March 18 2019

Word of the Week

SOS

The letters signified by the signal ( . . . — . . . ) prescribed by the International Radiotelegraphic Convention of 1908 for use by ships in distress.

SOS was chosen as the universal distress signal because this combination of three dots followed by three dashes followed by three dots (…—…), was easy to send and easily recognized, especially since they were usually sent as a nine-character signal, which stood out against the background of three-character Morse Code letters.

The letters themselves are meaningless. SOS does not stand for Save Our Souls, Save Our Ship, Stop Other Signals, or Sure Of Sinking.

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March 15 2019

Word of the Week

Treacle

trea·cle[ˈtrēk(ə)l]NOUN

treacles (plural noun) BRITISHa

thick, sticky dark syrup made from partly refined sugar; molasses. cloying sentimentality or flattery.” enough of this treacle—let’s get back to business

“ORIGIN”

Middle English (originally denoting an antidote against venom): from Old French triacle, via Latin from Greek thēriakē ‘antidote against venom’, feminine of thēriakos (adjective), from thērion ‘wild beast British

Current senses date from the late 17th century.

March 6 2019

Word of the Week

abecedarian 

adjective | ay-bee-see-DAIR-ee-un  
Definition
 
1: a: of or relating to the alphabet
  b : alphabetically arranged
  2: rudimentary
Did You Know?
 
The history of abecedarian is as simple as ABC—literally. The term’s Late Latin ancestor, abecedārius (which meant “alphabetical”), was created as a combination of the letters A, B, C, and D, plus the adjective suffix -arius; you can hear the echo of that origin in the pronunciation of the English term (think “ABC-darian”). In its oldest documented English uses in the early 1600s, abecedarian was a noun meaning “one learning the rudiments of something”; it specifically referred to someone who was learning the alphabet. The adjective began appearing in English texts a few decades after the noun.
Examples of ABECEDARIAN
 
The children recited an abecedarian chant, beginning with “A is for apple” and ending with “Z is for zebra.”   “Aficionados of Sue Grafton’s popular detective novels starring Kinsey Millhone will not be disappointed by S is for Silence, Grafton’s 19th book in her abecedarian series launched in 1982 with A is for Alibi.” — Jan Collins, The State (Columbia, South Carolina), 11 Dec. 2005
February 25 2019

Word of the Week

con·cin·ni·ty

Pronounced~[kənˈsinədē]

NOUN rare – the skillful and harmonious arrangement or fitting together of the different parts of something. studied elegance of literary or artistic style.

ORIGIN mid 16th century: from Latin concinnitas, from concinnus ‘skillfully put together’.

February 22 2019

Word of the Week

minion

 

noun MIN-yun

Definition

1 : a servile dependent, follower, or underling

2 : one highly favored : idol

3 : a subordinate or petty official

Did You Know?

Minion comes to us from Middle French and has a somewhat surprising cousin in English: filet mignon. The two words are connected by way of Middle French mignon, meaning “darling.” Minionentered English around 1500 directly from Middle French, whereas filet mignon arrived significantly later by way of a modern French phrase meaning “dainty fillet.” The earliest uses of minion referred to someone who was a particular favorite, or darling, of a sovereign or other important personage. Over time, however, the word developed a more derogatory sense referring to a person who is servile and unimportant.

February 19 2019

Word Of The Week

ob·fus·cate
[ˈäbfəˌskāt]

VERB
obfuscates (third person present) · obfuscated (past tense) · obfuscated (past participle) · obfuscating (present participle)
render obscure, unclear, or unintelligible.
“the spelling changes will deform some familiar words and obfuscate their etymological origins”
synonyms:
obscure · confuse · make obscure/unclear · blur · muddle · jumble · complicate · garble · muddy · cloud · befog · muddy the waters
antonyms:
clarify
bewilder (someone).
“it is more likely to obfuscate people than enlighten them”
synonyms:
bewilder · mystify · puzzle · perplex · baffle · confound · bemuse · befuddle · nonplus · flummox · wilder · maze · gravel

ORIGIN
late Middle English: from late Latin obfuscat- ‘darkened’, from the verb obfuscare, based on Latin fuscus ‘dark’.

February 13 2019

Word of the Week

thes·pi·an[ˈTHespēən]

ADJECTIVE relating to drama and the theater. “thespian

talents”

synonyms:

stage · dramatic · thespian · dramaturgical · show-business · showbiz · histrionic · theatric

NOUN  thespians (plural noun) an actor or actress.

synonyms:

entertainer · performer · trouper · showman · artist · player · musician · singer · dancer · actor · actress · thespian · comic · comedian · comedienne · clown · impressionist · mime artist · conjuror · magician · acrobat · star · superstar · executant

ORIGIN late 17th century: from the name Thespis + -ian.

February 7 2019

Word of the Week

ob·fus·cate
[ˈäbfəˌskāt]

VERB
obfuscates (third person present) · obfuscated (past tense) · obfuscated (past participle) · obfuscating (present participle)
render obscure, unclear, or unintelligible.
“the spelling changes will deform some familiar words and obfuscate their etymological origins”
synonyms:
obscure · confuse · make obscure/unclear · blur · muddle · jumble · complicate · garble · muddy · cloud · befog · muddy the waters
antonyms:
clarify
bewilder (someone).
“it is more likely to obfuscate people than enlighten them”
synonyms:
bewilder · mystify · puzzle · perplex · baffle · confound · bemuse · befuddle · nonplus · flummox · wilder · maze · gravel

ORIGIN
late Middle English: from late Latin obfuscat- ‘darkened’, from the verb obfuscare, based on Latin fuscus ‘dark’.

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