Tuesday’s Word of the Week 12-19-2017

paludal

[puh-lood-l, pal-yuh-dl]

Adjective


Definition

of or relating to marshes

produced by marshes, as miasma or disease.


Examples

 We durst not … make a sudden leap, princum-prancum!, from the pleasant land of Hesse, the German garden, to marshy Dublin, its paludal heavens, its big winds and rains and sorrows and puddles of sky-flowers…

— Samuel Beckett (1906–1989), Dream of Fair to Middling Women, 1992


Origin

The English adjective paludal is formed from Latin palūd- (stem of palūs) “swamp, marsh, fen.” The noun palude “swamp, fen” existed in English from the time of Geoffrey Chaucer (1340?–1400), who first used it, to Richard Hakluyt (1552?–1616), the English geographer and editor whose works greatly influenced Shakespeare (1564–1616). Hakluyt used Palude as a part of a place name, as in “the Palude or marshes of Venice.” Italian also uses palude as a common noun and as a place name, in the form Paludo, e.g., San Giacomo in Paludo (a small island in the Venetian lagoon). Italian also has the family name Padula, a metathesized form of palude, for someone who lived in or near a fen or swamp. Paludal entered English in the 19th century.


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Tuesday’s Word of the Week 12-5-2017

muscadin

noun


Definition

A dandy; a fop.


Examples

But he was awake, and he sat up promptly when the young muscadin from Paris was roughly thrust into his room by the soldiers.
The Historical Nights’ Entertainment First Series

My amusements were few; the good Mrs. Putnam employed me and her daughters constantly to spin flax for shirts for the American soldiers; indolence, in America, being totally discouraged; and I likewise worked some for General Putnam, who, though not an accomplished muscadin, like our dilletantis of St. James’s-street, was certainly one of the best characters in the world; His heart being composed of those noble materials which equally command respect and admiration.
Memoirs of Aaron Burr

Gandrin, what did you mean by saying that that young man was no muscadin!
The Parisians — Complete

 


Origin

The term Muscadin (French: [myskadɛ̃]), meaning “wearing musk perfume”, came to refer to mobs of young men, relatively well-off and dressed in a dandyish manner, who were the street fighters of the Thermidorian Reaction in Paris in the French Revolution


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Tuesday’s Word of the Week 11-28-2017

cafila

noun

ca·fi·la \ ˈkafələ , ˈkä- \


Definition

1. A caravan of travelers; a military supply train or government caravan; a string of pack horses.


Examples

They were large animals — nearly of the shape and size of small horses — and travelling in single file; as they were, the troop at a distance presented something of the appearance of a “cafila,” or caravan.
Popular Adventure Tales

Thereupon mounting on the camel, he proceeded along with the cafila.
The Turkish Jester or, The Pleasantries of Cogia Nasr Eddin Effendi

This is a case much dwelt on by the old travellers, and which throws a gloom over the spirits of all Bedouins, and of every cafila or caravan. Narrative and Miscellaneous Papers


Origin

The word ‘cafila’ comes from an Arabic word meaning ‘caravan’.


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Tuesday’s Word of the Week 11-7-2017

guisard

noun

gui·sard


Definition

1. a person who wears a mask; mummer


Examples

The man affects to be a fanatical guisard ; we four only know that he is on our side.
The Works of Honor de Balzac
Honor de Balzac

Some guisard doubtless told him of what had occurred between Amyot and the queen-mother.
Catherine de’ Medici
Honore de Balzac

I have quite a collection of knives—some guisard, and some Italian, but mostly of Toledo make.
The White Plumes of Navarre
Samuel Rutherford Crocket


Origin

obsolete Scots gyze to disguise, from Middle English gyzen to dress, from guise, gyze guise


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Tuesday’s Word of the Week 10-24-2017

antonomasia

noun

an·ton·o·ma·sia


Definition

The substitution of a title or epithet for a proper name, as in calling a sovereign “Your Majesty.”

The substitution of a personal name for a common noun to designate a member of a group or class, as in calling a traitor a “Benedict Arnold”.

Use of a proper name to suggest its most obvious quality or aspect.

In rhetoric, the substitution of an epithet, or of the appellative of some office, dignity, profession, science, or trade, for the true name of a person, as when his majesty is used for a king, his lordship for a nobleman, or the philosopher for Aristotle; conversely, the use of a proper noun in the place of a common noun: as, a Cato for a man of severe gravity, or a Solomon for a wise man.


Examples

He blithely absolves this libel as an example of “antonomasia” ( “the use of a proper name to express a general idea,” OED), saying rather too airily that in this instance he meant a “Pat Boone-type” to imply any crooner of the well-scrubbed variety.
Happy Days Are Here Again

Garibaldi was always or almost always victorious (in reality he fought brilliant guerrilla skirmishes which piety later turned into vast and tidy battles); he was the first to be called Il Duce, a pompous nineteenth-century opera libretto title, by antonomasia (Mussolini had been called Il Duce by his socialist followers before 1914 and took the title with him to the Fascist party).
The Not So Great Dictator

In Florence, a rich and famous city of Italy, in the province called Tuscany, there dwelt two rich and principal gentlemen called Anselmo and Lothario, which two were so great friends, as they were named for excellency, and by antonomasia, by all those that knew them, the Two Friends.
The Fourth Book. VI. Wherein Is Rehearsed the History of the Curious-Impertinent


Did You Know?

What’s in a name? When it comes to “antonomasia,” quite a bit. English speakers picked up that appellative term from Latin, but it traces back to Greek, descending from the verb antonomazein, meaning “to call by a new name,” which itself developed from the Greek noun onoma, meaning “name.” You may already be familiar with some other English “onoma” descendants, such as “onomatopoeia” (the naming of something in imitation of the sound associated with it), “polyonymous” (having multiple names), and “toponymy” (the place-names of a region). “Antonomasiahas been naming names in English since the mid-16th century.


Origin

Latin, use of an epithet for a proper name, from Greek, from antonomazein to call by a new name, from anti- + onomazein to name, from onoma name — more at name


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Tuesday’s Word of the Week 10-17-2017

mizmaze

noun

miz·maze \ ˈmizˌmāz \


Definition

  1. A confused maze; a labyrinth.
  2. Confusion; bewilderment.

Examples

He left her then in a mizmaze of deep reflections; but he didn’t go until they’d ordained to meet again.
The Torch and Other Tales

But to the end of his days, when he heard mention of fairies and brownies, his mind wandered off in a mizmaze.
The Junior Classics — Volume 6 Old-Fashioned Tales

But so cunningly contrived a mizmaze was never seen in the world, before nor since.
Tanglewood Tales

They come along so fast that I was all in a mizmaze trying to keep track on ’em.
Explorers of the Dawn


Origin

The word ‘mizmaze’ is a reduplication of the word ‘maze’.


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Tuesday’s Word of the Week 10-10-2017

tantivy


Definition

adverb
-At full gallop; at top speed.

noun
pl. tan·tiv·ies
-A hunting cry.
-A fast, furious gallop; top speed.
-The sound of a hunting horn in imitation of a galloping horse


Examples

Rather than face death and the death-fear, in an attempt to flee the unfleeable he had thrown every other consideration to the winds, and ridden tantivy into the unknown.
Ultima Thule

Ten minutes later, everyone was back in their seats and Tom, who had purloined the horn from the long basket attached to the side of the guard’s seat, blew a tantivy into the night and Duncan, muffled from neck to heels in the big coat, set the horses in motion.
The Last Gamble

Is it strange that I became known as the wildest tantivy boy that rode with the King?
The Tavern Knight

He then put his horn to his mouth, and blew such a loud and long tantivy, that the giant awoke, and came towards Jack, roaring like thunder: “You saucy villain, you shall pay dearly for breaking my rest; I will broil you for my breakfast.”
The Fairy Book The Best Popular Stories Selected and Rendered Anew

Friar John began to paw, neigh, and whinny at the snout’s end, as one ready to leap, or at least to play the ass, and get up and ride tantivy to the devil like a beggar on horseback.
Gargantua and Pantagruel, Illustrated, Book 4


Did You Know?

Tantivy is an adverb as well as a noun that refers to a rapid gallop. Although its precise origin isn’t known, one theory has it that tantivy represents the sound of a galloping horse’s hooves. The noun does double duty as a word meaning “the blare of a trumpet or horn.” This is probably due to confusion with tantara, a word for the sound of a trumpet that came about as an imitation of that sound. Both tantivy and tantara were used during foxhunts; in the heat of the chase, people may have jumbled the two.


Origin

The origin of ‘tantivy’ is unknown, but it may come from the sound of a hunting horn or echo the noise of galloping hooves.


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http://www.yourdictionary.com/tantivy
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/tantivy

 

Word Of The Day 3-8-2017

deasil

dea·sil 
Popularity: Bottom 30% of words

Definition of deasil

  1. : clockwise or in the direction of the sun’s course

Origin and Etymology of deasil

1771, from Gaelic deiseil, deiseal (adjective and adverb) “toward the south,” taken in sense of “toward the right,” from deas “right, right-hand; south,” cognate with Irish deas, Old Irish dess, des, Welsh dehau, and ultimately with Latin dexter (see dexterity). The second element of the Gaelic word is not explained (one old guess, in the Century Dictionary (1902), is a proposed *iul “direction, guidance”).
First Known Use: 1771

Did You Know?

According to an old custom, you can bring someone good fortune by walking around the person clockwise three times while carrying a torch or candle. In Scottish Gaelic, the word deiseil is used for the direction one walks in such a luck-bringing ritual. English speakers modified the spelling to deasil, and have used the word to describe clockwise motion in a variety of rituals.

 

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/deasil