7 Chinese Loanwords to expand your vocabulary

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Feng shui

Feng shui is the Chinese art of creating harmonious surroundings that enhance the balance of yin and yang, or negative and positive forces in the universe. This term comes from the Chinese words literally meaning “wind” and “water.” Architects and designers have been using the principles of feng shui to help situate buildings and graves and arrange rooms since ancient times, though the word did not enter English until the late 1700s.

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Qi

Scrabble players are sure to recognize the term qi but are less likely to know its meaning. In Chinese philosophy this term refers to vital energies within all living things in the form of breath and bodily fluids. It’s thought that a balance of qi is essential to maintain good health. It literally translates to “breath” and is believed to be regulated by acupuncture.

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Gung-ho

Gung-ho was introduced into English in 1942 via US Marine officer Evans F. Carlson, who had previously spent time in China. Carlson used this term, which literally translates to “work together,” to lift the morale of the military men he led. These men were often referred to as the “Gung Ho Battalion.”

Words 4-7 will be up in a following post later! Hope you enjoy!
All My Best,
Jill
🙂

TGIF! Here’s your quote of the day…

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I don’t think life is absurd. I think we are all here for a huge purpose. I think we shrink from the immensity of the purpose we are here for.

Norman Mailer

Norman Mailer (born January 31, 1923) didn’t just write novels like The Naked and the Dead—he was also a journalist and one of the founders of The Village Voice.

Word of the day

sessile
SES-il

adjective

Zoology. permanently attached; not freely moving.
Botany. attached by the base, or without any distinct projecting support, as a leaf issuing directly from the stem.

Quotes

And I was afraid of being grounded, sessile —stuck in one spot for eighteen years of oboe lessons and math homework that I couldn’t finish the first time around.
— Ariel Levy , “Thanksgiving in Mongolia,” The New Yorker , Nov. 18, 2013

Alfred was stretched out his full length in the sword of sun that shone through the thick branches of the sessile oak trees.
— Catherine Coulter , Rosehaven , 1997

Origin

Sessile stems from the Latin word sessilis which had a range of meanings including “fit for sitting on, low enough to sit on, and dwarfish (when referring to plants).” It entered English in the early 1700s.

It’s Thursday! The end of the week is near! So enjoy your quote of the day!

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Poetry has been the longest pleasure of my life.

Shirley Hazzard

January 30, 1931: Happy 83rd birthday, Shirley Hazzard! The well-traveled novelist was born in Australia, lived in Hong Kong as a child, and now splits her time between Capri and New York City. In 2003 she won a National Book Award for The Great Fire.

Quote

Happy Tuesday! Here’s your quote of the day…

I went to collect the few personal belongings which…I held to be invaluable: my cat, my resolve to travel, and my solitude. 

Colette

Colette (born January 28, 1873) wrote groundbreaking novels set in the Parisian demimonde—she knew the world well, having performed in a shocking pantomime act in her thirties.

It’s Sunday! Here’s your quote of the day…

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Accept who you are. Unless you’re a serial killer.

Ellen DeGeneres

January 26th, 1958: Happy 56th birthday, Ellen DeGeneres! She is best known for being a talk show host (and a dancing fool!), but in her stand-up days she was also the first female comedian to be invited to sit on the couch and chat Johnny Carson—a rare honor.

Happy Saturday! Here’s your quote of the day…

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The music in his laughter had a way of rounding off the missing notes in her soul.

Gloria Naylor

January 25, 1950: Happy 64th birthday, Gloria Naylor! Her debut novel, The Women of Brewster Place, was also her biggest hit—it won a National Book Award and has been adapted for stage and screen.

TGIF! Here’s your quote of the day…

This is one of my favorites!

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Say what you will, ’tis better to be left than never to have been loved.

William Congreve

William Congreve (born January 24, 1670) wrote plays that were hot tickets in their day, and many of his turns of phrase live on. He’s responsible for “kiss and tell,” which appeared in his play Love for Love.

Word of the day!

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Syzygy 

Amazingly, the only English word with three Ys also happens to describe a rare astronomical event involving three heavenly bodies. A syzygy is the alignment of three celestial bodies in a straight line, commonly the Earth, the Sun and the Moon. 

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