Posts Tagged: word of the day

Word of the Day: Virago

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(n.); manlike or heroic woman; a woman of extraordinary stature, strength and courage; a domineering, violent or bad-tempered woman “I would also observe that it is, potentially, culturally catastrophic to have the ephemera of a previous century squatting possessively on the cultural stage and refusing to allow this surely unprecedented era to develop a culture […]

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Word of the Day: Mundificative

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(n.); a cleansing medicine or preparation; (adj.) able to cleanse, especially a wound “Art begins in a wound, an imperfection—a wound inherent in the nature of life itself—and is an attempt either to live with the wound or to heal it.” –John Gardner, Grendel The idea of creative expression as a healing experience has been […]

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Word of the Day: Amphigory

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(n.); a nonsense verse; specifically, a poem designed to look and sound good, but which has no meaning upon closer reading; from the French amphigouri. “Just imagine a typeface that could inspire empathy inherently based on the softness of a letter’s apex or by increasing or decreasing negative space in characters.” –Liz Stinson, “Can Typography […]

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Word of the Day: Vergence

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(n.); simultaneous movement of eyes toward or away from one another; c. 1902 in ophthalmology “Some days I can move the mower slowly, along lazy paths. … On other days, when rain beckons and the grass looks nearly knee-high, I need to scorch green earth. More often, I simply head out to the lawn with […]

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Word of the Day: Quiddity

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(n.); the essence or inherent nature of a person or thing; an eccentricity; an odd feature; a trifle, nicety or quibble; from the Latin quid (“what”) “He was friendly, polite, and deeply interested in even the fine points I raised, and to my astonishment accepted a number of my changes, later saying that he had […]

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Word of the Day: Miasma

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(n.); noxious exhalations from putrid organic matter; poisonous effluvia or germs polluting the atmosphere; a dangerous, foreboding, or deathlike influence or atmosphere “If the Internet is a bridge to the greater world, a troll is the beast who lives under it, extracting a toll in hurt feelings, outraged sensibilities and fear from all who pass.” […]

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Word of the Day: Eschaton

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(n.); the last thing, as a theological reference to the climax of history at Judgment Day; the day at the end of time following Armageddon when God will decree the fates of all human beings; from the ancient Greek eskhatos (“end”) “My mind moves toward apocalypse fictions the way we think about a forgotten friend, […]

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Word of the Day: Cardialgia

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(n.); pain near or in the heart; suffering from or exhibiting overwhelming sorrow, grief or disappointment, particularly due to romantic love; heartburn “Deadly grief is not about stress alone, scientists say. It shines a light on the physiological bonds of love.” –Kirsten Weir, “Can You Die From a Broken Heart?” “You’ll be the death of […]

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Word of the Day: Refection

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(n.); nourishment; refreshment by food or drink; a meal, especially a light one; refreshment of the mind, spirit or body “A cognitive scientist and a German philosopher walk in the woods and come across a tree in bloom: What does each one see? And why does it matter?” –Lawrence Berger, from “Being There: Heidegger On […]

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Word of the Day: Esemplasy

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(n.); unification; to make into one; the unifying power of imagination; accredited to Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) “Austen is far from superficial … Her books are intimate and compelling. She has a voice that somehow seems to chime even with a modern sensibility. She is, in essence, timeless.” –Alexander McCaul Smith, from “The Secret of […]

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Word of the Day: Nescient

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(adj.); absence of knowledge or awareness; ignorance; from Late Latin ne (“not”) + sciential (“knowledge”) “Prejudice is the child of ignorance.” –William Hazlitt, from his essay “On Prejudice.” There is any number of cliches to draw upon when describing ignorance. It is bliss; it is strength; it is not a crime; it is the enemy […]

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Word of the Day: Antithalian

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(adj.); opposed to mirth, festivity, or fun “For many of us, these systems provided a foundation for our childhood and opened the door to vast electronic worlds to explore, hack, experiment, and fail within. They taught us how to learn, compete, strategize, think critically, and, through multiplayer games, even socialize. They also taught us another, […]

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Word of the Day: Agacerie

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(n.); allurement, enticement, coquetry; flirtation; from the French agacer (“to tease”) Fictional characters – unlike the messy organisms from which they derive – float free from the sordid contingencies of the body, because, no matter how convincingly they’re portrayed as being embodied, the medium within which they operate is, self-evidently, a mental one. –Will Self, […]

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Word of the Day: Euonymous

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(adj.); having a well or suitable name From Dickens with his bitter Gradgrind to J. K. Rowling with her sour Voldemort, authors have long understood that names help establish character. —Neal Gabler, from “The Weird Science of Naming Things” A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet… wouldn’t it? Perhaps, or perhaps not. […]

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Word of the Day: Anopisthographic

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(adj.); inscribed only on one side; c. 1870-75 “As literary quarrels go, [Boisrobert’s denunciation of Homer] was a particularly good one, because it wasn’t really about technique but about the quality of ideas, about the relationship between knowledge and innovation, and not least about the value of originality.” —Arthur Krystal, “What We Lose if We […]

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Word of the Day: Ubeity

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(n.); the condition or quality of being in a place, of being located or situated; whereness or ubication; from the Latin ubi (“where”) “I love repetition. I love doing the same thing at the same time and in the same place, day in and day out. I love it because something happens in repetition: Sooner […]

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Word of the Day: Atrabilious

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(adj.); gloomy, morose, or morbid; bad-tempered, irritable; from the Latin agra bili(s) (“black bile”) “Caleb stopped, massaged, then stopped again, as though he felt something under the skin. ‘Too big to be a morphine pump,’ he said cheerfully. At 32 years old, fresh-faced and boyishly handsome, he looks less like an undertaker than like the […]

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Word of the Day: Epimythium

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(n.); the moral appended to the end a story or fable; from the Greek epi (“upon”) + muthos (“story, fable”) “Once upon a time there was a princess who went out into the forest and sat down at the edge of a cool well.” —Excerpt from “The Frog King, or Iron Henry” in Jack Zipes’s Original […]

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Word of the Day: Venatic

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(adj.); of or relating to hunting; fond of hunting, whether for sport or livelihood; from the Latin venari (“to hunt”) “Love her or hate her, Banksy is putting herself at the intersection of the street and the art world. Why would anyone expect that position to be occupied by a man?” —Kriston Capps, “Why Banksy […]

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Word of the Day: Vaticinate

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(v.);  to prophesy or foretell the future; from the Latin vati– (“seer”) + -cin-, combining form of canere (“to sing, prophesy”) “Louisiana, Louisiana, They’re tryin’ to wash us away. They’re tryin’ to wash us away.” —Randy Newman, from “Louisiana 1927.” Much has been written on the subject of the human race’s fear of the unknown: […]

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Word of the Day: Periculous

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(adj.); dangerous or full of peril; from the latin periculum (“an attempt, risk”) I’m normal. I live in a nice apartment. I think one thing [guys like Burroughs] didn’t have that I have is the Internet. The Internet is the biggest conduit of psychic violence since television. –Blake Butler, in an interview with The Believer […]

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Word of the Day: Dépaysé

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(adj.); out of one’s element; situated in unfamiliar surroundings; from the Old French despaisier (to exile) As a species, we’ve somehow survived large and small ice ages, genetic bottlenecks, plagues, world wars, and all manner of natural disasters, but I sometimes wonder if we’ll survive our own ingenuity. —Diane Ackerman, in “Nature, Pixellated” Camping, cottages, […]

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