Word Of The Day

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Word Of The Week

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 30, 2022

abient

[ ab-ee-uhnt ]SHOW IPA 

adjective

tending to move away from a stimulus or situation.

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WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF ABIENT?

Abient “tending to move away from a stimulus or situation” comes from the Latin term abiēns (stem abient-) “going away,” the present participle of the verb abīre “to go away, exit, depart.” Abīre is formed from the preposition ab “from, away” and the verb īre “to go,” which has two stems: -ient and -it. The verb īre also gives rise to ambīre “to go around,” inīre “to go into, begin,” and trānsīre “to go across, cross,” and to see evidence of all these Latin verbs in English today, compare ambient and ambitioninitial and initiate, and transient and transit. The -it stem also pops up in circuit (from Latin circumīre“to go round, circle”), exit (from exīre“to go out”), and even obituary (from obīre “to go toward,” often used euphemistically in the sense “to meet one’s death”). Abient was first recorded in English in the early 1930s.

HOW IS ABIENT USED? 

In the case of negative affect, the motivating experience can be best described, not as punishing, but as experience that tends to be psychologically noxious and difficult to tolerate. Such experience instigates abientbehavior—behavior that tends to produce avoidance and to reduce attention to and/or communion with the object of the affect when there is an object.

CHARLES D. SPIELBERGER, “AFFECT AND BEHAVIOR: ANXIETY AS A NEGATIVE AFFECT,” ANXIETY AND BEHAVIOR, 1966

To avoid writing, I engage in abientbehavior: walking the dog, cleaning the floor, ironing T-shirts, or reading junk mail.

NATALIE HARWOOD, THE COMPLETE IDIOT’S GUIDE TO LEARNING LATIN, 2003

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(Ukrainian) Word Of The Week

Ukrainian Word of the Day

2022-03-1616

benner
 бачити
PRONOUNCED LIKE~bachyty

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DEFINITION~SEE

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Word Of The Week

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 09, 2022

eggcorn

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eg-kawrn ] SHOW IPA  

a word or phrase that is a seemingly logical alteration of another word or phrase that sounds similar and has been misheard or misinterpreted.

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WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF EGGCORN?

Eggcorn “a seemingly logical alteration of a misheard word or phrase” is a coinage by linguistics professor Geoffrey K. Pullum based on the word acorn. The logic here is that people unfamiliar with the term acorn (from Old English æcern) may mistake the word as a compound of egg and corn because of acorns’ size and shape. An eggcorn is a type of folk etymology based on an honest mistake, as we saw in the etymology for the recent Word of the Day armscye, which is often incorrectly believed to come from “arm’s eye,” after the location and shape of an armscye. What makes something an eggcorn is that, unlike folk etymology proper, which results in a change to a word or phrase based on a nearly universal misconception, eggcorns tend to reflect common mistakes at the individual level—no matter how widespread these mistakes may be—that do not change the spelling of the mistaken word or phrase. Also important is that eggcorns are based on logical misunderstandings, so not every gross misspelling on the average social media feed qualifies as an eggcorn. While eggcorn is attested as early as the early 19th century, its present sense dates from 2003.

HOW IS EGGCORN USED?

Whether step foot in is, or originally was, an eggcorn has been hotly but inconclusively debated. However, no one argues that set foot in is anything other than standard English. So step foot in is one of those phrases that we’re probably better off not using even though there’s little reason to object if others use them.

BARBARA WALLRAFF, “WORD COURT,” THE ATLANTIC, SEPTEMBER 2006

New York Times columnist Frank Bruni wrote …. “the Congress we’re about to get will be its [predecessor’s] spit and image: familiar faces, timeworn histrionics, unending paralysis.” Spit and image? …. Did Bruni just drop an eggcorn in America’s journal of record? …. As Language Log points out, he didn’t drop (lay?) an eggcorn at all. In fact, “spit and image” is the older version of the expression. Both may be alterations of an earlier form, “spitten image.”

DAVID SHARIATMADARI, “THAT EGGCORN MOMENT,” THE GUARDIAN, SEPTEMBER 16, 2014

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Word of the Day

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 02, 2022

gnomon

noh-mon ] SHOW IPA

noun

the raised part of a sundial that casts the shadow; a style.

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WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF GNOMON?

Gnomon “the raised part of a sundial that casts the shadow” is a borrowing by way of Latin gnōmōn from Ancient Greek gnṓmōn “interpreter, discerner.” From there, gnṓmōn is derived from the verb gignṓskein (stem gnō-) “to know, perceive, judge,” and the stem gnō- also appears in other Ancient Greek-origin terms such as agnostic (literally “without knowledge”) and diagnosis (literally “means of discernment”). Because Ancient Greek and Latin are distantly related, Latin contains numerous words related to knowledge that also feature the telltale gn- element, including cognitive (“learned”), incognito (“unknown”), ignorant (“not knowing”), and recognize (“know again”). Gnomon was first recorded in English in the 1540s.

HOW IS GNOMON USED?

The pork clock was excavated in the 1760s from the ruins of the Villa dei Papiri, a grand country house in the Roman town of Herculaneum. Early scholars were quick to realize that the unprepossessing object was a sundial, though some experts argued that it was modeled after a water jug rather than a ham …. The original clock is missing its gnomon, the part of a sundial that casts a shadow, but an 18th-century museum curator described it having one in the shape of a pig’s tail…TRACI WATSON, “ANCIENT SUNDIAL SHAPED LIKE HAM WAS ROMAN POCKET WATCH,” NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, JANUARY 19, 2017

Though not exactly a clock, the Samrat Yantra—or supreme instrument—is the largest sundial in the world, measuring more than 88 feet in height. Made of marble and local stone with a gnomon that stands at 90 feet, this time-keeping attraction can tell accurate time, with just a two-second margin of error, day or night.“TRAVEL PICKS: TOP 10 CLOCKS AROUND THE WORLD,” REUTERS, APRIL 5, 2013

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Word Of The Day

contumacious

adjective

stubbornly perverse or rebellious; willfully and obstinately disobedient.

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Contumacious “stubbornly perverse or rebellious” is derived from the noun contumacy “obstinate resistance to authority,” ultimately from the Latin adjective contumāx “unyielding, stubborn.” The -tum- element in contumāx is of uncertain origin, but there are two hypotheses. The definition-based theory connects -tum- to the verb temnere “to despise,” which is also the source of the stem tempt-, as in contempt, while the spelling-based theory connects -tum- to the verb tumēre “to swell,” the source of tumescent and tumorContumacious was first recorded in English in the 1590s.

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