Jump to content
DarkRavie

New Game: What's the Word?

Recommended Posts

What's the Word: ATTICISM

pronunciation: [AT-ə-sihz-əm]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin: Greek, 17th century

 

Meaning

1. A word or form characteristic of Attic Greek.

2. A well-turned phrase; a concise manner of speech or expression

 

Example:

"Marco kept his fellow diners amused with one delightful Atticism after another."

"The first time I met your mother, I was struck most by her refinement and her Atticisms."

 

About Atticism

“Atticism” is based on the ancient Greek Ἀττικός (“Attikós”), meaning “related to Athens.”

 

Did You Know?

Originally, the word “Atticism” referred to those characteristics specific to speakers of Attic, the language of the greater Athens region in ancient Greece known as “Attica.” Atticans were known for being elegant, yet direct — they became known as an especially witty culture. Over time, popular knowledge of and interest in ancient Greece waned, and today “Atticism” is not often used to refer to ancient Greece at all, but the word retains its meaning as an eloquently expressed phrase in speech or writing.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's the Word: HALLUX

pronunciation: [HAL-əks]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin:  Latin, 19th century

 

Meaning

1. (Anatomy) a person's big toe.

2. (Zoology) the innermost digit of the hind foot of vertebrates.

 

Example:

"Jarvis stubbed his hallux on the corner of the sofa."

"My hallux is usually the first part of my foot to wear through a sock."

 

About Hallux

“Hallux” is based on the Latin “hallus,” meaning “big toe.”

 

Did You Know?

“Hallux” refers to the human big toe in the same way that “pollex” refers to the human thumb, but the two related words — both taken from Latin — also refer to digits on the feet of vertebrates. “Pollex” describes the first digit on the front foot of any four-legged creature, while “hallux” describes the first digit on the hind foot of a four-legged creature, or the first digit on the foot of a two-legged creature (such as a bird).

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's the Word: EXTROSPECTION

pronunciation: [ek-strə-SPEK-shən]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin: English, early 20th century

 

Meaning

1. The observation of things external to one's own mind, as opposed to introspection.

 

Example:

"Thanks to the abundant wildlife and plants, Susan found herself lost in extrospection any time she walked in the forest."

"Introspection can be dangerous for a closing pitcher, while extrospection helps keep the pitcher’s focus attuned to the baseball game unfolding around him."

 

About Extrospection

“Extrospection” is based on the English word “introspection,” replacing the Latin “intro,” meaning “inward,” with the prefix “extro,” meaning outward. (“Spect” comes from the Latin for “look at.”)

 

Did You Know?

Mindfulness, the increasingly popular practice of cultivating meditative awareness of the present, is often fueled by extrospection. Though meditation is often associated with the idea of introspection, many schools of meditation encourage meditators not to become too attached to internal thoughts. One way to become more aware of the present is through extrospection, and to do so mindfully, one must observe simple things outside of one’s mind without judgment. As a result, a mindful meditator engaged in extrospection might acknowledge the rhythm of their breathing, the sensation of their feet upon the ground, or the sound of a passing car.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's the Word: STEMWINDER

pronunciation: [STEM-WIYN-dər]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin: American English, 18th century

 

Meaning

1. (informal) An entertaining and rousing speech.

2. (dated) A watch wound by turning a knob on the end of a stem.

 

Example:

"The candidate delivered a stemwinder so powerful her lead rose in the polls the next day."

"The coach gave a half-time stemwinder that revived the team's energy and confidence to pull out a win."

 

About Stemwinder

“Stemwinder” was formed within English to describe expensive watches whose winding mechanism was atop a stem.

 

Did You Know?

“Stemwinder” refers to a mostly forgotten technology: stem-wind watches, which were high-end timepieces when they were invented in the 1840s. From this notion of luxury items powered by winding came the modern term “stemwinder,” referring to a top-notch speech with the power to wind its listeners up. A stemwinder no longer has anything to do with watches — though some have mistakenly used the term to mean a speech so long that those in the crowd might begin to wind their watches out of boredom. During the course of a real stemwinder, however, nobody has time to fiddle with their watch — they’re too busy being wound up by invigorating oratory.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's the Word: ANNEAL

pronunciation: [ə-NEEL]

 

Part of speech: verb

Origin: Old English, 12th century

 

Meaning

1. Heat (metal or glass) and allow it to cool slowly, in order to remove internal stresses and make it easier to work.

2. (Biochemistry) recombine (DNA) in the double-stranded form.

 

Example:

"Rather than painting his stained glass, Paul chose to anneal the colors into the glass."

"At the workshop on silversmithing, we learned how to anneal the silver in order to make it less brittle."

 

About Anneal

“Anneal” comes from the OId English “onǣlan,” meaning “to burn, heat, or set fire to.”

 

Did You Know?

Though it may seem counterintuitive, the process of annealing glass and metal by heating them to high temperatures is intended to make them stronger by making them softer and more flexible. The verb “anneal” is closely associated with “temper” in metalwork and glasswork: The annealing process uses heat to create tougher glass and metal. Yet the process actually requires an overall softening to the materials in order to reduce brittleness. A brittle material is very hard, but can snap easily. By contrast, tempered glass or metal that has been annealed has reduced its internal stress, creating a kind of elasticity that results in far stronger glasses and metals.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's the Word: CHILIAD

pronunciation: [KIL-ee-ad]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin:  Latin, 16th century

 

Meaning

1. A group of 1000 things.

2. A period of 1000 years; a millennium.

 

Example:

"We arrived late to the tailgate party and chiliads of football fans were ready to pour into the stadium."

"Camels were domesticated in Egypt three chiliads before the common era."

 

About Chiliad

“Chiliad” is based on the Latin “chilias,” itself based on the ancient Greek “χίλιοι” (“khílioi”), meaning “thousand.”

 

Did You Know?

Was January 1, 2000 the beginning of the third chiliad of the common era? (“Chiliad” can mean “a measure of a thousand,” and it can also be a synonym for “millennium.”) For many, the calendar flipping from 1999 to 2000 indicated a shift from one chiliad to another. But for many — including America’s official timekeepers at the U.S. Naval Observatory — the beginning of the third chiliad didn’t take place until January 1, 2001. The reason for this is that the Gregorian Calendar never counted a Year Zero: The first year of the Common Era was documented as “1.” As a result, measuring two complete chiliads from that date finds the third chiliad beginning in 2001.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's the Word: AMBROSIAL

pronunciation: [am-BROH-zhəl]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin:  Latin, 16th century

 

Meaning

1. Related to the food of the gods in Greek mythology.

2. Describing something very pleasing to taste or smell.

 

Example:

"Tommy prepared six ambrosial courses for the wedding reception dinner."

"We followed the ambrosial odor to the botanical gardens, where thousands of flowers were in bloom."

 

About Ambrosial

“Ambrosial” is based on the Latin “ambrosia,” meaning “food of the gods,” though the Latin term was based on the ancient Greek “ἀμβροσία” (“ambrosía”), meaning “immortality.”

 

Did You Know?

In classical Greek and Roman mythology, “ambrosia” was the food and anointing oil of the gods, and also something that granted immortality to those who consumed it. Over time, “ambrosia” became a more pedestrian term, referring to sweet treats and pleasant food. The adjective “ambrosial” may seem as though it should describe sweets (such as the fruit salad called “ambrosia”), and is likeliest to be applied to food, drinks, and other things with a heavenly scent. However, “ambrosial” can describe anything “worthy of the gods” — as such it is often used to describe luxurious and extravagant foods, drinks, goods, and experiences.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's the Word: VULPINE

pronunciation: [VUHL-pahyn]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin:  Latin, 17th century

 

Meaning

1. Relating to a fox or foxes.

2. Crafty; cunning.

 

Example:

"The red dog had a small, vulpine face and black whiskers."

"The villain of the film was recognizable by his vulpine expression."

 

About Vulpine

“Vulpine” is based on the Latin “vulpīnus” (meaning “fox-like”), which itself is based on the term “vulpēs,” meaning “fox.”

 

Did You Know?

“Vulpine” is used to invoke the image of the fox, a diligent predator known for its craftiness. In science, the word “vulpini” refers to the sub-species of dog-like creatures (“caninae”), including a variety of foxes. The sister word “lupine,” describing similarity to wolves, is used as frequently as “vulpine.” Even when not referring to animals, the adjectives invoke the traits associated with the wolf and the fox. “Lupine” often describes ravenous hunger, and “vulpine” describes a crafty cunning.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's the Word: BELDAM

pronunciation: [BEL-dəm]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin:  Middle English, 15th century

 

Meaning

1. An old woman.

2. A witch.

 

Example:

"The beldam down the street lives alone and independently despite her age."

"Helen grew her own herbs and sold tinctures at the local market, earning her a reputation as a beldam."

 

About Beldam

“Beldam” is a combination of the Middle English “bel,” meaning “fine,” and “dam,” meaning “mother.”

 

Did You Know?

Though “beldam” is an expression for an old woman similar to “granny,” it can easily be mistaken for two other words. The first is “bedlam,” referring to chaos; though the two words are separated only by one letter, they are unrelated. The second word is the French expression “belle dame,” or “fair lady,” and “beldam” does not refer to this either. Instead, it refers to a Middle English expression for “fine mother.” From the 15th century on, the term referred to a grandmother or great-grandmother, and by the end of the 16th century it had begun to refer to any older woman — but also to frightening women in particular, which is how it became a term used to describe witches.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's the Word: LISSOME

pronunciation: [LIS-əm]

 

Part of speech: adjective

Origin:  English, 19th century

 

Meaning

1. (Of a person or their body) thin, supple, and graceful.

 

Example:

"The acrobats were three lissome siblings capable of hoisting themselves up into a vertical tower."

"Adorable lissome otters frolicked both on the shore and in the water."

 

About Lissome

“Lissome” is a variant of the English word “lithesome,” from the Middle English “lithe,” meaning “to go.”

 

Did You Know?

“Lissome” is based entirely on its root word “lithe,” which simultaneously evokes slenderness and flexibility. As a result, “lissome” is frequently used to describe athletes whose training leaves them both slim and limber. Gymnasts, ballet dancers, fencers, and martial artists are often lissome — but this doesn’t apply to all athletes. Offensive linemen in football are talented and powerful, but aren’t known for their flexibility or slimness; marathon runners may be slim and fast, but are not known for being flexible. Yoga practitioners, on the other hand, are routinely lissome due to yoga’s focus on expanding flexibility.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's the Word: APERÇU

pronunciation: [ah-per-SOO]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin:  French, 19th century

 

Meaning

1. A comment or brief reference that makes an illuminating or entertaining point.

 

Example:

"With his seemingly bottomless capacity for a witty aperçu, Jagdeep was always a welcome party guest."

"Hoping to hone my ability to call up a quick aperçu, I took to reading a book of famous quotations each morning over breakfast."

 

About Aperçu

“Aperçu” is borrowed from the French, in which it is the past participle of the verb “apercevoir,” meaning “to perceive.”

 

Did You Know?

“Aperçu” is based on the French word for “perceiving,” which provides the basis for its common definition. An “aperçu” is a witty or entertaining turn of phrase, but, more specifically, it offers a different perception of reality. For example, American writer Dorothy Parker was famous for a wit that often surprised, such as when she said, “The best way to keep children at home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant, and let the air out of the tires.”

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's the Word: PHRONTISTERY

pronunciation: [FRAHN-tə-ster-ee]

 

Part of speech: noun

Origin:  Ancient Greek, 17th century

 

Meaning

1. A place for thinking.

2. An establishment devoted to education or study.

 

Example:

"The library’s elegant reading room was the perfect phrontistery for studying."

"The clearing in the forest was so quiet it was adopted as a natural phrontistery by introspective hikers."

 

About Phrontistery

“Phrontistery” comes from the ancient Greek φροντιστής (“phrontistḗ”), meaning “a thinker.”

 

Did You Know?

“Phrontistery” means “a place for thinking,” and since the Middle Ages, the term has often been used as a lofty synonym for a university, college, or other place of formal education. However, a phrontistery can be any place ideal for thinking — including public libraries and museums, as well as parks, forests, and any other places where meditation comes easily. The term has also been humorously applied to another location of frequent quiet reflection: the lavatory.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's the Word: EPITHALAMIUM
pronunciation: [ep-ə-thə-LEY-mee-əm] 


Part of speech: noun
Origin: Latin, 16th century


Meaning:
1. A song or poem celebrating a marriage.

Example:
"In place of a traditional epithalamium, the groom sang a Beatles love song to his spouse on the day of their wedding."
"In classical theater comedies, which often end in a wedding, an epithalamium is sometimes used to close the performance."

About Epithalamium
“Epithalamium” is borrowed directly from Latin, where the word is based on the ancient Greek “ἐπιθαλάμιον” (“epithalamion”), meaning “bridal song.”

Did you Know?
In ancient Greece, an “epithalamium” was a song sung at the door to the marriage chamber in celebration of the bride and groom to bless the union and bring the wedded couple happiness. Over time, the tradition came to describe both a marriage song and a poem celebrating a marriage. Some of the most famous poets of ancient Greece, including Sappho and Pindar, are remembered for their epithalamiums. In the Italian Renaissance, it was a wedding tradition for celebrants to be honored with an epithalamium printed and delivered to them. Many of Shakespeare’s comedic dramas also end in an epithalamium to honor a happy wedding.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's the Word: SITZFLEISCH
pronunciation: [SITS-fleysh]


Part of speech: noun
Origin: Yiddish, 19th century


Meaning:
1. A person's buttocks.

2. Power to endure or to persevere in an activity; staying power.

 

Example:

"There was no intermission in the play, and by the fifth act I was feeling the running time in my sitzfleisch."

"Esmerelda’s grandson is a piano prodigy with the sitzfleisch to practice his instrument for four hours every day."

 

About Sitzfleisch

“Sitzfleisch” is taken from the same word in German, which is based on the Yiddish “zitsfleysh.” In German, it is formed by combining “sitzen” (meaning “to sit”) and “fleisch” (meaning “flesh”).

 

Did you Know?

While the common Yiddish definition for “sitzfleisch” is “buttocks,” the related definition is more evocative — the power to persevere through an activity all the way to the end. In this definition, the buttocks are not merely the flesh upon which one sits, but rather a measure of the power and endurance to sit for a long time when others might sooner have gotten up and walked away. Unlike the intense physical endurance involved in extended exercise, or the intellectual endurance required to pay attention to long and complex ideas, sitzfleisch is a measure of a person’s imperviousness to boredom. In modern language, the term might be used to describe the power to read a very long book, to watch many episodes of a TV series in one go, or to wait a long time at the DMV, all without becoming exasperated and getting up to do something else.

 

Edited by DarkRavie
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's the Word: CONVERSAZIONE
pronunciation: [kon-vər-sah-tsee-OH-nee]


Part of speech: noun
Origin: Italian, 18th century


Meaning:
1. A scholarly social gathering held for discussion of literature and the arts.

 

Example:

"The library hosted a lively conversazione about the works of Toni Morrison, led by scholars of her writing."

"At this month’s conversazione, an art professor led a discussion on the rivalry between Picasso and Matisse."

 

About Conversazione

“Conversazione” is taken directly from the Italian, where it means “conversation.”

 

Did you Know?

The term “conversazione” entered English thanks to British writer Horace Walpole, who wrote to friends in England to describe the Italian custom of first watching a play and then holding an assembly to discuss the play, a practice Walpole described by its Italian name. Over time, the term began to refer to gatherings held for the purpose of intellectual discussion about literature, arts, and sciences. In England’s Victorian era, conversaziones became a key route by which the public learned of new scientific developments and knowledge. At these forums, experts would conduct experiments, demonstrations, and exhibitions while giving lectures and taking questions from the audience.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's the Word: AUTOPTIC
pronunciation: [aw-TAHP-tik]


Part of speech: adjective
Origin: Greek, 19th century


Meaning:
1. Seen with one's own eyes; belonging to, or connected with, personal observation.

 

Example:

"The video evidence was unclear, but there was an eyewitness with autoptic testimony."

"Diana said the house was haunted, but Cherie argued that she hadn’t had any autoptic experiences."

 

About Autoptic

“Autoptic” is based on a combination of the ancient Greek terms “αὐτός” (“autos”), meaning “self,” and ὀπτός (“optós”), meaning “visible.”

 

Did you Know?

“Autoptic” is associated with the Greek word “αὐτοπτικός,” meaning “related to an eyewitness.” For this reason, the term “autoptic” has long been associated with legal procedures and other formal statements of fact, describing those statements that are based on personal observation and recollection. The term is also closely related to “autopsy,” whose Greek root “αὐτοψῐ́ᾱ” also means “to see with one’s own eyes.” Like an autoptic testimony, an autopsy is a formal circumstance in which an expert enters their direct observations into a legal record.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's the Word: ESCRITOIRE
pronunciation: [es-kri-TWAHR]


Part of speech: noun
Origin: French, 16th century


Meaning:
1. A small writing desk with drawers and compartments.

 

Example:

"My grandmother writes her Christmas cards and letters at her escritoire."

"The age of the escritoire is long passed, since nowadays people do most of their writing on desktop computers, laptops, and tablets."

 

About Escritoire

“Escritoire” is based on the same word in French, itself a combination of the French words “écrire” (meaning “to write”) and the suffix “-oire,” describing an object.

 

Did you Know?

When desk jobs used to require more pen-and-paper work, an escritoire was a popular piece of office furniture. Handwriting with ink and quill is a more complex process than writing with ballpoint pens, so these writing desks have many compartments to hold the paraphernalia of the work: nibs, quills, ink bottles, writing paper, blotting paper, and sand. These compartments became part of the furniture’s selling point, with woodworkers producing ornate and heavily embellished escritoires with multiple drawers and compartments. In some instances, “escritoire” is also used to describe the desk called a “secretary,” which consists of a traditional escritoire topped with a glass-fronted bookcase.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's the Word: NIMIETY
pronunciation: [ni-MAHY-i-tee]

 

Part of speech: noun
Origin: Latin, 16th century

 

Meaning:
1. State of being in excess, more than is needed.

 

Example:

"Arlene had a nimiety of Halloween candy and insisted Carl take some home after the party."

"Our backyard has such a nimiety of sparrows that their constant noise can become disruptive."

 

About Nimiety

From the Latin “nimietās,” meaning “excess” or “redundancy.”

 

Did you Know?

While “nimiety” is a neutral term describing a state of excess, it has frequently been used with negative connotations of wastefulness, dilution, and exhaustion. Often “nimiety” doesn’t just mean “more than necessary,” but rather “too much in a way that has unpleasant outcomes.” For example, a salad dressing might be overpowered by a nimiety of vinegar, or a dish might suffer a nimiety of salt or hot peppers. The term can also describe the absence of brevity: A writer might need an editor’s red pen to fix a nimiety of flowery adjectives.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's the Word: REALIA

pronunciation: [ree-AL-ee-ə]

 

Part of speech: noun
Origin: Latin, 19th century

 

Meaning:
1. Objects and material from everyday life, especially when used as teaching aids.

2. Real things or actual facts, especially as distinct from theories about or reactions to them.

 

Example:

"The visiting firefighter dazzled the schoolkids with his realia, which included his helmet, ax, and oxygen tank."

"In science class, Daria learned best from lessons involving realia, such as demonstrations of dramatic chemical reactions."

 

About Realia

“Realia” is directly from the Latin “reālia,” meaning “real things.”

 

Did you Know?

The first realia many babies encounter is a simple set of wooden blocks, which were developed as teaching tools in 18th-century England and popularized by German educational philosopher Friedrich Fröbel (best known for inventing and naming “kindergarten”). “Fröbel gifts,” a set of mostly wooden blocks he developed, became massively popular educational toys for babies, offering them real-world experiences with basic shapes, gravity, and building or stacking. These toys provide pieces of the real world small enough for babies to handle and safely experiment with. Used as realia, building blocks have been the foundation of early learning for hundreds of millions of people.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's the Word: ACIDULOUS

pronunciation: [ə-SIJ-ə-ləs]

 

Part of speech: adjective
Origin: Latin, late 17th century

 

Meaning:
1. Sharp-tasting; sour.

2. (Of a person's remarks or tone) Bitter; cutting.

 

Example:

"Yesenia prefers smooth cold-brew coffee to an acidulous dark-roast drip coffee."

"Angelica paid her many parking tickets in full, after first making an acidulous remark to the city clerk."

 

About Acidulous

“Acidulous” is taken almost directly from the Latin “acidulous,” meaning “sourish.”

 

Did you Know?

When “acidulous” is used to describe a flavor, it describes a sharply sour taste, while in describing moods or words, the term implies bitterness. In flavor, the difference between sour and bitter is partly determined by acidity, the source of sourness, while bitterness is associated with earth and green leaves. If a dish seems to be falling flat, chefs often recommend adding an acid. In chemical terms, ingredients with a low pH of 0 to 7 are acids — vinegar and lemon have a pH of 2, wine and tomato are at 4, and buttermilk and coffee both have a pH of 4.5. Bitterness is found on the alkaline scale at a pH of 7 to 14.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...