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New Game: What's the Word?

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What's the Word? - SINOLOGY

pronunciation: [sy-NAL-ə-jee]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin: Unknown place of origin, mid-19th century

 

Meaning

1. The study of Chinese language, history, customs, and politics.

 

Example:

"After her trip to Beijing, Svetlana cultivated a fascination with sinology."

"Jeremy did some research on sinology to better understand his girlfriend’s Chinese heritage."

 

About Sinology

“Sin-” is a word-forming element meaning “Chinese” from the late Latin “Sinæ” (plural) “the Chinese,” from Ptolemaic Greek “Sinai,” from Arabic “Sin,” meaning “China.” “-Logy” is a word-forming element meaning “a speaking, discourse, treatise, doctrine, theory, science” from the Greek “-logia.”

 

Did You Know?

Even though sinology refers to the study of China, it is often linked to scholarship that comes from the West. Surprisingly, the French were some of the first to set up sinological academic disciplines within its prestigious academic institutions.

 

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What's the Word? - GUFFAW

pronunciation: [ɡə-FAW]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin: Scottish, early 18th century

 

Meaning

1. A loud and boisterous laugh.

 

Example:

"Kevin let out a loud, spontaneous guffaw."

"The comedian let out a guffaw at his own joke."

 

About Guffaw

This word originated in Scotland and was likely imitative of the sound of coarse laughter.

 

Did You Know?

“Guffaw” can also be used as an intransitive verb. For instance, “The group guffawed loudly.” Or “When she guffaws, it always makes him smile.”

 

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What's the Word? - SEDULOUS

pronunciation: [SEH-jəl-əs]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Latin, mid 16th century

 

Meaning

1. (Of a person or action) showing dedication and diligence.

 

Example:

"Marnie’s sedulous nature was a good fit for medical research."

"Because Jeremy is sedulous, he caught the mistake right away."

 

About Sedulous

This word stems from the Latin “sedulus,” meaning “zealous.”

 

Did You Know?

Even though the word “sedulous” offers a positive connotation of widely cherished values in society, it’s not a commonly used word. Words like “diligent” are used much more frequently to describe hardworking, dedicated individuals.

 

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What's the Word? - TONIC

pronunciation: [TAH-nik]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin: French, mid 17th century

 

Meaning

1. Something with an invigorating effect.

2. The first note in a scale which, in conventional harmony, provides the keynote of a piece of music.

 

Example:

"Layla knew she needed to drink the tonic even though it tasted bitter."

"The tonic in his original composition was a very high note."

 

About Tonic

This word comes from the French “tonique” by way of the Greek “tonikos,” meaning “of or for stretching.”

 

Did You Know?

“Tonic” can also be used as an adjective in several different ways. In phonetics, a tonic is “denoting or relating to the syllable within a tone group that has greatest prominence, because it carries the main change of pitch.” And in physiology, it means “relating to, denoting, or producing continuous muscular contraction.”

 

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What's the Word? - PRESCIENT

pronunciation: [PRESH-ənt]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Latin, early 17th century

 

Meaning

1. Having or showing knowledge of events before they take place:

 

Example:

"The psychic gave a prescient warning of things to come."

"No one understood how prescient the press statement was until a few days later."

 

About Prescient

This word comes from the Latin “praescient-,” meaning “knowing beforehand.” This stems from the verb “praescire” — “prae” meaning “before” and “scire” meaning “know.”

 

Did You Know?

Jeane Dixon, a self-proclaimed psychic, was admired by many for her supposed prescience. She reportedly predicted John F. Kennedy’s assassination, that one pope would be harmed, and another would be assassinated during the twentieth century, among other predictions. Richard Nixon followed her predictions via his secretary, and Dixon was one of several astrologers Nancy Reagan consulted. However, Temple University mathematician John Allen Paulos coined “the Jeane Dixon effect,” which outlines a penchant for highlighting a few correct predictions while ignoring a larger amount of incorrect ones.

 

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What's the Word? - EUREKA

pronunciation: [yoo-REE-kə]

 

Part of speech: exclamation

Origin: Greek, early 17th century

 

Meaning: 

1. A cry of joy or satisfaction when one finds or discovers something.

2. Marked by usually sudden triumphant discovery.

 

Example:

"When Seth solved the complicated problem, he cried out “Eureka!”"

"Maria had a eureka moment that made the rest of her day much easier."

 

About Eureka

This word comes from the Greek “heurēka,” meaning “I have found it,” originally from “heuriskein,” or “find.” Legend has it that Archimedes said this when he discovered a method of determining the purity of gold.

 

Did You Know?

Eureka is also a port city located on northern California’s Humboldt Bay. The area was settled in the 1850s to provide a convenient alternative route to supply miners on the network of rivers where gold was discovered during the Gold Rush. “Eureka” (which originally translated to "I have found it!") is also the California state motto.

 

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What's the Word? - IMMANENT

pronunciation: [IM-ən-ənt]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Latin, mid 16th century

 

Meaning

1. Existing or operating within; inherent.

2. (Of God) permanently pervading and sustaining the universe.

 

Example:

"The role of government is immanent in the Constitution."

"Teri’s research paper discussed whether altruism is an immanent trait or a learned one."

 

About Immanent

This word stems from the late Latin “immanent,” meaning “remaining within.” Comes from “in-” + “manere,” meaning “remain.”

 

Did You Know?

”Immanent” is easily confused with “imminent” and “eminent” since they all sound quite similar. However, “imminent” refers to something happening soon, while “eminent” describes something that stands out prominently. “Immanent” is an adjective for an inherent quality.

 

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What's the Word? - SCUMBLE

pronunciation: [SKUM-bəl]

 

Part of speech: verb

Origin: Unknown location, late 17th century

 

Meaning

1. [With object] modify (a painting or color) by applying a very thin coat of opaque paint to give a softer or duller effect.

2. Modify (a drawing) with light shading in pencil or charcoal to give a softer effect.

 

Example:

"Today’s online art lesson will teach students how to scumble."

"Pablo decided to scumble the sharp lines in his painting."

 

About Scumble

Even though the word’s specific roots are unknown, “scumble” is possibly related to the verb “scum,” an antiquated version of “skim.”

 

Did You Know?

Scumbling became a popular artistic technique during the 15th century. Some art historians believe Renaissance-era painter Titian invented the technique.

 

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What's the Word? - AVIDITY

pronunciation: [ə-VID-ə-dee]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin: Late Middle English, mid 15th century

 

Meaning

1. Extreme eagerness or enthusiasm.

2. [Biochemistry] the overall strength of binding between an antibody and an antigen.

 

Example:

"The doctor scoured the medical studies on antibody avidity, hoping to find answers."

"Kate binged the Netflix series with an avidity she rarely showed for anything."

 

About Avidity

This word stems from the French “avidité” or directly from the Latin “aviditas,” from “avidus,” meaning “eager, greedy.”

 

Did You Know?

In biochemistry, “affinity” and “avidity” are closely related. “Affinity” is how well a single antibody-antigen site binds, whereas “avidity” refers to the strength of all those interactions collectively. With avidity, binding strength depends on the effects that come from multiple proteins “working together” because it’s easier for one to bind if another is already tethered nearby.

 

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What's the Word? - RIMPLE

pronunciation: [RIM-pl]

 

Part of speech: verb

Origin: Middle English, date unknown.

 

Meaning

1. To form into small folds or undulations; to wrinkle; especially (of water) to ripple.

 

Example:

"Serena hates it when the bed sheets rimple."

"Some women don’t like taffeta in their formal wear because it is prone to rimpling."

 

About Rimple

This word’s origins are murky, but it possibly stems from Old English’s “hrympel,” meaning “wrinkle” or might be influenced by the Middle Dutch “rumpelen,” related to Old English “hrimpan,” meaning “to fold, wrinkle.”

 

Did You Know?

“Rimple” can also be used as a noun. Example: Troy folded rimples into the paper to create origami.

 

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