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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Word of the Week

diasporic

[ dahy-uhspawr-ik, ‐spor-ik ] 

adjective

of, being, or relating to any group that has been dispersed outside its traditional homeland, either involuntarily or by migration.

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WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF DIASPORIC?

Diasporic “of or relating to any group that has been dispersed outside its traditional homeland” is formed from the Ancient Greek noun diasporá “scattering, dispersion,” from the preposition diá “through, across” and the noun sporá “sowing, seed,” the latter from the verb speírein “to sow.” This verb comes from the Proto-Indo-European root sper- “to strew,” which is also the source of English spreadspritz, and sprout as well as Ancient Greek spérma “seed” (compare sperm) and sporás “strewn, scattered” (compare sporadic). Another possible cognate of diasporic is Latin spargere “to scatter,” the source of words such as aspersiondisperse, and sparseDiasporic was first recorded in English in the early 1800s.

HOW IS DIASPORIC USED?

During the early days of Cahokia, around 1050, emissaries from the city traveled north to sites in what is now Wisconsin, spurring the local creation of platform mounds and sculpted landscapes similar to those in the Cahokian heartland .… In each place where Cahokians remade themselves, they contended with local communities, as well as their individual memories of their homeland. Cahokian migrants made houses that mimicked those at home; they built according to celestial alignments from home; and in diasporic settings, they made iconographic designs honoring mythic heroes from their homeland.JAYUR MEHTA, “CAHOKIAN CULTURE SPREAD ACROSS EASTERN NORTH AMERICA 1,000 YEARS AGO IN AN EARLY EXAMPLE OF DIASPORA,” CONVERSATION, OCTOBER 30, 2020

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Word of the Week

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2021

butte

[ byoot ] 

noun

an isolated hill or mountain rising abruptly above the surrounding land.

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WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF BUTTE?

Butte “an isolated hill or mountain rising abruptly above the surrounding land” is a borrowing from French, in which it means “small hill, mound.” ​​In Old French, butte referred specifically to a mound or structure used for archery practice and also to the target itself, which is why modern French but means “aim, goal.” Despite its enduring place in the French language, butte was originally a borrowing from a Germanic source such as Frankish or Old Norse, in which the word meant something like “piece” or “end part.” Butte was first recorded in English in the mid-1600s.

HOW IS BUTTE USED?

Bears are a common thread among the Indigenous tribal stories about the origins of this iconic butte, and most Indigenous names for the tower reference bears. A Kiowa legend tells of seven girls who were attacked by bears. One of the girls prayed to the rock for help, and the rock began to grow, pushing the girls out of the bears’ reach. When the bears jumped to reach the girls, they fell to the ground, scratching the rock and creating the deep grooves you see in the butte.AMBER SHARE, SUBPAR PARKS: AMERICA’S MOST EXTRAORDINARY NATIONAL PARKS AND THEIR LEAST IMPRESSED VISITORS, 2021

You need a map to find Paris’s Butte aux Cailles, but that’s one of the best things about it….Incidentally, at an elevation of about 190 feet, it’s not much of a butte—just high enough up to feel better off than the rest of this rapidly changing part of Paris.DEBORAH BALDWIN, “OUI OUI, HON: BALTIMORE IN PARIS,” WASHINGTON POST, SUNDAY, JULY 13, 1997

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