Word of the Day


adduce \uh-DOOSS\
verb: to offer as example, reason, or proof in discussion or analysis
Examples:
“The arguments she had adduced rang true.” — Agatha Christie, The Secret Adversary, 1922

“Morris asserts that productive war makes governments, which in turn ensure peace and prosperity. He adduces the Roman Empire as his prime example.” — Alan Cate, Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH), April 27, 2014
Did you know?
We won’t lead you astray over the history of adduce; it is one of a plethora of familiar words that trace to the Latin root ducere, which means “to lead.” Perhaps we can induce you to deduce a few other ducere offspring if we offer a few hints about them. One is a synonym of kidnap, one’s a title for a British royal, and one’s another word for decrease. Give up? They are abduct, duke, and reduce, respectively. There are also many others, including induce, which means “to persuade” or “to bring about.”

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Word of the Day


collywobbles \KAH-lee-wah-bulz\
noun: pain in the abdomen and especially in the stomach : bellyache
Examples:
“It’s no wonder you’ve got the collywobbles,” said Ruth to her niece, “given the amount of Halloween candy you ate last night!”

“But even the hint of closing this cherished window into Detroit’s past gives loyal museumgoers the collywobbles.” — Joy Hakanson Colby, The Detroit News, December 30, 2005
Did you know?
We don’t know who first clutched his or her tummy and called the affliction “collywobbles,” but we do know the word’s earliest print appearance dates from around 1823. We also know that the word probably came about through a process called “folk etymology.” In that process, unusual words are transformed to make them look or sound like other, more familiar words. Collywobbles is believed to be a friendlier-sounding transformation of cholera morbus (the New Latin term for the disease cholera) that was influenced by the words colic and wobble.

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Word of the Day


quixotic \kwik-SAH-tik\
adjective1 : foolishly impractical especially in the pursuit of ideals 2 : capricious, unpredictable
Examples:
Pauline characterized her Halloween decorating plans as ambitious, but she secretly feared that “quixotic” was a more apt descriptor.

“David Smith has chased for at least 15 years what seemed a quixotic challenge—finding a way to harness the energy remaining in discarded batteries which could represent at least 50 percent of their power capacity.” — Richard Craver, Winston-Salem Journal (North Carolina), September 28, 2014
Did you know?
If you guessed that quixotic has something to do with Don Quixote, you’re absolutely right. The hero of the 17th-century Spanish novel El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha (by Miguel de Cervantes) didn’t change the world by tilting at windmills, but he did leave a linguistic legacy in English. The adjective quixotic is based on his name and has been used to describe unrealistic idealists since at least the early 18th century. The novel has given English other words as well. Dulcinea, the name of Quixote’s beloved, has come to mean “mistress” or “sweetheart,” and rosinante, which is sometimes used to refer to an old, broken-down horse, comes from the name of the hero’s less-than-gallant steed, Rocinante.

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Word of the Day


sempiternal \sem-pih-TER-nul\
adjective: of never-ending duration : eternal
Examples:
No matter how much we try to analyze it, the question of which came first, the chicken or the egg, will be a matter of sempiternal debate.

“But by Page 10, I knew I’d never read ‘Moby-Dick.’ The novel— if you can call such an idiosyncratic book by any generic name—hit me like a storm out of nowhere. It contained a wild deluge of thoughts and ideas and sempiternal images.” — Amy Wilentz, Los Angeles Times, May 1, 2011
Did you know?
Despite their similarities, sempiternal and eternal come from different roots. Sempiternal is derived from the Late Latin sempiternalis and ultimately from semper, Latin for “always.” (You may recognize semper as a key element in the motto of the U.S. Marine Corps: semper fidelis, meaning “always faithful.”) Eternal, on the other hand, is derived by way of Middle French and Middle English from the Late Latin aeternalis and ultimately from aevum, Latin for “age” or “eternity.” Sempiternal is much less common than eternal, but some writers have found it useful. Ralph Waldo Emerson, for example, wrote, “The one thing which we seek with insatiable desire is to forget ourselves, … to lose our sempiternal memory, and to do something without knowing how or why….”

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Word of the Day


homage \AH-mij\
noun1 : something done or given as an acknowledgement of a vassal’s duty to his lord 2 a : respect b : tribute
Examples:
One scene in the movie was clearly the director’s homage to his mentor and idol.

“Click through the slideshow to preview Fili’s homage to Italian typography, including elegant signs for trattorias, … cinemas, and more.” — Erica Schwiegershausen, New York Magazine, September 17, 2014
Did you know?
The root of homage is homo-, the Latin root meaning “man.” In medieval times, a king’s male subject could officially become the king’s “man” by publicly announcing allegiance to the monarch in a formal ceremony. In that ritual, known as homage, the subject knelt and placed his hands between those of his lord, symbolically surrendering himself and putting himself at the lord’s disposal and under his jurisdiction. A bond was thus forged between the two; the vassal’s part was to revere and serve his lord, and the lord’s role was to protect the vassal and his family. Over time, homage was extended from the ceremony to the acts of duty and respect done for the lord, and eventually to any respectful act or tribute.

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Word of the Day


lyric \LEER-ik\
adjective1 : suitable for singing : melodic 2 : expressing direct usually intense personal emotion
Examples:
The critics are praising Jessica’s debut novel as a lyric masterpiece that bravely lays out the emotional tensions experienced by its young protagonist.

“Virtually all of Big Jim’s lyric digressions were on writers. When Big Jim talked about Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman or whomever, he spoke and we listened and learned.” — Frank Clancy, Savannah Morning News, September 23, 2014
Did you know?
To the ancient Greeks, anything lyrikos was appropriate to the lyre. That elegant stringed instrument was highly regarded by the Greeks and was used to accompany intensely personal poetry that revealed the thoughts and feelings of the poet. When the adjective lyric, a descendant of lyrikos, was adopted into English in the 1500s, it too referred to things pertaining or adapted to the lyre. Initially, it was applied to poetic forms (such as elegies, odes, or sonnets) that expressed strong emotion, to poets who wrote such works, or to things that were meant to be sung; over time, it was extended to anything musical or rhapsodic. Nowadays, lyric is also used as a noun naming either a type of poem or the words of a song.

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Word of the Day


turophile \TOOR-uh-fyle\
noun: a connoisseur of cheese : a cheese fancier
Examples:
Surely the turophiles at our table can recommend some good cheeses to pair with our wine selection.

“For this dish you need a special cheese from Switzerland called Raclette. It’s expensive and hard to find where I live, and it smells terrible—or, to turophiles like me, divine.” — Patty Kirk, Starting From Scratch: Memoirs of a Wandering Cook, 2008
Did you know?
Are you stuck on Stilton or gaga for Gouda? Do you crave Camembert? If so, you just might be a turophile, the ultimate cheese lover. From an irregular formation of the Greek word for cheese, tyros, plus the English -phile, meaning “lover” (itself a descendant of the Greek -philos, meaning “loving”), turophile first named cheese aficionados as early as 1938. It was in the 1950s, however, that the term really caught the attention of the American public, when Clifton Fadiman (writer, editor, and radio host) introduced turophile to readers of his eloquent musings on the subject of cheese.

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Making A Difference With Young Caribbean Minds

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