Word of the Day


interpolate \in-TER-puh-layt\
verb1 a : to change (as a text) by inserting new or foreign matter b : to insert (words) into a text or into a conversation 2 : to insert (something) between other things or parts : to make insertions 3 : to estimate values of (data or a function) between two known values
Examples:
“Ellis nicely interpolated a harpsichord solo between Bach’s two movements….” — Tom Aldridge, NUVO (Indiana), May 18, 2013

“Most scanners can scan at higher resolutions than their maximum optical resolutions by using software to interpolate more dots per inch, but you really aren’t getting any better quality.” — Jim Rossman, The Virginian-Pilot, June 23, 2014
Did you know?
“Interpolate” comes from Latin “interpolare,” a verb with various meanings, among them “to refurbish,” “to alter,” and “to falsify.” “Interpolate” entered English in the 17th century and was applied early on to the alteration (and in many cases corruption) of texts by insertion of additional material. Modern use of “interpolate” still sometimes suggests the insertion of something extraneous or spurious, as in “she interpolated her own comments into the report.”

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Word of the Day


Yooper \YOO-per\
noun: a native or resident of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan — used as a nickname
Examples:
The land of the Yoopers—the Upper Peninsula, or U.P.—is connected to Michigan’s Lower Peninsula by means of the Mackinac Bridge.

“Every Yooper I’ve ever met was an uncommonly unique character—a real salt-of-the-earth townie, skilled at mechanics, deer hunting, and/or ice fishing.” — Kelly O, The Stranger, January 29, 2014 – February 4, 2014
Did you know?
The word “Yooper” comes from the common nickname of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula—the “U.P.”—and the etymology requires the same follow-up question that a challenging joke does: “Get it?” If you’re not there yet, try saying them both out loud: Yooper, U.P. Yoopers have been saying both out loud now for about 40 years, but it’s only in recent years that those beyond the U.P. and its geographical neighbors have begun to encounter “Yooper” in use. Yoopers refer to people who live in the Lower Peninsula as “trolls” (they live “under” the Mackinac Bridge, after all), but that nickname is still at this point too regional for entry in our dictionaries.

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Word of the Day


fiduciary \fuh-DOO-shee-air-ee\
adjective1 : involving a confidence or trust 2 : held or holding in trust for another
Examples:
“While bank trust departments have a fiduciary duty to file claims on behalf of their clients, many are overworked and understaffed.” — Business Wire, September 17, 2010

“The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals decided a case in which it addressed a variety of fiduciary breaches alleged by employees participating in an employer’s 401(k) plans.” — Peter K. Bradley, Anita Costello Greer, Michael J. Flanagan, Richard W. Kaiser, Arthur A. Marrapese III and Ryan M. Murphy, Lexology.com, May 30, 2014
Did you know?
Fiduciary relationships often concern money, but the word “fiduciary” does not, in and of itself, suggest financial matters. Rather, “fiduciary” applies to any situation in which one person justifiably places confidence and trust in someone else and seeks that person’s help or advice in some matter. The attorney-client relationship is a fiduciary one, for example, because the client trusts the attorney to act in the best interest of the client at all times. “Fiduciary” can also be used as a noun for the person who acts in a fiduciary capacity, and “fiduciarily” or “fiducially” can be called upon if you are in need of an adverb. The words are all faithful to their origin: Latin “fidere,” which means “to trust.”

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Word of the Day


lèse-majesté \layz-MAJ-uh-stee\
noun1 : an offense violating the dignity of sovereign 2 : a detraction from or affront to dignity or importance
Examples:
“That kind of suppression actually harkens back … to the 1976 coup, when the penalty for lèse majesté was increased to a maximum of 15 years in prison per count.…” —David Streckfuss, Vice News, June 3, 2014

“You can look it up, but every man who beat Roger Federer this year lost his next match. Maybe there is a psychic price to pay for lèse-majesté.” — Roger Kaplan, The American Spectator, June 4, 2014
Did you know?
“Lèse-majesté” (or “lese majesty,” as it is also styled in English publications) came into English by way of Middle French, from Latin “laesa majestas,” which literally means “injured majesty.” The English term can conceivably cover any offense against a sovereign power or its ruler, from treason to a simple breach of etiquette. “Lèse-majesté” has also acquired a more lighthearted or ironic meaning, that of an insult or impudence to a particularly pompous or self-important person or organization. As such, it may be applied to a relatively inoffensive act that has been exaggeratedly treated as if it were a great affront.

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Word of the Day


walleyed \WAWL-EYED\
adjective1 : having walleyes or affected with walleye 2 : marked by a wild irrational staring of the eyes
Examples:
After getting beaned by the pitcher, the walleyed batter was immediately checked by the paramedics for signs of a concussion.

“And then after that, there’s a picture with 10-year-old me holding a dog toy, staring at the viewer, sort of walleyed.…” — Allie Brosh, NPR (Fresh Air) interview, November 12, 2013
Did you know?
The noun “walleye” has several meanings. It can refer to an eye with a whitish or bluish-white iris or to one with an opaque white cornea. It can also refer to a condition in which the eye turns outward away from the nose. The extended second sense of the adjective “walleyed” came from the appearance of eyes affected with the condition of walleye. You might guess that “walleyed” has an etymological connection with “wall,” but that’s not the case. Rather, it is derived from “wawil-eghed,” a Middle English translation of the Old Norse word “vagl-eygr,” from “vagl” (“beam”) and “eygr” (“eyed”).

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Word of the Day


instigate \IN-stuh-gayt\
verb: to cause to happen or begin : to goad or urge forward : provoke
Examples:
“The catcher instigated the collision by blocking home plate without the ball.” — Ryne Sandberg, quoted in The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 8, 2014

“U.S. and European Union officials accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of instigating the insurgency against Kiev….”— Carol J. Williams, Los Angeles Times, June 3, 2014
Did you know?
“Instigate” is often used as a synonym of “incite” (as in “hoodlums instigating violence”), but the two words differ slightly in their overall usage. “Incite” usually stresses an act of stirring something up that one did not necessarily initiate (“the court’s decision incited riots”). “Instigate” implies responsibility for initiating or encouraging someone else’s action and usually suggests dubious or underhanded intent (“he was charged with instigating a conspiracy”). Another similar word, “foment,” implies causing something by means of persistent goading (“the leader’s speeches fomented a rebellion”). Deriving from the past participle of the Latin verb “instigare,” “instigate” first appeared in English in the mid-16th century, approximately 60 years after “incite” and about 70 years before “foment.”

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Word of the Day


unregenerate \un-rih-JEN-uh-rut\
adjective1 : not spiritually reborn or converted 2 a : not reformed : unreconstructed b : obstinate, stubborn
Examples:
“She sings … in a voice that could melt the heart of the most unregenerate musical hater.” — Charles Isherwood, The New York Times, May 18, 2008

“A string of revivals later known as the Great Awakening blazed up and down the eastern seaboard—although scholars suspect that many of these new converts soon backslid into their unregenerate ways.” — Molly Worthen, The Daily Beast, June 1, 2014
Did you know?
One long-standing meaning of the adjective “regenerate” is “spiritually reborn or converted.” By the late 1500s, English speakers had added “un-” to “regenerate” to describe someone who refused to accept spiritual reformation. Since then, “unregenerate” has taken on a life of its own, gaining the extended specific meanings of “unconverted to a particular doctrinaire viewpoint,” “persisting in a reactionary stand,” or just plain “stubborn.” “Regenerate” and “unregenerate” trace back to the Latin word “genus,” meaning “birth” or “descent.”

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