundation for Anglo-French cooperation in the First World War."

"The opposing leaders have entered into an entente against a bigger enemy."

 

About Entente

This word stems from the Old French term “entente,” meaning “intent” or “understanding.”

 

Did You Know?

“Entente” sounds similar to another word associated with 20th-century diplomatic relations —: “détente” — and they can easily be confused with one another. Détente, the relaxation of strained political relations, is often a precursor to entente but not always. For instance, even though Richard Nixon was able to achieve some sense of détente between the Soviet Union and the United States during his presidency, the two countries didn’t enter the kind of alliance that “entente” suggests.

 

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What's the Word? - PEAT

pronunciation: [peet]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin: Middle English, 14th century

 

Meaning

1. A brown deposit resembling soil, formed by the partial decomposition of vegetable matter in the wet acidic conditions of bogs and fens, and often cut out and dried for use as fuel and in gardening.

 

Example:

"Marie wanted to learn how to harvest peat for research purposes."

"Jonas added a couple of pieces of peat to the campfire to keep it going."

 

About Peat

This word stems from the Middle English “pete” by way of medieval Latin “peta.” Possibly of Celtic origin.

 

Did You Know?

According to Merriam-Webster, “peat” can also be a bold, lively woman. However, that form of usage is rarely seen, and its origins are unknown.

 

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What's the Word? - TORTUOUS

pronunciation: [TOR-choo-əs]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: French, late 14th century

 

Meaning

1. Full of twists and turns.

2. Excessively lengthy and complex.

 

Example:

"Their will-they or-won’t-they dynamic made for a tortuous romance."

"Maddie found taking the SAT to be a tortuous experience."

 

About Tortuous

This word comes from Middle English via Old French. Originally comes from the Latin “tortuosus,” from “tortus,” meaning “twisting, a twist,” from the Latin stem “torquere.”

 

Did You Know?

At first glance, you might think there’s little difference between “tortuous” and “torturous,” but their core meanings are not the same. While “tortuous” means “full of twists and turns,” “torturous” means “involving torture or excruciating pain.” That extra “R” denotes intense suffering versus being a flowery word for something mildly painful or even excitingly puzzling.

 

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What's the Word? - SACHET

pronunciation: [sa-SHAY]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin: French, mid 19th century

 

Meaning

1. A small perfumed bag used to scent clothes.

 

Example:

"Sadie bought French lavender sachets to put in her dresser drawers."

"The women would meet monthly and bring different dried herbs to make sweet-smelling sachets."

 

About Sachet

This word comes from French, meaning “little bag.” It is a diminutive of “sac” from the Latin “saccus,” meaning “sack, bag.”

 

Did You Know?

Sachets have had varied cultural uses in history. For instance, in ancient China, a sachet could be worn on the body to absorb sweat and repel insects and evil spirits. During the Qing Dynasty, a scented sachet was considered a token of love. And in medieval Europe, sachets were called “plague-bags” that were worn around the neck to provide protection against parasites and other germs. In modern times of better hygiene, sachets are still used in linen closets and clothing drawers for freshness.

 

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What's the Word? - DIACHRONIC

pronunciation: [di-ə-KRAH-nik]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Greek, mid-19th century

 

Meaning

1. Concerned with the way in which something, especially language, has developed and evolved through time.

 

Example:

"The census provides a diachronic set of data."

"If you know a family long enough, you can track diachronic development."

 

About Diachronic

This word comes from Greek. “Dia-” means “through,” ‘khronos” means “time,” and “-ic” is a suffix that helps to form the adjective.

 

Did You Know?

Diachronic elements are often contrasted with ones that are synchronic. While both are often related to the development of language, diachronic examination is the study of linguistics over time. Synchronic study is concerned with it as it exists during one fixed point in time.

 

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What's the Word? - UNPLUG

pronunciation: [ən-PLUHG]

 

Part of speech: verb

Origin: Uncertain origin

 

Meaning

1. Relax by disengaging from normal activities.

2. Disconnect (an electrical device) by removing its plug from a socket.

 

Example:

"Mario wanted everyone in his family to unplug during their weekend trip to the cabin."

"Studies show it’s healthy for children to unplug from their electronic devices."

 

 

About Unplug

While it isn’t known exactly when this usage of “unplug” was first used, it became more common as handheld technologies like the smartphone became more ubiquitous.

 

Did You Know?

While the last several years have seen a large rise in the use of handheld technology like smartphones and tablets, a movement encouraging people to “unplug” from their electronic lives, even for a short while, has gained public traction. “Unplugging” from devices can be a mood booster because it can remove unhealthy, negative feelings associated with large amounts of time spent on social media. Powering down for a set amount of time provides a unique opportunity to reset and refocus.

 

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What's the Word? - PARAGON

pronunciation: [PAR-ə-gahn]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin: Obsolete French, mid-16th century

 

Meaning

1. A perfect diamond of 100 carats or more.

2. A person or thing regarded as a perfect example of a particular quality.

 

Example:

"I’ve never seen a paragon on display."

"She was a paragon of cherished virtues."

 

 

About Paragon

This word stems from obsolete French by way of the Italian “paragone,” meaning “touchstone to try good (gold) from bad.” Is originally from the medieval Greek “parakonē,” meaning “whetstone.”

 

Did You Know?

The largest flawless diamond in the world is The Paragon, a gem that weighs over 130 carats. The diamond’s current owner, London jeweller Graff Diamonds, cut it and set it into a necklace with other colored diamonds. It attracted a lot of attention in 1999 when it was linked to end-of-millennium celebrations — supermodel Naomi Campbell wore it at a diamond gala jointly sponsored by De Beers and Versace at London’s Syon House.

 

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What's the Word? - DELINEATE

pronunciation: [də-LIN-ee-ayt]

 

Part of speech: verb

Origin: Latin, mid 16th-century

 

Meaning

1. Describe or portray (something) precisely.

 

Example:

"As a new teacher, Marnie felt it was important to delineate acceptable classroom behavior."

"The treaty helped the neighboring countries delineate what the new border would be."

 

 

About Delineate

This word comes from the Latin “delineat-,” meaning “outlined,” from the verb “delineare.” Originally comes from “de-” meaning “out, completely” and “lineare,” from “linea,” meaning “line.”

 

Did You Know?

“Delineate” can also mean to sketch something or trace the outline of it. An architect might delineate their ideas before drawing detailed blueprints.

 

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What's the Word? - FULCRUM

pronunciation: [FUHL-krəm]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin: Latin, late 17th century

 

Meaning

1. A thing that plays a central or essential role in an activity, event, or situation.

2. The point on which a lever rests or is supported and on which it pivots.

 

Example:

"His relationship with his wife was the true fulcrum of his life experience."

"Levers are a simple, comprehensible way to study how fulcrums work."

 

About Fulcrum

This word comes from the Latin “fulcrum,” meaning “bedpost, foot of a couch. Stems from “fulcire,” meaning “to prop up, support.”

 

Did You Know?

Zoologists sometimes use the word “fulcrum” to describe an animal’s joint that serves as a support or hinge, such as the one in a bird’s wing.

 

Edited by DarkRavie
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What's the Word? - LIVESTREAM

pronunciation: [LAHYV-streem]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin: English, 1995

 

Meaning

1. A live transmission of an event over the internet.

 

Example:

"Jake settled in to watch the livestream for the class lecture."

"During the pandemic, many houses of worship decided to offer livestreams of their services."

 

About Livestream

Internet company RealNetworks developed RealPlayer, the first media player capable of livestreaming content, in 1995.

 

Did You Know?

On June 24, 1993, a band called Severe Tire Damage performed their typical gig with one difference: some of the band members’ colleagues from Xerox PARC in California decided to try some new technology. They were able to broadcast the session over Mbone, a niche network that could be watched just about anywhere in the world. This was the first livestream; however, not many people knew of Mbone at the time so there weren’t many viewers.

 

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