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 Words that you don't see everyday

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Bài gửiTiêu đề: Re: Words that you don't see everyday   Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:15 pm

tedium or T-D-M

PRONUNCIATION:
(TEE-dee-uhm)

MEANING:
noun: The state or quality of being boring, monotonous, or repetitive.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin taedium, from taedere (to be weary).

USAGE:
"What at first seems sort of clever quickly turns into an exercise in exasperating tedium."
Brandon Fibbs; Coming of Age Movie is No 'Stand By Me'; The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colorado); Sep 10, 2010.

Explore "tedium" in the Visual Thesaurus.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all others because you were born in it. -George Bernard Shaw, writer, Nobel laureate (1856-1950)

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Bài gửiTiêu đề: Re: Words that you don't see everyday   Wed Sep 29, 2010 3:16 pm

elegy or L-E-G

PRONUNCIATION:
(EL-i-jee)

MEANING:
noun: A poem composed as a lament for the dead.

ETYMOLOGY:
Via French and Latin from Greek elegos (a mournful poem or song).

USAGE:
"Frederick Septimus Kelly wrote his best-known work, an elegy for string orchestra, in memory of his friend, poet Rupert Brooke."
Matthew Westwood; Lament for Fame's First Victim; The Australian (Sydney); Aug 18, 2006.

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A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Boredom is the feeling that everything is a waste of time; serenity, that nothing is. -Thomas Szasz, author, professor of psychiatry (b. 1920)

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Bài gửiTiêu đề: Re: Words that you don't see everyday   Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:05 am

euphemism

PRONUNCIATION:
(YOO-fuh-miz-em)

MEANING:
noun: Use of a mild, neutral, evasive, or vague term in place of one considered taboo, offensive, blunt, or unpleasant.


ETYMOLOGY:
From Greek euphemismos, from euphemos (auspicious), from eu- (good) + pheme (speaking).


EXAMPLES:
collateral damage for civilian casualties
second-hand for used
pre-owned for second-hand
pre-loved for pre-owned
budget for cheap
pass (away) for die
sanitation worker for garbage collector/janitor
convivial for drunken
The opposite of euphemism is dysphemism.


USAGE:
"Two-and-a-half months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the notorious Executive Order 9066. As a result, more than 110,000 Japanese, virtually all the Japanese-Americans on the mainland, were 'evacuated to concentration camps' in remote parts of America's mountain states. The words were his, though they were soon replaced in official parlance by the euphemism, 'reception centres'."
The Consequences of Terror, Japanese Internment in America (book review); The Economist (London); Sep 22, 2001.

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A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Boredom is a vital problem for the moralist, since at least half of the sins of mankind are caused by the fear of it. -Bertrand Russell, philosopher, mathematician, author, Nobel laureate (1872-1970)

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Bài gửiTiêu đề: Re: Words that you don't see everyday   Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:06 am

samizdat

PRONUNCIATION:
(SAH-miz-daht)

MEANING:
noun: An underground publishing system used to print and circulate banned literature clandestinely. Also, such literature.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Russian samizdat, from samo- (self) + izdatelstvo (publishing house), from izdat (to publish). Coined facetiously on the model of Gosizdat (State Publishing House).

USAGE:
"This remarkable little book (People Power Uli!) includes jokes, text messages, cartoons, and poems of the revolt. It is both funny and a valuable record of samizdat literature and Philippine popular culture."
Alastair Dingwall; Estrada's Fall From Grace; Far Eastern Economic Review (Hong Kong); Jan 17, 2002.

Explore "samizdat" in the Visual Thesaurus.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Thank everyone who calls out your faults, your anger, your impatience, your egotism; do this consciously, voluntarily. -Jean Toomer, poet and novelist (1894-1967)

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Bài gửiTiêu đề: Re: Words that you don't see everyday   Mon Oct 04, 2010 3:28 pm

Many words in the English language make use of words about relations metaphorically. To father is to be the originator of something. There are motherboards and daughterboards in electronics. To husband something is to be thrifty with it. To say (or cry) uncle is to concede defeat.
This week we feature a few words that allude to uncles and cousins. Enrich your verbal clan with the figurative use of these words.


nepotism

PRONUNCIATION:
(NEP-uh-tiz-uhm)

MEANING:
noun: Favoritism shown to relatives and friends, especially in business or political appointments.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Italian nepotismo, from Latin nepos (grandson, nephew). Ultimately from the Indo-European root nepot- (grandson, nephew) that is also the source of the words nephew and niece.

NOTES:
The word originated from the practice of popes in the Roman Catholic Church to confer important positions to their sons. Since a pope had taken the vow of chastity, his son was euphemistically called a nephew.

USAGE:
"What is not siphoned off in corruption is wasted, due to the ineptitude of those appointed on the basis of nepotism and cronyism."
Mahreen Aziz Khan; Demo-crassy Rules; The Express Tribune (Karachi, Pakistan); Sep 25, 2010.

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A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece. -John Ruskin, author, art critic, and social reformer (1819-1900)

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Bài gửiTiêu đề: Re: Words that you don't see everyday   Sun Oct 10, 2010 9:38 pm

Dutch uncle

PRONUNCIATION:
(duch UNG-kuhl)

MEANING:
noun: Someone who advises or criticizes frankly and sternly.


ETYMOLOGY:
The English and the Dutch have fought in many wars during the 17th and 18th century. Even though they are friendly with each other now, the English language still carries traces of the past animosity, demeaning the Dutch: from Dutch treat (where each must pay his or her own share), Dutch gold (imitation gold), Dutch courage (courage inspired by liquor), and so on. A Dutch uncle is the opposite of a typical uncle (kind and indulgent), he's not avuncular. You can be sure, he doesn't believe in nepotism.


USAGE:
"George Perry is the Dutch uncle some parents wished they could send their son to -- if the boy needed some straight talk."
Rayne Wolfe; Lessons & Lambs; Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, California); Jul 29, 2008.

Explore "Dutch uncle" in the Visual Thesaurus.


A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Nothing contributes more to peace of soul than having no opinion at all. -Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, scientist and philosopher (1742-1799)

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Bài gửiTiêu đề: Re: Words that you don't see everyday   Sun Oct 10, 2010 9:39 pm

cater-cousin


PRONUNCIATION:
(KAY-tuhr kuz-uhn)

MEANING:
noun: An intimate friend.


ETYMOLOGY:
The origin of the term is uncertain, though various theories have been proposed. According to one, the term is derived from French quatre-cousin (fourth cousin), implying someone who is so close as to almost be a relative, or one who is close enough to be among the fourth cousins. Another idea is that the term cater-cousin alludes to people intimate enough to be catering to each other. Finally, there's the sense of cater meaning diagonally (as in catercorner).


USAGE:
"I am charged with buying 30% of stocks through cater-cousin, Haggi Jalilov."
The Advocate Disproves Statements About His Involvement; Azer-Press (Azerbaijan); Dec 22, 2005.

"His master and he ... are scarce cater-cousins."
William Shakespeare; Merchant of Venice; c. 1600.


A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
It is not necessarily true that averaging the averages of different populations gives the average of the combined population. (Simpson's Paradox) -Edward H. Simpson, statistician (b. 1922)

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Bài gửiTiêu đề: Re: Words that you don't see everyday   Sun Oct 10, 2010 9:40 pm

avuncular

PRONUNCIATION:
(uh-VUNG-kyuh-luhr)

MEANING:
adjective: In the manner of an uncle, in benevolence, affection, or good humor.


ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin avunculus (maternal uncle), diminutive of avus (grandfather). Ultimately from the Indo-European root awo- (an adult male relative), which is also the source of atavism, uncle, and ayah.


NOTES:
Originally the term referred to a mother's brother, from avunculus meaning maternal uncle (paternal uncle was patruus). What's fascinating is how it describes an uncle: avunculus, meaning a little grandfather. The word uncle is slang for a pawnbroker, so the word avuncular could also mean like a pawnbroker.
The female counterpart of the word is materteral, meaning auntlike.


USAGE:
"Daphne Merkin wrote that Madoff, with his avuncular charm, gave individual investors the sense of being part of an extended family."
Clark Hoyt; Behind a Byline, Family Ties; The New York Times; Apr 11, 2009.

Explore "avuncular" in the Visual Thesaurus.


A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
One will rarely err if extreme actions be ascribed to vanity, ordinary actions to habit, and mean actions to fear. -Friedrich Nietzsche, philosopher (1844-1900)

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Bài gửiTiêu đề: Re: Words that you don't see everyday   Sun Oct 10, 2010 9:41 pm

cozen

PRONUNCIATION:
(KUHZ-uhn)

MEANING:
verb tr.: To trick or deceive.


ETYMOLOGY:
The origin of the word is not certain. It is perhaps from French cousiner, in the sense of one claiming to be a cousin to derive a benefit from the relationship. According to another theory, it is derived from obsolete Italian cozzonare, from Italian cozzone (horse trader), from Latin cocio (dealer). The word cousin is also slang for someone gullible.


USAGE:
"Hobart began his career in art by cozening yokels out of unregarded treasures."
Rhoda Koenig; Kicking A Dead Horse; The Independent (London, UK); Sep 12, 2008.

Explore "cozen" in the Visual Thesaurus.


A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
After the game, the king and pawn go into the same box. -Italian Proverb

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Bài gửiTiêu đề: Re: Words that you don't see everyday   Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:11 pm

sinopia


PRONUNCIATION:
(si-NO-pee-uh)

MEANING:
noun:
1. A reddish-brown color or pigment.
2. A preliminary drawing for a fresco.


ETYMOLOGY:
Via Italian and Latin, from Greek Sinope, an ancient colony and seaport in Asia Minor where this pigment was found. The word acquired its second sense from the use of the pigment in making preparatory sketches for a fresco.


USAGE:
"Lucrezia looked at the lively figures indicated in sinopia, and marveled at the lifelike quality of their gestures."
Laurie Albanese and Laura Morowitz; The Miracles of Prato: A Novel; Harper; 2010.

Explore "sinopia" in the Visual Thesaurus.


A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Men of lofty genius when they are doing the least work are most active. -Leonardo da Vinci, painter, engineer, musician, and scientist (1452-1519)

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Bài gửiTiêu đề: Re: Words that you don't see everyday   Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:12 pm

gamboge

PRONUNCIATION:
(gam-BOJ, -BOOZH)

MEANING:
noun:
1. A strong yellow color.
2. A gum resin obtained from the sap of trees of the genus Garcinia, used as a yellow pigment and as a cathartic.


ETYMOLOGY:
From Latin gambogium, variant of cambugium, after Cambodia where, among other places in Southeast Asia, this tree is found.


USAGE:
"In Li Nong's works, the marshy environment is shown as something mysterious, pleasant and beautiful even, and his play of tones probably spanning the repertoire of gamboge, and cadmium, with streaks of impastoes, add to the tactile quality."
Ooi Kok Chuen; For the Zhangs, East Meets West; New Straits Times (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia); Mar 9, 2001.

"What do you make of synaesthesia? Since a lot of your work is sensual, is finding a way of making visual emotions or reactions to particular natural or made stimuli, do you think thus, that happiness is gamboge, ennui is grey, and so on?"
Jonathan Meades; True Colours; The Times (London, UK); Mar 31, 2001.

Explore "gamboge" in the Visual Thesaurus.


A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The game of life is the game of boomerangs. Our thoughts, deeds and words return to us sooner or later with astounding accuracy. -Florence Scovel Shinn, writer, artist and teacher (1871-1940)

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Bài gửiTiêu đề: Re: Words that you don't see everyday   Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:14 pm

nankeen or nankin

PRONUNCIATION:
(nan-KEEN or nan-KIN)

MEANING:
noun:
1. A yellow or buff color.
2. A sturdy yellow or buff cotton fabric.
3. (nankeens) Trousers made of this cloth.
4. A Chinese porcelain having blue designs on a white background.


ETYMOLOGY:
After Nanking, a city in China, where it was first made, now spelled as Nanjing. Nanjing is literally "southern capital". Beijing means "northern capital".


USAGE:
"A bright, laughing face ... a traveling-dress of a nankeen color ... such were the characteristics of our fair guest."
Wilkie Collins; The Queen of Hearts: A Novel; BiblioLife; 2009.

Explore "nankeen" in the Visual Thesaurus.


A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
We think caged birds sing, when indeed they cry. -John Webster, playwright (c. 1580-1634)

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Bài gửiTiêu đề: Re: Words that you don't see everyday   Thu Oct 14, 2010 7:15 pm

Although the maple tree outside my window has been going bald since August, autumn officially began in the Northern Hemisphere only a couple of weeks ago. Other trees have joined in now. Leaves are turning yellow and brown and red and other shades in between.
This week's words in AWAD will help you describe the colors of autumn. All of these five words for colors are inspired by the names of places around the world. In our search for their origins, we'll visit Italy, China, Cambodia, and Turkey.


sienna

PRONUNCIATION:
(see-EN-uh)

MEANING:
noun: A color derived from clay, ranging from yellowish brown (in raw form) to reddish brown (when roasted).


ETYMOLOGY:
From Italian terra di Siena (earth of Siena). After Siena, a city in Italy once noted for the mining of this mineral. In its roasted form, the color is known as burnt sienna.

USAGE:
"Once you plow through the manual, you can program all your preferred settings, meaning the oven will remember just which shade of sienna you like your toast."
Melissa Clark; Compact Cookery; The New York Times; Aug 24, 2005.

Explore "sienna" in the Visual Thesaurus.


A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness. -Bertrand Russell, philosopher, mathematician, author, Nobel laureate (1872-1970)

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Bài gửiTiêu đề: Re: Words that you don't see everyday   Sat Oct 23, 2010 1:51 am

solferino

PRONUNCIATION:
(sol-fuh-REE-no)

MEANING:
noun: Purplish red color.


ETYMOLOGY:
After Solferino, a village in northern Italy, where the Battle of Solferino was fought on June 24, 1859, resulting in forty thousand casualties in a single day. The color was named so because the dye of this color was discovered shortly after the battle, and supposedly the color represented how the battlefield appeared after the bloodshed.
The immense suffering Henry Dunant witnessed in the Battle of Solferino inspired him to campaign, which led to the founding of the Red Cross.


NOTES:
Another color named in this manner is magenta (after Magenta, Italy), whose dye was discovered shortly after the Battle of Magenta (June 4, 1859).


USAGE:
"Next season we will be drenched in solferino, their having exhausted rose, magenta and fuchsia in recent years."
Frances Cawthon; Most Kids Don't Need to Know; The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Jun 16, 1986.

Explore "solferino" in the Visual Thesaurus.


A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Money often costs too much. -Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer and philosopher (1803-1882)

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Bài gửiTiêu đề: Re: Words that you don't see everyday   Sat Oct 23, 2010 1:53 am

John Montagu, Fourth Earl of Sandwich, a British politician in the eighteenth century, was so fond of gambling that he spent the whole day playing, while devouring slices of bread with a filling between them. Little did he know that his name would become eponymous with that food. From sandwich to boycott, we use numerous eponyms (words named after people) in our daily discourse. In this week's AWAD, we'll look at five not so common eponyms, derived from people real and mythical.


harlequin

PRONUNCIATION:
(HAHR-luh-kwin, -kin)

MEANING:
adjective: In varied colors.
noun: A clown.
noun: A stock comic character, masked, and dressed in a diamond-patterned multicolored costume.

ETYMOLOGY:
Via French and Italian, after Herla king, a mythical figure sometimes identified as Woden, an Anglo-Saxon god.

USAGE:
"Long, multicolored armbands and stringy dresses added flashy flair, and diamond-patterned tights resembled what a harlequin might wear."
Jamey Keaten; Galliano Aims For Hippies at Fashion Show; Associated Press (New York); Oct 9, 2004.

"Another designer had her models parading down the catwalk in 'traditional, flounced peasant blouses and full-tiered skirts in brilliant red-and-white gingham, zigzag knit and harlequin patchwork'."
Rona Dougall; Someone Save Us From Frocky Horror Shows; The Scotsman (Edinburgh, Scotland); Sep 28, 2004.

Explore "harlequin" in the Visual Thesaurus.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people. -Abraham Joshua Heschel, theology professor (1907-1972)


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Bài gửiTiêu đề: Re: Words that you don't see everyday   Sat Oct 23, 2010 1:54 am

stentorian

PRONUNCIATION:
(sten-TOR-ee-uhn)

MEANING:
adjective: Loud and powerful.

ETYMOLOGY:
In Greek mythology, Stentor was a herald in the Trojan War and noted for his loud voice. In the Iliad, Homer described his voice to be equal to the voices of fifty men. He was put to death after his defeat by Hermes (1, 2) in a shouting contest.

USAGE:
"David Beckham's legendarily stentorian and commanding voice would lend itself perfectly to a career as a rapper."
Alexis Petridis; Tara Newley's Gritty New Film; The Guardian (London, UK); Sep 9, 2010.

Explore "stentorian" in the Visual Thesaurus.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Extreme justice is extreme injustice. -Marcus Tullius Cicero, statesman, orator, writer (106-43 BCE)

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Bài gửiTiêu đề: Re: Words that you don't see everyday   Sat Oct 23, 2010 1:56 am

pharisaical

PRONUNCIATION:
(far-uh-SAY-uh-kuhl)

MEANING:
adjective: Characterized by hypocritical self-righteousness; putting emphasis on strict observance of rituals unrelated to the spirit or meaning of the ceremony.

ETYMOLOGY:
After the Pharisees, a Jewish sect during 1 BCE - 1 CE, whose members were noted for strict observance of rites and rituals, and felt superior because of it. The word is derived via Latin and Greek from Aramaic prishayya, plural of prish (separated).

USAGE:
"Then we have the pettiness and hypocrisy in the loud and pharisaical condemnation emanating from the media and the public."
Garth George; No Credit to be Found in Card Debacle; The Daily Post (Rotorua, New Zealand); Jun 18, 2010.

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A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. -Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd US President (1882-1945)

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Bài gửiTiêu đề: Re: Words that you don't see everyday   Sat Oct 23, 2010 1:57 am

luddite

PRONUNCIATION:
(LUHD-yt)

MEANING:
noun: One who opposes or avoids the use of new technology.

ETYMOLOGY:
After the Luddites, name taken by textile workers in England during 1811-1816 who destroyed machinery that was displacing them. They took the name after one Ned Ludd, whose identity is not clear. Ned Ludd is said to have destroyed, in a fit of insanity, a knitting frame in 1779. In response to the Luddites, the British parliament passed the Frame Breaking Act which made the destroying of knitting frames punishable by death.

USAGE:
"But I'm not a luddite. I'll keep my automatic coffee-maker, my computer, and my automatic dishwasher, thank you!"
Richard Packham; Elaborate Appliances Don't Justify the Cost or the Space; The News-Review (Roseburg, Oregon); Mar 21, 2010.

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A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
These are not books, lumps of lifeless paper, but minds alive on the shelves. -Gilbert Highet, writer (1906-1978)

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Bài gửiTiêu đề: Re: Words that you don't see everyday   Sat Oct 23, 2010 1:58 am

simony

PRONUNCIATION:
(SY-muh-nee, SIM-)

MEANING:
noun: Profiting from holy things, especially buying and selling of holy positions and pardons.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Simon Magus, Samaritan sorcerer in the Bible, who wanted to buy spiritual powers -- the ability to transfer the "Holy Spirit" by putting hands on someone -- from Peter.

USAGE:
"A related theme -- the preacher or moraliser unmasked -- has been richly illustrated in recent years by examples from real life: a string of corrupt American televangelists, self-appointed 'men of God', who revelled in greed, lust, and simony, the very things they were thought to be railing against."
Gilchrist; The Economist (London, UK); Nov 19, 1994.

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A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Intolerance of ambiguity is the mark of an authoritarian personality. -Theodor Adorno, philosopher and composer (1903-1969)

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Bài gửiTiêu đề: Re: Words that you don't see everyday   Wed Oct 27, 2010 5:51 pm

A recent issue of Reader's Digest magazine featured this story:

While doing a crossword puzzle, I asked for my husband's help.
"The word is eight letters long and starts with m, and the clue is 'tiresome sameness'."
"Monogamy," he answered.
-Donna-Van Note

Well, we can't help much with the tiresome sameness of monogamy, but here at Wordsmith.org we do try our best to alleviate the monotony of having to use the same words over and over again.
Here's a week of words made with various combining forms to expand your verbal repertoire. Feel free to mix and match them; try various combinations and permutations to bring a little variety, a little zest, to your lingo. The combining forms we are using this week are:
ventr- (belly), poso- (what quantity), onoma- (name), hagio- (holy), miso- (hate)
-logy (study), -mancy (divination), -latry (worship), and -gamy (marriage).




ventriloquism

PRONUNCIATION:
(ven-TRIL-uh-kwiz-uhm)

MEANING:
noun:
1. The art or practice of speaking without moving lips so that the voice seems to be coming from somewhere else.
2. The expression of one's views through another person, used as a literary technique.


ETYMOLOGY:
Literally speaking, ventriloquism is speaking from the stomach, from the former belief that the voice was produced from the ventriloquist's belly. The word is derived from Latin ventriloquus (ventriloquist), from ventr- (belly) + loqui (to speak). Earliest recorded use: 1797.

USAGE:
"'In recreating his mother as a resourceful and often hilarious character Walters's sustained act of literary ventriloquism captures the ingenuity and passion of the diasporic narrative in Canadian cultural history,' the jurors said in a statement."
Immigrant Tale Wins $10K Creative Non-Fiction Prize; CBC News (Toronto, Canada); Oct 13, 2010.

Explore "ventriloquism" in the Visual Thesaurus.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Men are not against you; they are merely for themselves. -Gene Fowler, journalist and author (1890-1960)


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Bài gửiTiêu đề: Re: Words that you don't see everyday   Wed Oct 27, 2010 5:52 pm

posology

PRONUNCIATION:
(puh-SOL-uh-jee, po-)

MEANING:
noun: The study of drug dosages.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Greek poso- (how much) + -logy (study). Earliest recorded use: 1786.

NOTES:
Physician Peter Mere Latham once said, "Poisons and medicine are oftentimes the same substance given with different intents." And different dosage, he might have added. Determining the right amount -- neither too much nor too little -- is crucial as the effect of a medicine varies by age, weight, sex, climate, etc. of the recipient. That's where posology comes in.

USAGE:
"Dan Wagner's approach involves working with a team of students, professors, local healers, midwives, and shamans to identify, collect, and mark plant samples according to protocols established in the field of posology."
J. Michael Krivyanski; From Pharmacy to Integrative Medicine; World & I (Washington, DC); Feb 2002.

Explore "posology" in the Visual Thesaurus.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
This above all: to thine own self be true, / And it must follow, as the night the day, / Thou canst not then be false to any man. -William Shakespeare, poet and dramatist (1564-1616)


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Bài gửiTiêu đề: Re: Words that you don't see everyday   Wed Oct 27, 2010 5:53 pm

onomancy

PRONUNCIATION:
(ON-uh-man-see)

MEANING:
noun: Divination by the letters of a name.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Greek onoma- (name) + -mancy (divination). Earliest recorded use: 1603.

NOTES:
Some parents name their children after careful consideration of onomancy to assure the best possible future for them. Some people alter the spelling of their names or adopt a new name in an effort to bring good fortune. Science fiction writer Isaac Asimov wrote a short story, "Spell My Name with an S", with this theme. The story was inspired by his frustration in having to ask people to spell his name (pronounced AZ-uh-mof) correctly.

USAGE:
"Kaplan and Bernays taught me all sorts of unexpected things about my name. They inspired me to try my hand at alphanumeric onomancy, in which the letters of a name are assigned numerical value, then added up to reveal occult facts about its owner."
Adam Goodheart; Naming Names: An Appellation Spring; The Washington Post; Feb 3, 1997.

Explore "onomancy" in the Visual Thesaurus.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The walls of books around him, dense with the past, formed a kind of insulation against the present world and its disasters. -Ross Macdonald, novelist (1915-1983)


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Bài gửiTiêu đề: Re: Words that you don't see everyday   Sat Oct 30, 2010 11:15 pm

misogamy


PRONUNCIATION:
(mi-SOG-uh-mee)

MEANING:
noun: Hatred of marriage.

ETYMOLOGY:
From Greek miso- (hate) + -gamy (marriage). Earliest recorded use: 1560.

USAGE:
"Misogamy drives the plot. Marriage itself is seen as a series of ratty exchanges in which partners gnaw at past infidelities."
Michael Billington; Blithe Spirit; The Guardian (London, UK); Aug 26, 2004.

Explore "misogamy" in the Visual Thesaurus.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men. -Leonardo da Vinci, painter, engineer, musician, and scientist (1452-1519)

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Bài gửiTiêu đề: Re: Words that you don't see everyday   Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:40 am

A backronym is a word or phrase re-interpreted as an acronym or an initialism. With a little ingenuity, any word can be turned into an acronym (or an initialism). SOS didn't originate as an acronym. It was a distress signal for the Morse code (...---...) devised to be easily recognizable by a radio operator listening to the chatter of multiple streams of signals. It was only a coincidence that this sequence spelled SOS in Morse Code. Later, people came up with explanations for this signal such as Save Our Souls and Save Our Ship (for another example of an ex post facto coinage, see Apgar score).
Just as a backronym comes later, a back-formation is a word that is coined after an existing word, though it appears the existing word was coined later. The verb to back-form itself is a back-formation. In this week's A.Word.A.Day we'll look at five back-formations.


comminate

PRONUNCIATION:
(KOM-uh-nayt)

MEANING:
verb tr.: To threaten with divine punishment; to curse.


ETYMOLOGY:
Back-formation from commination, from com- (intensive prefix) + minari (to threaten). Ultimately from the Indo-European root men- (project), which is also the source of minatory, menace, mountain, eminent, promenade, demean, amenable, and mouth. Earliest recorded use: 1611.

USAGE:
"I think he deserves comminating, don't you? Nancy said people like that ought to be put down, didn't you, Nancy?"
Mollie Hardwick; Malice Domestic; Fawcett; 1992.

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A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
How strange that nature does not knock, and yet does not intrude! -Emily Dickinson, poet (1830-1886)


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Bài gửiTiêu đề: Re: Words that you don't see everyday   Fri Nov 05, 2010 1:33 pm

dentulous

PRONUNCIATION:
(DEN-chuh-lus)

MEANING:
adjective: Having teeth.

ETYMOLOGY:
Back-formation from edentulous (toothless), from ex- (out of) + dens (tooth). Earliest recorded use: 1926.

USAGE:
"He was therefore prejudiced against all things calciferous or dentulous. 'I propose that the next student who is caught biting a fellow student should be removed.'"
Robert B Shampo; The Weird Thoughts and Writings of Battling Goozler; Vantage; 2009.

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A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Worth begets in base minds, envy; in great souls, emulation. -Henry Fielding, author (1707-1754)

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