Word of the Day for January 9th!


verb

 1. to make a crackling sound; crackle. 

Quotes

Kate could hardly remember now the dry rigid pallor of the heat, when the whole earth seemed to crepitate viciously with dry malevolence; like memory gone dry and sterile, hellish.
– D. H. Lawrence, The Plumed Serpent, 1926

When she came into the room, shaking rain-pearls from the hem of her black coat, I could feel her excitement–when she was like that the air around her seemed to crepitate as if an electric current were passing through it.
– John Banville, Athena, 1995

Origin

Crepitate derives from Latin crepitātus, the past participle of crepitāre “to rattle, rustle, chatter,” a frequentative verb from crepāre and having the same meaning. The word entered English in the 17th century and meant “to break wind, fart,” a meaning that crepitāre had in Latin; the word’s politer senses date from the 19th century. 

Word of the Day for July 5th

  • noun

1. the art of writing words with the proper letters, according to accepted usage; correct spelling. 

 2. the part of language study concerned with letters and spelling. 

 3. a method of spelling, as by the use of an alphabet or other system of symbols; spelling. 

 4. a system of such symbols: Missionaries provided the first orthography for the language. 

 5. an orthographic projection, or an elevation drawn by means of it. 

  • Quotes

… at bottom I disrespect our orthography most heartily, and as heartily disrespect everything that has been said by anybody in defence of it. Nothing professing to be a defence of our ludicrous spellings has had any basis, so far as my observation goes, except sentimentality.
– Mark Twain, “Chapters from My Autobiography,” North American Review, Volume CLXXXV, 1907

“Pardon me, sir. An urgent message just come on the despatch cart.” “‘Came,’ Constable.” The inspector examined the note. “Extraordinary. It seems, Constable Thackeray, that someone is asking me to release you from my class. I shall not refuse. Since the finer points of orthography have eluded you for so long, I am sure that they can wait another week.
– Peter Lovesey, Abracadaver, 1972

  • Origin

Orthography stems from the Greek word orthós meaning “straight, upright, correct.” It entered English in the early 1400s. 

Word of the Day for June 29th

adjective

 1. going beyond the requirements of duty. 

 2. greater than that required or needed; superfluous. 

  • Quotes

The manner of the Quartermaster had that air of supererogatory courtesy about it which almost invariably denotes artifice; for, while physiognomy and phrenology are but lame sciences at the best, the perhaps lead to as many false as right conclusions, we hold that there is no more infallible evidence of insincerity of purpose, short of overt acts, than a face that smiles when there is no occasion, and the tongue that is out of measure smooth.
– James Fenimore Cooper, The Pathfinder, 1840

But you are always given to surprise me with abundant kindness–with supererogatory kindness. I believe in that, certainly.
– Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Elizabeth Barrett Browning to H. S. Boyd, August 14, 1844

  • Origin

Supererogatory stems from the Medieval Latin superērogātōrius, with the root word ērogāre meaning “to pay out.” It entered English in the late 1500s. 

Word of the Day for June 28th

  • adjective

 1. (of a usually complicated technical or computer process) done, operating, or happening in a way that is hidden from or not understood by the user, and in that sense, apparently “magical”: I just downloaded an automagical update to my word processing software that somehow fixed the problems. 

  • Quotes

According to Sterling, the result “is that I no longer inventory my possessions inside my own head. They’re inventoried through an automagical inventory voodoo, work done far beneath my notice by a host of machines. I no longer bother to remember where I put things.”
– Marcus Boon, In Praise of Copying, 2010

 

The scientific community calls this approach “automagical” … The manufacturer wants us to believe in–and trust–the magic. Even when things work well, it is somewhat discomforting to have no idea of how or why.
– Donald A. Norman, The Design of Future Things, 2007

  • Origin

Automagical entered Engish in the 1980s. Its first element, auto, stems from the Greek autómatos meaning “self-moving”; magical can be traced to the Greek magikós. 

Word of the Day!

Word of the Day : April 5, 2016

declension
noun dih-KLEN-shun

Definition

1 : the inflectional forms of a noun, pronoun, or adjective

2 : a falling off or away : deterioration

3 : descent, slope

Examples

The most common declension in modern English is the set of plural nouns marked as plural with a simple “-s.”

“You jump in and begin seeing and hearing simple words in the foreign language and start translating, learning nouns, verbs, and other parts of speech without memorizing declensions and without tears.” — Reid Kanaley, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 2 May 2016

Did You Know?

Declension came into English (via Middle French) in the first half of the 15th century, originating in the Latin verb declinare, meaning “to inflect” or “to turn aside.” The word seems to have whiled away its time in the narrow field of grammar until Shakespeare put a new sense of the word in his play Richard III in 1593: “A beauty-waning and distressed widow / … Seduc’d the pitch and height of his degree / To base declension and loath’d bigamy.” This “deterioration” sense led within a few decades to the newest sense of the word still in common use, “descent” or “slope.” The 19th century saw still another new sense of the word—meaning “a courteous refusal”—but that sense has remained quite rare. 

Listen to the Word of the day!

Make it a Great Day!

XX Jill

Here is Saturday’s Word of the Day…

  

groggery 

  • noun

 1. a slightly disreputable barroom. 

Quotes

P. Dusenheimer, standing in the door of his uninviting groggery, when the trains stopped for water, never received from the traveling public any patronage except facetious remarks upon his personal appearance.
– Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner, The Gilded Age, 1873

A volleyball court seemed to occupy the confectioner’s shop, the confectioner was nearly on top of the bridal shop, and the bridal shop had insinuated itself into the groggery next door.
– Lawrence Millman, “The Bay Islands,” Islands, February, 1994

Origin

Groggery is an Americanism formed on the basis of the word grog meaning “a strong alcoholic drink.” It entered English in the early 1800s. 

Here’s an interesting word for our word of the day! 😊

  

adjective

 1. pertaining to, situated in, or forming small or narrow spaces or intervals between things or parts. 

 2. Anatomy. situated between the cells of a structure or part: interstitial tissue. 
noun

 1. Crystallography. an imperfection in a crystal caused by the presence of an extra atom in an otherwise complete lattice. 

Quotes

Philosophy should never have been purified. Rather than being seen as a problem, “dirty hands” should have been understood as the native condition of philosophic thought–present everywhere, often interstitial, essentially interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary in nature. Philosophy is a mangle. The philosopher’s hands were never clean and were never meant to be.
– Robert Frodeman and Adam Briggle, “When Philosophy Lost Its Way,” New York Times, January 11, 2016

We are come to a world within the world. In these alien reaches, these maugre sinks and interstitial wastes that the righteous see from carriage and car another life dreams.
– Cormac McCarthy, Suttree, 1979

Origin

Interstitial derives from the Latin interstitium meaning “interstice” or “an intervening space.” It entered English in the mid-1600s. 

Word of the day for Friday, 29th of January 

  

noun

 1. a highest point or state; culmination. 

 2. the point on the celestial sphere vertically above a given position or observer. 

Quotes

And at the zenith of his fame, how he would suddenly appear at the old village and stalk into church, brown and weather-beaten, in his black velvet doublet and trunks, his great jack-boots, his crimson sash, his belt bristling with horse pistols, his crime-rusted cutlass at his side, his slouch hat with waving plumes, his black flag unfurled, with the skull and crossbones on it, and hear with swelling ecstasy the whisperings, “It’s Tom Sawyer the Pirate!–the Black Avenger of the Spanish Main!”
– Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, 1876

Hence it can hardly be wondered at that as his learning accumulated his practice dissolved, until at the very moment when he had attained the zenith of his celebrity he had also reached the nadir of his fortunes.
– Arthur Conan Doyle, The Mystery of Cloomber, 1889

Origin

Zenith comes from the Middle English cenith, which in turn traces back to the Old Spanish zenit. The lineage continues to the Arabic samt meaning “road” as in samt ar-rās, “road above one’s head.” 

Today’s Word Fact is Whom

  

Over the last 200 years, the pronoun whom has been on a steady decline. Despite its waning use in speech and ongoing speculation about its imminent extinction, whom still holds a spot in the English language, particularly in formal writing. Understanding when and how to use this embattled pronoun can set your writing apart.

Whom is often confused with who. What’s the difference between these two pronouns? Who is a subjective-case pronoun, meaning it functions as a subject in a sentence, and whom is an objective-case pronoun, meaning it functions as an object in a sentence. Who, like I, he, she, and they, performs actions, as in Who rescued the dog? (who is doing the rescuing in this sentence). Whom, like me, him, her, and them, is acted on, as in Whom did you see? (whom is being seen here, not doing the seeing). Whom more commonly appears when it follows a preposition, as in the salutation To Whom it may concern (Does it concern he? No. Does it concern him? Yes.) or in the title of Ernest Hemingway’s 1940 novel For Whom the Bell Tolls.

How do you decide which one to use? When in doubt, substitute him (sometimes you’ll have to rephrase the sentence) and see if that sounds right. If him is OK, then whom is OK. If the more natural substitute is he, then go with who. For example: You talked to whom? It would be incorrect to say You talked to he? but saying You talked to him? makes grammatical sense.

That said, in informal speech and writing, speakers will often opt for who where whom has traditionally been used. This choice sounds more natural and less formal to most native English speakers.

Do you ever use whom?

Please let me know if you’ve had trouble with whom in the past, I know I did! 

Does this help with when and where to use it?

Have a wonderful day!

All My Best, 

Jill