Tag: Noun

Word of the Week

punditocracy

noun

pun·​dit·​oc·​ra·​cy | \ ˌpən-dət-ˈä-krə-sē

How to pronounce punditocracy (audio) \ plural punditocracies

Definition of punditocracy

: a group of powerful and influential political commentators

Examples of punditocracy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the WebThe conservative punditocracy was swift to portray D’Souza’s indictment as an exercise in political persecution. — Time, “President Trump Says He’s Pardoning Dinesh D’Souza. Who’s That, and What Did He Do?,” 31 May 2018 The result, the punditocracy declares, will be a full-out civil war in GOP. — Charles J. Sykes, Time, “Charlie Sykes: Roy Moore Signals the End of the Republican Party,” 28 Sep. 2017 That was before the punditocracy identified the maniacal following Trump was beginning to attract, or the disdain for establishment party leaders ruminating in The Base, or some formidable combination of both. — Jack Holmes, Esquire, “Trump Laid a Despicable Attack on McCain 2 Years Ago. Not Much Has Changed.,” 18 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word ‘punditocracy.’ Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors.

First Known Use of punditocracy

1987, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for punditocracy

pundit + -cracy

Statistics for punditocracy

Bottom 20% of words

Time Traveler for punditocracy

The first known use of punditocracy was in 1987

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Word of the Week

NISUS  
[nahy-suhs]
noun an effort or striving toward a particular goal or
attainment; impulse.
QUOTES
The accumulation of wealth into a few hands is the nisus of all bad governments …
— “Ireland in 1832,” The Metropolitan, Vol. 5, No. 18, October 1832
ORIGIN
The rare noun nisus, a technical word used in various branches of philosophy and theology, comes directly from Latin nīsus, a derivative of the verb nītī and meaning “a resting of one’s weight on the ground, planting one’s feet firmly, a strong muscular effort, pressure (of forces), an endeavor, strong effort.” Nisus in the sense “effort” first appears at the end of the 17th century in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. In later usage nisus simply means “impulse.”

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Word Of The Week

dégringolade

noun

dé·​grin·​go·​lade | \ ˌdā-ˌgraⁿ(ŋ)-gə-ˈläd

How to pronounce dégringolade (audio) \

Definition of dégringolade

: a rapid decline or deterioration (as in strength, position, or condition) : downfall

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Synonyms & Antonyms for dégringolade

Synonyms

decadence, declension, declination, decline, degeneracy, degeneration, degradation, descent, deterioration, devolution, downfall, downgrade, ebb, eclipse, fall

Antonyms

ascent, rise, upswing

Did You Know?

If dégringolade looks French to you, you have a good eye. We lifted this noun directly from French, and even in English it is usually styled with an acute accent over the first “e,” as in French. The French noun in turn comes from the verb dégringoler (“to tumble down”), which itself derives from the Middle French desgringueler (from des-, meaning “down,” and gringueler, meaning “to tumble”). Although dégringolade retains the sense of a sudden tumble in English, it tends to be applied to more metaphorical situations – a rapid fall from a higher position in society, for example. These days, dégringolade is fairly rare in American English. We rely far more heavily on its familiar synonym downfall.

Examples of dégringolade in a Sentence

the sad dégringolade of the holiday from a solemn day of remembrance to just another excuse to go shopping a sad dégringolade for a theater company that once premiered important American plays

First Known Use of dégringolade

History and Etymology for dégringolade

French, from dégringoler to tumble down, from Middle French desgringueler, from des- de- + gringueler to tumble, from Middle Dutch crinkelen to make curl, from crinc, cring ring, circle

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Word of the Week

Svengali

noun [sven-gah-lee, sfen-]

a person who completely dominates another, usually with selfish or sinister motives.

How is Svengali used?

Lou Pearlman, who died on Friday in federal prison in Miami, at the age of sixty-two, was arguably the great pop Svengali of our time. John Seabrook, “We Live in the Pop-Culture World That Lou Pearlman Created,” The New Yorker, August 22, 2016

Though he comes across in his own writings as witty and self-aware, the picture that emerges decades later is of a moody, manipulative Svengali, blinded by his ego to what was really happening on the raft. A. O. Scott, “‘The Raft’ Review: A Crew of 10 Set Adrift With a Moody Svengali,” New York Times, June 6, 2019

What is the origin of Svengali?

Two terms survive from George du Maurier’s novel Trilby (1894). The first is Svengali, the evil musician who hypnotizes, controls, and exploits Trilby O’Ferrall, a young Irish girl, and makes her a great singer who is unable to perform without his help. In the stage version of the novel, the actress who played Trilby wore a sort of soft felt hat with an indented crown, now called a trilby or trilbyhat. The trilby is now commonly mistaken for a different hat, the fedora. Svengali in its extended sense of “a person who completely dominates another, usually with selfish or sinister motives” is recorded by the early 1900s.

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Word of the Week

remora

noun rem·​o·​ra \ ri-ˈmȯr-ə also ˈremərə \

Definition of remora

1: any of a family (Echeneidae) of marine bony fishes that have the anterior dorsal fin modified into a suctorial disk on the head by means of which they adhere especially to other fishes 2: hindrance, drag

Illustration of remora

Illustration of remora

Did You Know?

Also known as shark suckers or suckerfish, remoras are long, thin, dark fishes that are distributed throughout the world in warm seas. Ancient sailors believed remoras had the power to slow or even stop a ship by attaching themselves to it; the name remora, which means “delay” in Latin, arose from this ancient superstition. The poor remora’s reputation isn’t much better today. Even though remoras don’t harm their hosts, they are popularly thought of as unwanted guests who get a free ride and a free meal by way of the efforts of others. It is therefore common to see remora used metaphorically in such contexts as “hungry paparazzi who attach themselves like remoras to celebrities.”

Examples of remora in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This year, scientists tackled the sticky issue of creating strong underwater adhesives by mimicking the way remoras (also known as suckerfish) suction onto sharks. — Danielle Hall, Smithsonian, “The Top Ten Ocean Stories of 2017,” 16 Dec. 2017 When a bigger fish attacks and eats prey, the remora will detach itself and feast on the remains once its host is done. — National Geographic, “Watch: Confused Suckerfish Tries to Latch Onto Diver,” 11 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word ‘remora.’ Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors

First Known Use of remora

1567, in the meaning defined at sense

History and Etymology for remora

Late Latin, from Latin, delay, from remorari to delay, from re- + morari to delay — more at moratorium

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Word of the Week

inkhorn

play adjective INK-horn


Definition-

nounHISTORICAL

  1. a small portable container for ink.
    • denoting pedantic words or expressions used only in academic writing.modifier noun: inkhorn“I will avoid many of the inkhorn terms coined by the narratologists”

Did You Know?

Picture an ancient scribe, pen in hand, a small ink bottle made from an animal’s horn strapped to his belt, ready to record the great events of history. In 14th-century England, such ink bottles were dubbed (not surprisingly) inkhorns. During the Renaissance, learned writers often borrowed words from Latin and Greek, eschewing vulgar English alternatives. But in the 16th century, some scholars argued for the use of native terms over Latinate forms, and a lively intellectual debate over the merits of each began. Those who favored English branded what they considered ostentatious Latinisms “inkhorn terms” after the bottles carried by scholars, and since then we have used inkhorn as an adjective for Latinate or pretentious language.

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Word of the Week

Shot´-clog`

Noun

DEFINITION-

A person tolerated only because he pays the shot, or reckoning, for the rest of the company, otherwise a mere clog on them. Thou common shot-clog, gull of all companies.- Chapman.
Image result for a person tolerated

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Word Of The Week

som·nam·bu·lism[sämˈnambyəˌlizəm]

NOUN sleepwalking.

“she would have liked to wake up from her somnambulism to find herself back in bed”

ORIGIN

late 18th century: from French somnambulisme, from Latin somnus ‘sleep’ + ambulare ‘to walk’.

Image result for somnambulism definition

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