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What's the Word: TINCTORIAL

pronunciation: [tinGK-TOR-ee-əl]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Latin, mid 17th century

 

Meaning

1. Relating to dyeing, coloring, or staining properties.

 

Example:

"The concentrated solution had a strong tinctorial ability."

"Permanent markers' tinctorial capabilities make it difficult to remove from cloth."

 

About Tinctorial

This word comes from the Latin “tinctorius,” from “tinctor,” meaning “dyer” and from “tingere” meaning “to dye or color.”

 

Did You Know?

There is research being conducted to see if bacteria could replace chemical dyes with the same tinctorial power. U.K.-based biodesign research studio Faber Futures works with “Streptomyces coelicolor,” a bacteria that produces pigment as it grows. The microbe naturally changes color based on the pH of the medium it grows inside. By tweaking that environment and applying synthetic biology, it could be possible to program the organism to produce a wide array of colors.

 

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What's the Word: CURTAIL

pronunciation: [kər-TEYL]

 

Part of speech: verb

Origin: French, late 15th century

 

Meaning

1. Reduce in extent or quantity; impose a restriction on.

 

Example:

"Yolanda’s father curtailed her social life by grounding her for a week."

"Liam’s sore teeth really curtailed his food intake."

 

About Curtail

This word comes from the obsolete “curtal,” meaning “horse with a docked tail.” This stems from the French “courtault” by way of “court” meaning “short,” and from the Latin “curtus.” The change in the ending was due to association with “tail” and perhaps also with the French “tailler,” meaning “to cut.”

 

Did You Know?

When someone curtails their mortgage, it doesn’t mean they reduce the amount of money they’re putting toward it. A principal or partial curtailment is when a borrower makes an extra payment against the principal owed in a mortgage in order to reduce the outstanding balance. A total mortgage curtailment happens when the balance of the loan is paid off with a lump sum ahead of schedule.

 

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What's the Word: QUINQUENNIAL

pronunciation: [kwiNG-KWEN-ee-əl]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Latin, late 15th century

 

Meaning

1. Recurring every five years; lasting for or relating to a period of five years.

 

Example:

"The quinquennial survey showed changes in the community over many years."

"My parents renew their vows on a quinquennial basis."

 

About Quinquennial

This word stems from the Latin “quinquennis,” which comes from “quinque,” meaning “five” and “annus,” meaning “year.”

 

Did You Know?

“Quinquennial” can also take a noun form, meaning something that occurs every five years. A related term, “quinquennalia,” refers to the public games celebrated every five years in ancient Rome that included musical, gymnastics, and equestrian contests.

 

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What's the Word: EPIPHENOMENON

pronunciation: [ep-ee-fə-NAH-mən-ahn]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin: New Latin, early 18th century

 

Meaning

1. A secondary effect or byproduct that arises from but does not causally influence a process.

 

Example:

"Some economists believe the rising inflation rates are simply an epiphenomenon."

"Maggie’s doctor felt her symptoms were an epiphenomenon and not a direct correlation."

 

About Epiphenomenon

This word comes from the Greek “epi-,” a word-forming element meaning “on, upon, above” plus “phenomenon,” originally from the Greek “phainomenon,” meaning "that which appears or is seen."

 

Did You Know?

There's a theory in psychology that suggests that the images we conjure in our brains are an epiphenomenon of a more basic cognitive process. In the computational theory, your mind comprehends and retrieves information on a more fundamental level, and what you perceive (the mental image) is simply a byproduct of this process.

 

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What's the Word: OVEREGG

pronunciation: [oh-vər-EG]

 

Part of speech: verb

Origin: English, year unknown

 

Meaning

1. Over embellish or exaggerate (something).

 

Example:

"Matt would always overegg his stories to get drastic reactions."

"The pastry chef overegged the cake décor to the point of gaudiness."

 

About Overegg

While specific etymology is unknown, this term is believed to be uniquely English.

 

Did You Know?

The idiom “overegg the pudding,” meaning to over-exaggerate, popped up in England in the mid-19th century, taken from the idea baked goods can be ruined by using too many eggs. One of the earliest examples of the phrase in print is in Robert Smith Surtees’ 1845 novel, “Hillingdon Hall,” said by Yorkshire farmers.

 

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What's the Word: ARMAMENTARIUM

pronunciation: [arm-ə-men-TER-ee-əm]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin: Latin, 19th century

 

Meaning

1. The medicines, equipment, and techniques available to a medical practitioner; the collection of weapons and military equipment in a country's possession.

2. A collection of resources available for a certain purpose.

 

Example:

"The hospital’s armamentarium should always be well-stocked."

"Parents of a newborn are always surprised how fast their armamentarium of diapers dwindles."

 

About Armamentarium

This word comes from the Latin "little arsenal," from “armamenta,” meaning "implements, weapons." It entered English as “armamentary” in the 18th century.

 

Did You Know?

While “armamentarium” refers to a doctor’s tools in general, there is a company called The Armamentarium that sells specialty high-tech products, including high-powered microscopes, surgical robotics, disposable lighted forceps.

 

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What's the Word: STHENIC

pronunciation: [sTHen-ik]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Greek, late 18th century

 

Meaning

1. Of or having a high or excessive level of strength and energy.

 

Example:

"The patient was fairly sthenic for someone who had surgery recently."

"Certain medications can make people feel sthenic."

 

About Sthenic

This word stems from the Greek “sthenos,” meaning “strength.”

 

Did You Know?

Sometimes used as a synonym for “sthenic,” “pyknic,” means “characterized by shortness of stature, broadness of girth, and powerful muscularity.”

 

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What's the Word: ANADROMOUS

pronunciation: [ə-NAD-rə-məs]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Greek, mid 18th century

 

Meaning

1. (Of a fish such as the salmon) migrating up rivers from the sea to spawn.

 

Example:

"Oregon’s Willamette River contains many anadromous fish."

"Anadromous creatures spend part of their life in freshwater and part in the ocean."

 

About Anadromous

This word comes from the Greek “anadromos.” ”Ana-” means “up,” “dromos” means “running,” and “-ous” is an adjective-forming suffix that means “characterized by.”

 

Did You Know?

The direct opposite of “anadromous” is “catadromous.” Anadromous fish are born in freshwater that migrate to the ocean as juveniles, and they grow into adults before migrating back into freshwater to spawn; catadromous species are born in saltwater. They migrate into freshwater as juveniles, grow into adults, then migrate back into the ocean to spawn.

 

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What's the Word: GARNITURE

pronunciation: [GAR-ne-CHər]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin: French, late 15th century

 

Meaning

1. A set of decorative accessories, in particular vases.

 

Example:

"Mabel decorated her living room around the antique garniture."

"The matching, ornate candelabras were eye-catching garniture."

 

About Garniture

This word is an alteration of the Old French noun “garnesture,” which is derived from the verb “garnir,” which meant "to warn, equip, or garnish."

 

Did You Know?

“Garniture” also appears in the culinary world and can easily be mistaken for “garnish.” In this sense, garniture consists of ingredients added to a dish during the cooking process, especially near the end. These ingredients become an integral part of the dish. Meanwhile, a garnish is an ingredient that serves as a finishing step because it is placed on top of the dish to provide texture and/or visual appeal, although it should also be edible.

 

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What's the Word: PARLEY

pronunciation: [PAR-lee]

 

Part of speech: verb

Origin: Late Middle English, 16th century

 

Meaning

1. Hold a conference with the opposing side to discuss terms.

 

Example:

"The brothers parleyed the terms of the annual fantasy football league."

"We need to parley before any contracts will be signed."

 

About Parley

"Parley" meant speech or debate in late Middle English, perhaps coming from the Old French verb "parler," meaning to speak.

 

Did You Know?

Parley can be used as both a noun or a verb, used for hashing out terms between opposing sides. Swap a vowel, and the word "parlay" means to turn an initial stake or winnings from a previous bet into a greater amount by gambling.

 

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What's the Word: TELLURIAN

pronunciation: [tə-LOO-ree-ən]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Latin, mid 19th century

 

Meaning

1. Of or inhabiting the earth.

 

Example:

"The sci-fi series featured only tellurian species."

"The tellurian beauty of the Earth from space is indescribable."

 

About Tellurian

From the Latin, "tellur-" meaning earth, "tellurian" can be used as an adjective to describe something of the Earth, or as a noun to identify an inhabitant of Earth.

 

Did You Know?

When this word first appeared in English around the late 18th century, it was just an adjective used for things related to the earth. It has since been adopted by the sci-fi community to relate to species from the Earth, specifically as opposed to alien creatures.

 

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What's the Word: EXCURSUS

pronunciation: [eks-KUR-səs]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin: Latin, early 19th century

 

Meaning

1. A detailed discussion of a particular point in a book, usually in an appendix.

2. A digression in a written text.

 

Example:

"The footnotes had a thorough excursus on the topic."

"The excursus in the appendix detailed the experiments."

 

About Excursus

This word stems from the Latin “excurrere,” meaning “run out.”

 

Did You Know?

Even though an excursus is usually found in modern nonfiction, it used to have other purposes. In literature from centuries ago, an excursus might have nothing to do with the topics being discussed in the main work; rather, it was used to lighten the atmosphere in a tragic story. In the Middle Ages, it was a favored rhetorical device that allowed the narrator to comment or suspend the action for the audience to reflect on what is going on in the story.

 

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What's the Word: CURVET

pronunciation: [kər-VET]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin: Italian, late 16th century

 

Meaning

1. A graceful or energetic leap.

 

Example:

"Denishia loved learning how to do graceful ballet curvets."

"Stephan leaped into a curvet when he heard the good news."

 

About Curvet

This word comes from Italian “corvetta,” a derivative of “corva.” That is an earlier form of “curva” meaning “a curve,” from the Latin “curvus,” meaning “bent.”

 

Did You Know?

“Curvet” can also be a verb, meaning “to make a graceful, energetic leap.” Horses are commonly linked to the word, and one of its definitions is specifically “(of a horse) perform a series of jumps on the hind legs.”

 

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What's the Word: GERMINAL

pronunciation: [DJUR-mə-nl]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Latin, early 19th century

 

Meaning

1. In the earliest stages of development.

2. Relating to or of the nature of a germ cell or embryo.

 

Example:

"The project was in a germinal phase."

"Research and development is usually the germinal point of producing medicines."

 

About Germinal

This word stems from the Latin “germen,” or “germin-” meaning “sprout, seed” plus “-al,” a suffix meaning “relating to; of the kind of.”

 

Did You Know?

“Germinal” is also the name of the seventh month of the French Republican calendar (1793–1805), originally running from March 21 to April 19, and it is the title of a novel by famous French author Émile Zola. “Germinal,” the story of a coal miners' strike in the 1860s, is considered one of the most important pieces of French literature.

 

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What's the Word: IZZAT

pronunciation: [IZ-ət]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin: Arabic, unknown date

 

Meaning

1. Honor, reputation, or prestige.

 

Example:

"The new president’s experience increased the izzat of the nonprofit organization."

"The diplomatic relationship has a great deal of izzat on both sides."

 

About Izzat

This word comes from Persian and Urdu, by way of the Arabic “izza,” meaning “glory.”

 

Did You Know?

The concept of “izzat” as a societal norm is most prevalent in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and northern India. It is applicable across all social classes, genders, communities, as well as the Muslim, Hindu, and Sikh religions. The idea of reciprocity is deeply embedded in izzat and requires a person to assist those who have helped that person earlier.

 

Edited by DarkRavie
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What's the Word: PENSILE

pronunciation: [PEN-səl]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Latin, early 17th century

 

Meaning

1. Hanging down; pendulous.

 

Example:

"The peaches were ripe and pensile."

"The snow on the branches made them pensile."

 

About Pensile

This word stems from the Latin “pensilis,” from the verb “pendere,” meaning “hang.”

 

Did You Know?

There’s some confusion about how to pronounce “pensile.” Some online sources with audio of the word say it the same way “pencil” is pronounced. Others say it’s “pen-sahyl,” with the long ‘i’ sound. It appears either is correct, although the latter pronunciation might prevent some confusion in verbal speech.

 

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What's the Word: SOUPÇON

pronunciation: [soop-SAWn]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin: French, mid 18th century

 

Meaning

1. A very small quantity of something.

 

Example:

"The steak came with a soupçon of horseradish sauce for dipping."

"There was a soupçon of nail polish left in the bottle."

 

About Soupçon

This word came from the Old French "sospeçon," which comes from the Latin verb “suspicere,” meaning "to suspect."

 

Did You Know?

“Soupçon” is often linked to culinary topics now, but that wasn’t always so. In the 18th century, English speakers picked up the word from the French, who were using it to describe when someone has an inkling about something, or a touch of suspicion.

 

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What's the Word: TWEE

pronunciation: [twee]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: British, early 20th century

 

Meaning

1. Excessively or affectedly quaint, pretty, or sentimental.

 

Example:

"Mary Beth had a fascination with all things twee."

"The porcelain, flowered tea set was a twee addition to her kitchenware."

 

About Twee

This word stems from the childish pronunciation of the word “sweet.”

 

Did You Know?

In 2014, James Parker wrote about the “Twee Revolution” in “The Atlantic.” He bemoaned touchstones of the twee aesthetic that were popular at the time, such as Wes Anderson movies, men with exaggerated mustaches, actress Zooey Deschanel’s quirky public persona, and the band Belle and Sebastian.

 

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What's the Word: INSPIRIT

pronunciation: [in-SPEER-it]

 

Part of speech: verb

Origin: Middle English, 15th century

 

Meaning

1. Encourage and enliven (someone).

 

Example:

"Jane knew how to inspirit her husband when he felt down."

"It was hard to inspirit the sleep-deprived mother."

 

About Inspirit

This word comes from the Middle English “inspiriten,” meaning “to stir (someone’s mind) into action.”

 

Did You Know?

The word “inspirit” has inspirited many people to incorporate it into their company names. There’s Inspirit AI, an Artificial Intelligence education program developed and taught by MIT and Stanford students, Inspirit Yoga Studio in Florida, the mystical Inspirit Crystals in Massachusetts, several retirement homes with the name Inspirit, and the Inspirit Foundation in Toronto, which promotes inclusion and pluralism through the arts.

 

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What's the Word: FOSSORIAL

pronunciation: [fah-SOR-ee-əl]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: Latin, mid 19th century

 

Meaning

1. Burrowing, specifically related to animals.

2. Limbs that are adapted and particularly well suited to burrowing or digging.

 

Example:

"The badger digging up holes in the backyard is a fossorial animal."

"The fossorial limbs of a mole make them excellent at digging the burrows that they live in. "

 

About Fossorial

Fossorial and "excavate" both mean to remove something, usually earth.

 

Did You Know?

Fossorial animals are not the same as subterranean animals — they might burrow and dig, but they don’t spend all their time underground. Subterranean animals, such as mole rats, bilbies, and earthworms, create complicated underground networks of burrows and spend most of their time underground. Fossorial animals, like groundhogs or chipmunks, create simple burrows and spend a lot of time above ground.

 

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