Category Archives: A Word A Day

A Word A Day


A.Word.A.Day

with Anu Garg

officious

PRONUNCIATION:
(o-FISH-uhs)

 

MEANING:
adjective:
1. Excessively eager in offering unwanted or unneeded advice or help.
2. Acting in pompous or domineering manner, especially in trivial matters.

 

ETYMOLOGY:
Earlier, someone officious was dutiful or helpful. Over time, the word acquired a negative sense. From Latin officiosus (dutiful), from officium (service). Earliest documented use: 1487.

 

USAGE:
“Zimmerman, wearing a banker’s collar and projecting an officious air into the room, continued.”
Sonia Smith; Unfriendly Climate; Texas Monthly(Austin); May 2016.

See more usage examples of officious in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

 

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:

[Destroying rain forest for economic gain] is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal. -E.O. Wilson, biologist, naturalist, and author (b. 10 Jun 1929)

This week’s theme
Words that have changed

This week’s words
ingenuous
specious
purblind
feisty
officious

A Word A Day


A.Word.A.Day

with Anu Garg

feisty

PRONUNCIATION:
(FY-stee)

 

MEANING:
adjective:
1. Spirited; full of courage, spunk, or energy.
2. Touchy, irritable, or ill-tempered.

 

ETYMOLOGY:
From feist, variant of obsolete fist, short for fisting cur, a contemptuous term for a dog, from fist, from Middle English fisten (to break wind). The word fizzle is ultimately derived from the same source. Earliest documented use: 1896.

 

USAGE:
“When did our national temperament get so feisty, so pugnacious?”
Jim Coyle; Sorry, Canadians Just Aren’t So Nice Anymore; The Toronto Star (Canada); May 29, 2016.See more usage examples of feisty in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

 

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:

Ethics, decency, and morality are the real soldiers. -Kiran Bedi, police officer and social activist (b. 9 Jun 1949)

This week’s theme
Words that have changed

This week’s words
ingenuous
specious
purblind
feisty

A Word A Day


A.Word.A.Day

with Anu Garg

specious

PRONUNCIATION:
(SPEE-shuhs)

 

MEANING:
adjective: Superficially true, but actually wrong.

 

ETYMOLOGY:
Originally, the word meant beautiful or pleasing to the sight. Over the centuries the meaning shifted to describe something that is deceptively appealing. The word is from Latin speciosus (fair, beautiful), from specere (to look). Ultimately from the Indo-European root spek- (to observe), which also gave us speculum, speciesism, soupcon,prospicient, perspicuous, omphaloskepsis, andconspectus. Earliest documented use: 1400.

 

USAGE:
“As always, exchange officials will make the final judgment and, we assume, reject specious claims.”
Health Care Caricature; The New York Times; Mar 22, 2014.

See more usage examples of specious in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

 

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:

There is always something to do. There are hungry people to feed, naked people to clothe, sick people to comfort and make well. And while I don’t expect you to save the world, I do think it’s not asking too much for you to love those with whom you sleep, share the happiness of those whom you call friend, engage those among you who are visionary, and remove from your life those who offer you depression, despair, and disrespect. -Nikki Giovanni, poet and professor (b. 7 Jun 1943)

This week’s theme
Words that have changed

This week’s words
ingenuous
specious

“All words are pegs to hang ideas on.” ~Beecher

A Word A Day


A.Word.A.Day

with Anu Garg

This year marks the centennial of the birth of Claude Shannon, the man known as the father of information theory. His contributions in the field laid the groundwork for the modern computer.

But did you know he married a computer? A computer named Betty Moore? Well, in those days a computer was a human and so was a calculator. If you wanted to use a fancy term, you might call them a numerical analyst.

The world changes and language changes with it. This week we’ll see five words that have changed. Over time all words change to some degree, but the words featured this week have taken remarkable turns.

ingenuous

PRONUNCIATION:
(in-JEN-yoo-uhs)

 

MEANING:
adjective: Guileless; innocent; frank; naive.

 

ETYMOLOGY:
The word literally means free-born. The earlier meaning of the word was noble or honorable as a free-born or native person was supposed to be. Over time the word shifted to its current meaning. From Latin ingenuus (native, free-born), from in- (into) + gignere (to beget). Earliest documented use: 1598. A related word is ingenue.

 

USAGE:
“Clementine is an ingenuous third-grader with a good heart and a particular talent for finding herself in trouble.”
Sarah Hunter; Ramona Quimby’s Cousins; The Booklist (Chicago); Jul 2014.

See more usage examples of ingenuous in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

 

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:

Fearing no insult, asking for no crown, receive with indifference both flattery and slander, and do not argue with a fool. -Aleksandr Pushkin, poet, novelist, and playwright (6 Jun 1799-1837)

 

This week’s theme
Words that have changed

This week’s words
ingenuous

A Word A Day


A.Word.A.Day

with Anu Garg

fetid

PRONUNCIATION:
(FET-tid, FEE-TID)

 

MEANING:
adjective: Having a strong unpleasant odor.

 

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin fetere (to stink). Earliest documented use: 1599.

 

USAGE:
“The more Trump ratchets up the demented rhetoric, the higher his polls go, so he is content to ride the fetid wave of a campaign based chiefly on blind bigotry and unapologetic stupidity.”
Trump’s Latest Bigotry is Pure Fantasy. But it Works; Star-Ledger (Newark, New Jersey); Nov 23, 2015. (WebCite)

See more usage examples of fetid in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

 

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:

A career is wonderful, but you can’t curl up with it on a cold night. -Marilyn Monroe, actress (1 Jun 1926-1962)

This week’s theme
Miscellaneous words

This week’s words
nitty-gritty
blag
fetid

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A Word a day


A.Word.A.Day

with Anu Garg

blag

PRONUNCIATION:
(blag)

 

MEANING:
verb tr.: To obtain something by guile; to cheat, rob, snatch, steal, scam, or beg.
noun: A robbery, con, or theft.

 

ETYMOLOGY:
Origin unknown. Earliest documented use: 1934.

 

USAGE:
“This ability to blag people into believing he [Trump] was a commercial genius was most vividly illustrated in a helicopter ride we took over New York.”
Selina Scott; The Comb-Over Creep Who Hates Women; Daily Mail (London, UK); Jan 31, 2016.

 

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:

I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars. -Walt Whitman, poet (31 May 1819-1892)

This week’s theme
Miscellaneous words

This week’s words
nitty-gritty
blag

A Word A Day


A.Word.A.Day

with Anu Garg

If you can scam someone to the tune of $35,000 (see the article linked below) and still have them vote for you, you must have fed them something strong. The secret sauce that Donald Trump has brewed has two main ingredients: hate and fear.

Hate and fear are powerful emotions. They can trump everything. At least for a short time.

If you can convince people to fear or hate someone different — a different religion, a different skin tone, a different nationality — you can have them do anything. Even vote against their self-interest.

Consider this week’s A.Word.A.Day a form of public service message. This week we’ve picked miscellaneous words from articles that shine a light on Trump’s trumpery.

We’ll include links to complete articles. Whether you vote in the US presidential elections or not, these articles are required reading.

nitty-gritty

PRONUNCIATION:
(NIT-ee GRIT-ee)

 

MEANING:
noun: The essential, practical, or most important details.

 

ETYMOLOGY:
Origin unknown. Earliest documented use: 1940.

 

USAGE:
“Boyce Chait, 84, and his wife Evelyn, 80, live in New Jersey. They demanded but were refused a refund after their $34,995 mentorship [program offered by Trump ‘University’] proved, Boyce says, ‘to be worth nothing. When it came to the nitty-gritty, there was nothing there.’
Nonetheless, Boyce said he and his wife would still ‘vote for Trump over Hillary Clinton,’ because they are members of the Tea Party.”
Steven Brill; What the Legal Battle Over Trump University Reveals About Its Founder; Time (New York); Nov 5, 2015.
Also see this.

See more usage examples of nitty-gritty in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

 

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:

Speculation is perfectly all right, but if you stay there you’ve only founded a superstition. If you test it, you’ve started a science. -Hal Clement, science fiction author (30 May 1922-2003)

This week’s theme
Miscellaneous words

This week’s words
nitty-gritty

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I, Rearrangement Servant OR Internet Anagram ServerInternet Anagram Server in News:

New York Times
Sydney Morning Herald
Globe and Mail
Jerusalem Post

Did you know that parliament is an anagram of partial men? Or,Clint Eastwood an anagram of Old West Action? Someone once said, “All the life’s wisdom can be found in anagrams. Anagrams never lie.” Here is your chance to discover the wisdom of anagrams.Did you know that parliament is an anagram of partial men? Or,Clint Eastwood an anagram of Old West Action? Someone once said, “All the life’s wisdom can be found in anagrams. Anagrams never lie.” Here is your chance to discover the wisdom of anagrams.

Find anagrams for
Advanced

 

http://www.wordsmith.org

A Word A Day


A.Word.A.Day

with Anu Garg

The English language has more than half a million words, but it wasn’t easy to find words for this week. I found them, somehow, and now your job is to find out what’s special about these words.

If you think you know the answer, send it to contest@wordsmith.org (include your location). Two readers — the first correct answer and one randomly selected from all correct answers — win a signed copy of any of my books or a copy of the word game One Up!.

One answer per person, please. Winners will be announced in this weekend’s AWADmail.

senescence

PRONUNCIATION:
(suh-NES-uhns)

 

MEANING:
noun: The process or the state of growing old.

 

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin senescere (to grow old), from senex (old). Ultimately from the Indo-European root sen- (old), which is also the ancestor of senior, senate, senile, Spanish señor, sir, sire, and surly (which is an alteration of sirly, as in sir-ly). Earliest documented use: 1695.

 

USAGE:
“It’s delightful to know that as we old-timers pass into senescence, our rivers will be in capable hands.”
Willem Lange; A Gathering of Wilderness Paddlers;Valley News (White River Junction, Vermont); Mar 8, 2016.

See more usage examples of senescence in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

 

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:

If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it. -Margaret Fuller, author (23 May 1810-1850)

This week’s theme
Yours to discover

This week’s words
senescence

A Word a Day


A.Word.A.Day

with Anu Garg

fractious

PRONUNCIATION:
(FRAK-shuhs)

 

MEANING:
adjective: 1. Irritable; cranky. 2. Unruly.

 

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin fractus, past participle of frangere (to break). Ultimately from the Indo-European root bhreg- (to break), which also gave us break, breach, fraction, and fragile. Earliest documented use: 1725.

 

USAGE:
“This is a tie that could bring an ignominious end to Mourinho’s fractious reign in Madrid.”
Oliver Holt; Thanks to Sir Alex, Jose Will Be Judged at Old Trafford; The Daily Mirror (London, UK); Feb 14, 2013.

See more usage examples of fractious in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

 

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:

Power is not revealed by striking hard or often, but by striking true. -Honore de Balzac, novelist (20 May 1799-1850)

This week’s theme
Miscellaneous words

This week’s words
factious
repudiate
blandishment
ignominious
fractious

Yesterday’s Word – A word a Day


A.Word.A.Day

with Anu Garg

ignominious

PRONUNCIATION:
(ig-nuh-MIN-ee-uhs)

 

MEANING:
adjective: Deserving or causing disgrace or shame.

 

ETYMOLOGY:
Via French, from Latin ignominia, from ig- (not) + nomen (name). Ultimately from the Indo-European root no-men- (name) which also gave us name, anonymous, noun, synonym, eponym, renown, nominate, misnomer, and moniker. Earliest documented use: 1530.

 

USAGE:
“Bureaucratic, hand-typed, without puffery or blandishment, they may be the most ignominious documents in the Jews’ 4,000-year history. They are four sheets of paper dated Sep 15, 1935, signed by Adolf Hitler, that legally excluded Jews from German life and set the groundwork for exterminating them from Europe.”
Daniel B. Wood; Some Dark Words of History Come to Light; The Christian Science Monitor (Boston, Massachusetts); Jul 1, 1999.

See more usage examples of ignominiousin Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

 

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:

Humankind is made up of two sexes, women and men. Is it possible for humankind to grow by the improvement of only one part while the other part is ignored? -Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder and the first president of Turkey (19 May 1881-1938)

This week’s theme
Miscellaneous words

This week’s words
factious
repudiate
blandishment
ignominious
fractious

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