Word Of The Day 6-24-2017



maf·fick \ˈma-fik\
Popularity: Bottom 30% of words


to celebrate with extravagant public demonstrations.


It is evidence of his freedom from pedantry that Doctor Bradley seemed to be willing to accept to buttle, from butler, to bant from Banting, the name of the Englishman who proposed a new method for reducing fat, and to maffick –that is,to indulge in a riotous demonstration in the street, like that which took place in London in 1900 when there came the glad news of the relief of Mafeking, long beleaguered by the Boers.

-Brander Matthews, “The Latest Novelties in Language,” Harper’s Magazine, June–November, 1920

Did You Know?

Maffick is an alteration of Mafeking Night, the British celebration of the lifting of the siege of a British military outpost during the South African War at the town of Mafikeng (also spelled Mafeking) on May 17, 1900. The South African War was fought between the British and the Afrikaners, who were Dutch and Huguenot settlers originally called Boers, over the right to govern frontier territories. Though the war did not end until 1902, the lifting of the siege of Mafikeng was a significant victory for the British because they held out against a larger Afrikaner force for 217 days until reinforcements could arrive. The rejoicing in British cities on news of the rescue produced “maffick,” a word that was popular for a while, especially in journalistic writing, but is now relatively uncommon.


back-formation from Mafeking Night, English celebration of the lifting of the siege of Mafeking, South Africa, May 17, 1900
First Known Use: 1900



Word Of The Day 6-8-2017


hab·ile \ˈha-bəl, -ˌbī(-ə)l\
Popularity: Bottom 30% of words


Able; apt; skilful; handy.


Here, he began to tuck in anew, aiding the slow work of his spoon with his more habile fingers.
Australia Felix

She watched his academic awkwardness in church with the inward tender smile of the eternal habile feminine, and when they met she could have laughed and wept over his straightened sentences and his difficult manner, knowing how little significant they were.
The Imperialist

“But on the contrary,” they should still have continued in communion with her, and subjection to her in matters lawful, in a way of testifying “against the same, and essaying their reformation, by all means that were habile for them.”
Act, Declaration, & Testimony for the Whole of our Covenanted Reformation, as Attained to, and Established in Britain and Ireland; Particularly Betwixt the Years 1638 and 1649, Inclusive

Her Majesty used in days gone by to be habile enough at the performance of this imperative duty laid upon Royalty of singling out persons for recognition.
Faces and Places

In this way statecraft will become necessary to them; and by degrees their ministers will become habile, graceful, adroit, and perhaps crafty, as are the ministers of other nations.
North America


Late Middle English: variant of able. The spelling change in the 16th and 17th centuries was due to association with French habile and Latin habilis.



Word Of The Day 5-16-2017



pul·ta·ceous \ˌpəl-ˈtā-shəs\


Macerated; softened; nearly fluid.


If double boiler be used no water need be added, and thus the rice will be dry and not pultaceous.
No Animal Food and Nutrition and Diet with Vegetable Recipes

Mix some bread and meat with gastric juice; place them in a phial, and keep that phial in a sand-bath at the slow heat of 98 degrees, occasionally shaking briskly the contents to imitate the motion of the stomach; you will find, after six or eight hours, the whole contents blended into one pultaceous mass.
Grappling with the Monster The Curse and the Cure of Strong Drink


Mid 17th century; earliest use found in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. From classical Latin pult-, puls pap, pottage + -aceous.



Word For The Day 5-15-2017


or·phic \ˈȯr-fik\
Popularity: Bottom 40% of word


  1. of or relating to Orpheus or the rites or doctrines ascribed to him

  2. having an import not apparent to the senses nor obvious to the intelligence; beyond ordinary understanding


Starving will kill as dead as hanging, was Lieders’s Orphic response to this. –Stories of a Western Town Octave Thanet

He was represented in the Orphic Theology under the mixed symbol of a lionand serpent: and sometimes of a serpent only. –A New System; or, an Analysis of Antient Mythology. Volume II. (of VI.) Jacob Bryant

Did You Know?

Orpheus was a hero of Greek mythology who was supposed to possess superhuman musical skills. With his legendary lyre, he was said to be able to make even the rocks and trees dance around. In fact, when his wife Eurydice died, he was nearly able to use his lyre to secure her return from the underworld. Later on, according to legend, he was killed at the bidding of Dionysus, and an oracle of Orpheus was established that came to rival the oracle of Apollo at Delphi. Because of the oracle of Orpheus, orphic can mean “oracular.” Because of Orpheus’ musical powers, orphic can mean “entrancing.”


1670-80; < Greek Orphikós (cognate with Latin Orphicus), equivalent toOrph(eús) Orpheus + -ikos -ic


Word Of The Day 5-12-2017


bode·ment \ˈbōd-mənt\
Popularity: Bottom 30% of words


An omen; portent; prognostic; a foreshadowing


That clinging mist seemed of evil bodement for our expedition.
The Roof of France

As they recovered from the effects of his bodement, the people left the theatre, their minds full of indefinite dread.
The fair god, or, The last of the ‘Tzins

I wish indeed for the glad sympathy of my people, for I think that our Saviour turning water into wine at the wedding, was an example set that we should rejoice and be merry at the fulfilment of one of the great obligations imposed on us as social creatures; and I have ever regarded the unhonoured treatment of a marriage occasion as a thing of evil bodement, betokening heavy hearts and light purses to the lot of the bride and bridegroom.
The Ayrshire Legatees, or, the Pringle family


The word ‘bodement’ comes from ‘bode’ (“announce”) +‎ ‘-ment’.

Word Of The Day 5-11-2017




an impression of light that occurs without light entering the eye and is usually caused by stimulation of the retina (as by pressure on the eyeball when the lid is closed) or by excitation of neurons in the visual system (as by transcranial magnetic stimulation).


Early studies have demonstrated that direct electrical stimulation to neurons of the visual system will cause a subject to perceive points of light — George Scarlatis

Did You Know?

Phosphenes are the luminous floating stars, zigzags, swirls, spirals, squiggles, and other shapes that you see when closing your eyes tight and pressing them with your fingers. Basically, these phenomena occur when the cells of the retina are stimulated by rubbing or after a forceful sneeze, cough, or blow to the head.


The word phosphene comes from the Greek words phōs(light)and phainein(to show. Phainein is also a contributing element in such words as diaphanous, emphasis, epiphany, and phenomenon.


Word Of The Day 5-10-2017


Popularity: Bottom 30% of words


Biting, causing a physical bite or sting; corrosive

sharp or caustic in style or tone.

Prone to biting, aggressive (of an animal etc.).

Sharp in intent, sarcastic


But with one great and splendid virtue was he endowed in the eyes of the enemies of the House of Borgia — contemporary, and subsequent down to our times — a most profound, unchristian, and mordacious hatred of all Borgias.
The Life of Cesare Borgia

This Tommaso Tommasi, whose real name was Gregorio Leti — and it is under this that such works of his as are reprinted are published nowadays — was a most prolific author of the seventeenth century, who, having turned Calvinist, vented in his writings a mordacious hatred of the Papacy and of the religion from which he had seceded.
The Life of Cesare Borgia

Unable longer to endure the lash of his mordacious wit, Shaynon turned and left them alone on the balcony.
The Day of Days An Extravaganza


The word ‘mordacious’ comes from Latin ‘mordax’ (“given to biting, corrosive”) + -ious.



Word Of The Day 5-8-2017




the inability to remember a word or put your finger on the right word


‘he would grope for the words and he often apologized for his lethologica’


Like many other English terms associated with the mind, lethologica is a modern word derived from classical Greek. In this case, the Greek words are lethe (forgetfulness) and logos (word). In Greek mythology, Lethe was also one of the five rivers of the underworld where the souls of the dead drank to forget all earthly memories.

The coinage of this term is popularly attributed to psychologist Carl Jung in the early 20th Century, but the earliest clear record is in the 1915 edition of Dorland’s American Illustrated Medical Dictionary, where lethologica is defined as the ‘inability to remember the proper word’.


Word Of The Day 5-7-2017




smack somebody with a fish


I cornobbled Jason with a trout.

I found little else about this word (except for mentions), but couldn’t toss it out because what language doesn’t need a word for smacking somebody with a fish?

I did find reference to cornnobble in “A glossary of dialect & archaic words used in the County of Gloucester. Edited by Lord Moreton” at https://archive.org/stream/glossaryofdialec25robeuoft/glossaryofdialec25robeuoft_djvu.txt

Anybody have any other information?