Ukrainian Word of the Day
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 09, 2022
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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SYNONYM OF THE DAY
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WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 02, 2022
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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FRIDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2021
an irrational or disproportionate fear of night or nighttime darkness.
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WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF NYCTOPHOBIA?
Nyctophobia “fear of night or nighttime darkness” is a compound of the combining forms nycto- “night” and -phobia “fear.” Nycto- derives from Ancient Greek nýx, of the same meaning, and comes from the same Proto-Indo-European root, nekwt-, found in English night, German nacht, and the Latin-derived terms equinox and nocturnal. In Greek mythology, Nyx was the primordial goddess and personification of nighttime who mated with Erebus, the god of darkness, to create Aether, the god of the upper air, and Hemera, the goddess of daytime. The ending -phobia is commonly used to indicate fear, and the opposite is -philia; while nyctophobia is fear of darkness, nyctophilia is love of darkness. The ending –phobia derives from Ancient Greek phóbos “fear” (but originally “flight”), which is related to Latin fugere “to flee,” as in fugitive. Nyctophobia was first recorded in English in the early 1890s.
HOW IS NYCTOPHOBIA USED?
[F]rightening words and concepts repeated over a period of time during childhood will have long-lasting neurological and emotional consequences. Nyctophobia, a pathological fear of night and darkness, might be an extreme example of such a consequence. Yet even the most protected children sometimes believe that there’s a monster under the bed at night or a ghost outside the window in the darkness. Nor do adults stop being afraid of venturing into Central Park at night, even when they’re presented with rational and incontrovertible facts about its relative safety after dark.MARIE WINN, CENTRAL PARK IN THE DARK, 2008
“But wasn’t it dark inside the trunk?” Nora asked. “If Ashley had nyctophobia she wouldn’t have climbed in there” …. He shook his head. “I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t recognize the Ashley I knew in any of this, this witch we’ve been tracking. Curses on the floor? Nyctophobia? Ashley wasn’t afraid of the dark. She wasn’t afraid of anything.”MARISHA PESSL, NIGHT FILM, 2014
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a South Korean conglomerate, usually owned by a single family, based on authoritarian management and centralized decision-making.
WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF CHAEBOL?
Chaebol “a South Korean conglomerate” is a direct borrowing from Korean and is composed of chae “wealth, property” and pŏl “clique, faction.” However, while chaebol is a Korean term, its origins lie across the Sea of Japan; chaebol reflects the Korean pronunciation of the kanji characters that are used in Japanese to spell the word zaibatsu “a large industrial or financial conglomerate of Japan,” making chaebol the Korean loan translation of zaibatsu. Both chaebol and zaibatsu originated as borrowings from Middle Chinese dzoi “wealth” and bjot “powerful family” (compare Mandarin Chinese cái and fá). Chinese is a member of the Sino-Tibetan language family, and though neither Japanese nor Korean belongs to this family, earlier versions of the Chinese language were once heavily influential on the non-Sinitic languages of East Asia. Chaebol was first recorded in English in the 1970s.
HOW IS CHAEBOL USED?
South Korea’s family-run conglomerates are facing calls for a shakeup in their governance .… The conglomerates known as chaebol have come under the reform buzz saw before, only to emerge bigger and stronger than ever. The country’s four biggest chaebol groups account for around half the stock market’s value, according to the Korea Stock Exchange.HYUNJOO JIN, SE YOUNG LEE, AND NICHOLA SAMINATHER, “CHAEBOL REFORM AT FOREFRONT OF SOUTH KOREA PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN—AGAIN,” REUTERS, MARCH 27, 2017
Officials worry that as firms such as Naver, which began life as a search engine, and Kakao have expanded into anything from ride-hailing to personal finance, they have picked up the bad habits of the chaebol. These sprawling conglomerates were instrumental in making South Korea rich and continue to dominate its economy. But they are notorious for murky governance structures, oligopolistic business practices and close ties with the political elite.“SOUTH KOREA’S GOVERNMENT SEES TECH FIRMS AS THE NEW CHAEBOL,” ECONOMIST, SEPTEMBER 18, 2021
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