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sanguine

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 00:00

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 19, 2018 is:

sanguine • \SANG-gwun\  • adjective

1 : bloodred

2 a : consisting of or relating to blood

b : bloodthirsty, sanguinary

c : ruddy

3 : having blood as the predominating bodily humoralso : having the bodily conformation and temperament held characteristic of such predominance and marked by sturdiness, ruddy color, and cheerfulness

4 : confident, optimistic

Examples:

The coach insisted that he was sanguine about his team's chances in the playoffs, even though his star player was injured.

"Some of us hear the term AI [artificial intelligence] and picture a dystopian future where people lose jobs and control to robots who possess artificial—and superior—intelligence to human beings. Others are more sanguine about our ability to control and harness technology to achieve more and greater things." — Georgene Huang, Forbes, 27 Sept. 2017

Did you know?

If you're the sort of cheery soul who always looks on the bright side no matter what happens, you have a sanguine personality. Sanguine describes one of the temperaments that ancient and medieval scholars believed was caused by an abundance of one of the four humors (another is phlegmatic, an adjective that describes the calm, cool, and collected among us). The word sanguine derives from sanguineus, Latin for "blood" or "bloody," and over the more than 600 years it's been in use it has had meanings ranging from "bloodthirsty" and "bloodred" to today's most common one, "confident, optimistic."



panegyric

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Sun, 02/18/2018 - 00:00

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 18, 2018 is:

panegyric • \pan-uh-JEER-ik\  • noun

: a eulogistic oration or writing; also : formal or elaborate praise

Examples:

The club's president opened the awards ceremony with a touching panegyric for several prominent members who had passed away during the last year.

"At Lafayette College in Northampton County in 2007, he marked the 250th anniversary of the Marquis de Lafayette's birthday with a panegyric to the great statesman and France's broader influence on America." — Joe Smydo, The Daily Telegram (Adrian, Michigan), 25 May 2017

Did you know?

On certain fixed dates throughout the year, the ancient Greeks would come together for religious meetings. Such gatherings could range from hometown affairs to great national assemblies, but large or small, the meeting was called a panēgyris. That name comes from pan, meaning "all," and agyris, meaning "assembly." At those assemblies, speakers provided the main entertainment, and they delivered glowing orations extolling the praises of present civic leaders and reliving the past glories of Greek cities. To the Greeks, those laudatory speeches were panēgyrikos, which means "of or for a panēgyris." Latin speakers ultimately transformed panēgyrikos into the noun panegyricus, and English speakers adapted that Latin term to form panegyric.



biddable

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Sat, 02/17/2018 - 00:00

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 17, 2018 is:

biddable • \BID-uh-bul\  • adjective

1 : easily led, taught, or controlled : docile

2 : capable of being bid

Examples:

"Unfailingly sweet and biddable (he never put his teeth on another creature—not even when he was bitten on the snout by a friend's ten-week-old puppy), we almost doubted his full canine credentials. No pack instincts? No resource guarding? No." — Mona Charen, The National Review, 23 Nov. 2016

"Because of the lack of documentation, the audit couldn't directly determine whether the project met a goal of awarding 60 percent of the biddable work to local firms, and 20 percent to small businesses." — Ben van der Meer, The Sacramento Business Journal, 5 Dec. 2017

Did you know?

A biddable individual is someone you can issue an order to—that is, someone who will do your bidding. The word dates to the late 18th century, and currently our earliest evidence for it is a quote in the Scottish National Dictionary. There are a number of words in English that do what biddable does. Tractable, amenable, and docile are three of them. Biddable is often applied to children and indicates a ready, constant inclination to follow orders, requests, and suggestions. Tractable suggests characteristics that make for easy guiding, leading, ordering, or managing; its antonym intractable (as in "intractable problems") is more common. Amenable indicates a disposition to be agreeable or complaisant as well as a lack of assertive independence. Docile can stress a disposition to submit, either due to guidance and control or to imposition and oppression.



yuppify

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 00:00

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 16, 2018 is:

yuppify • \YUP-uh-fye\  • verb

: to make appealing to yuppies; also : to infuse with the qualities or values of yuppies

Examples:

My sister rents an expensive apartment in a neighborhood that was recently yuppified.

"In those days, Surry Hills was a working-class suburb, and while its northern edges have been yuppified, the southern end around Cleveland Street maintains a vestige of the old feel." — Ean Higgins, The Australian, 31 July 2017

Did you know?

Yuppie and yuppify are products of the 1980s, but they owe a debt to predecessors from decades prior. Hippie (referring to a long-haired, unconventionally dressed young person who rejects societal mores; from hip, meaning "cool") first appeared in print in the 1950s. Yippie (naming a politically active hippie; from Youth International Party) followed hippie a decade later. Gentrification and gentrify (both of which have to do with the effects of influxes of relatively affluent people into deteriorating neighborhoods; from gentry) then evolved. Yuppie (pointing out a young well-paid professional who lives and works in or near an urban area; probably from young urban professional, influenced by hippie and yippie) hit the press in the early 1980s, bringing along yuppify and yuppification (patterned after gentrify and gentrification).



nebbish

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 00:00

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 15, 2018 is:

nebbish • \NEB-ish\  • noun

: a timid, meek, or ineffectual person

Examples:

Lyle may have come across as a nebbish, but he stood up to the bully who gave him a hard time—and the students in the cafeteria who witnessed the confrontation showed their support.

"Arthur Darvill is known to 'Doctor Who' fans as the nebbish-turned-stalwart-hero Rory Williams and to CW superhero fans as Rip Hunter, organizer of the 'Legends of Tomorrow' on that series." — Mike Suchcicki, The Pensacola (Florida) News Journal, 26 Nov. 2017

Did you know?

"From what I read ... it looks like Pa isn't anything like the nebbish Ma is always making him out to be…." Sounds like poor Pa got a bum rap, at least according to a 1951 book review that appeared in The New York Times. The unfortunate Pa unwittingly demonstrates much about the etymology of nebbish, which derives from the Yiddish nebekh, meaning "poor" or "unfortunate." As you might expect for a timid word like nebbish, the journey from Yiddish to English wasn't accomplished in a single bold leap of spelling and meaning. It originally entered English in the 1800s as the adjective nebbich, meaning "innocuous or ineffectual." Nebbich (sometimes spelled nebekh) has also been used as an interjection to express dismay, pity, sympathy, or regret, but that use is far less widespread and is not included in most general-use English dictionaries.



frolic

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Wed, 02/14/2018 - 00:00

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 14, 2018 is:

frolic • \FRAH-lik\  • verb

1 : to amuse oneself : make merry

2 : to play and run about happily : romp

Examples:

"Every year, Trolley Dances takes us on a unique journey.… Audiences are introduced to new, site-specific dance performances at stops along the trolley line…. In years past, for instance, dancers have frolicked in public fountains, executed seductive tango moves in a narrow alley and rolled down grassy slopes." — Marcia Manna, The San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 Sept. 2017

"When we ask our viewers to send us photos of the snow, we always get the usual—kids, dogs, porches—but this year, one viewer stepped it up a notch. Oak Island resident Wendy Brumagin was able to capture a beautiful, and what some might consider rare, image of a coyote frolicking in the snow." — ABC11.com (Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina), 8 Jan. 2018

Did you know?

Frolic is a playful word with a happy history. It traces back to the Dutch word vroolijk ("merry"), which in turn evolved from a Middle Dutch combination of vro ("happy") and the adjectival suffix -lijc ("-ly"). Vro is related to the Old Frisian and Old High German fro, which also means "happy." (It is also a distant relative of Old English frogga, from which Modern English derived frog.) When frolic first entered English in the early-mid 16th century, it was used as an adjective meaning "merry" or "full of fun." The verb came into use by the end of that century, followed a few decades later by a noun use, as in "an evening of fun and frolic."



nuts

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Tue, 02/13/2018 - 00:00

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 13, 2018 is:

nuts • \NUTS\  • adjective

1 : enthusiastic, keen

2 : insane, crazy

Examples:

"On Friday nights, when my kids … were younger, we would sit and watch a film. It's a fantastic feeling when you see them getting drawn into something you love. My husband, Phil, and I are nuts about West Wing, and we've gradually got my son into that as well." — Rebecca Front, quoted in Good Housekeeping (UK), April 2016

"I think the most irresponsible thing I did was invest in a company that was going nowhere.… It kept falling apart. People kept telling me I was nuts. I kept pushing forward." — Jessica Alba, quoted in Cosmopolitan, 1 Mar. 2016

Did you know?

The informal adjective nuts dates to the early 1900s but developed from an earlier 17th-century slang meaning often found in phrases like "nuts to me" and "nuts for me," where it referred to a source of delight, as in this quote from English satirist Jonathan Swift's A Journal to Stella (1766): "Why, we had not one word of quarrel; only he railed at me when I was gone: and Lord Keeper and Treasurer teased me for a week. It was nuts to them; a serious thing with a vengeance." The use likely had something to do with the taste of the dry fruit or seed since early figurative examples of the noun include the expression "nuts and cheese." Adjectival use, typically describing enthusiasm about or fondness for someone or something came about in the late 18th century. In Britain, the term was often used in the phrase "dead nuts on," as "She is dead nuts on the boy next door." The notion that enthusiasm and infatuation often lead to obsession may have played a role in the early 20th-century senses of nuts denoting extreme devotion, as in "nuts about baseball," and functioning as a synonym of "insane."



adust

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Mon, 02/12/2018 - 00:00

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 12, 2018 is:

adust • \uh-DUST\  • adjective

: scorched, burned

Examples:

The adust landscape of volcanic rock and sand can be particularly beautiful at sunset.

"These arid and adust creatures, looking like the mummies of some antediluvian animals, … had to all appearance come out from this long tempest of trial unscathed and unharmed." — Thomas De Quincey, Revolt of the Tartars, 1837

Did you know?

Adust comes from Latin adustus, the past participle of adūrere ("to set fire to"), a verb formed from the Latin prefix ad- and the verb ūrere ("to burn"). It entered the English language in the early 15th century as a medical term related to the four bodily humors—black bile, blood, phlegm, and yellow bile—which were believed at the time to determine a person's health and temperament. Adust was used to describe a condition of the humors in which they supposedly became heated or combusted. Adust black bile in particular was believed to be a source of melancholy. The association with melancholy gave rise to a sense of adust meaning "of a gloomy appearance or disposition," but that sense is now considered archaic.



recuse

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Sun, 02/11/2018 - 00:00

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 11, 2018 is:

recuse • \rih-KYOOZ\  • verb

: to disqualify (oneself) as judge in a particular case; broadly : to remove (oneself) from participation to avoid a conflict of interest

Examples:

Because she was a frequent customer at the plaintiff's shop, the judge recused herself from the case.

"If HB 1225 becomes law in its current form, any county official who has an agreement with a wind developer must recuse himself or herself from any matter that involves the ownership, operation, construction or location of a wind power device in the county." — Travis Weik, The Courier-Times (New Castle, Indiana), 14 Jan. 2018

Did you know?

Recuse is derived from the Middle French word recuser, which comes from the Latin recusare, meaning "to refuse." English speakers began using recuse with the meaning "to refuse or reject" in the 14th century. By the 15th century, the term had acquired the meaning "to challenge or object to (a judge)." The current legal use of recuse as a term specifically meaning "to disqualify (oneself) as a judge" didn't come into frequent use until the 19th century. Broader applications soon followed from this sense—you can now recuse yourself from such things as debates and decisions as well as court cases.



instauration

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Sat, 02/10/2018 - 00:00

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 10, 2018 is:

instauration • \in-staw-RAY-shun\  • noun

1 : restoration after decay, lapse, or dilapidation

2 : an act of instituting or establishing something

Examples:

"Once, humanity dreamed of the great instauration—a rebirth of ancient wisdom that would compel us into a New Age…." — Knute Berger, Seattle Weekly, 14 Dec. 2005

"Showing that we can set quantifiable and therefore measurable standards for a program's performance does indeed make possible the instauration of market dynamics with respect to outcomes for our students and for society at large." — Carlos J. Alonso, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 12 Dec. 2010

Did you know?

Instauration first appeared in English in the early 16th century, a product of the Latin verb instaurare, meaning "to renew or restore." This same source gave us our verb store, by way of Middle English and Anglo-French. After instauration broke into English, the philosopher Francis Bacon began writing his Instauratio Magna, which translates to The Great Instauration. This uncompleted collection of works, which was written in Latin, calls for a restoration to a state of paradise on earth, but one in which humankind is enlightened by knowledge and truth.



mnemonic

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Fri, 02/09/2018 - 00:00

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 9, 2018 is:

mnemonic • \nih-MAH-nik\  • adjective

1 : assisting or intended to assist memory; also : of or relating to a technique of improving the memory

2 : of or relating to memory

Examples:

James taught his students the mnemonic sentence "King Philip Came Over For Good Spaghetti" to help them remember the levels of biological classification (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species).

"Let's illustrate this point with a simple exercise using the elementary school mnemonic 'Every Good Boy Deserves Fun.' Teachers use this tool to help students learn the letters of the musical staff: EGBDF." — Richard Klasco and Lewis H. Glinert, The Washington Post, 14 Jan. 2018

Did you know?

The word mnemonic derives from the Greek mnēmōn ("mindful"), which itself comes from the verb mimnēskesthai, meaning "to remember." (In classical mythology, Mnemosyne, the mother of the Muses, is the goddess of memory.) In addition to its adjectival use, mnemonic is also a noun meaning "a mnemonic device," and the plural form mnemonics is used in the sense of "a technique of improving the memory." As with many classical borrowings, we retained the double initial consonant, but not the pronunciation of both, since the combination doesn't occur naturally in English (pneumonia is a similar case). If this spelling strikes you as particularly fiendish to remember, keep this mnemonic in mind: although the word's pronunciation begins with an n sound, the spelling begins with an m, as in memory.



mnemonic

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Fri, 02/09/2018 - 00:00

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 9, 2018 is:

mnemonic • \nih-MAH-nik\  • adjective

1 : assisting or intended to assist memory; also : of or relating to a technique of improving the memory

2 : of or relating to memory

Examples:

James taught his students the mnemonic sentence "King Philip Came Over For Good Spaghetti" to help them remember the levels of biological classification (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, and Species).

"Let's illustrate this point with a simple exercise using the elementary school mnemonic 'Every Good Boy Deserves Fun.' Teachers use this tool to help students learn the letters of the musical staff: EGBDF." — Richard Klasco and Lewis H. Glinert, The Washington Post, 14 Jan. 2018

Did you know?

The word mnemonic derives from the Greek mnēmōn ("mindful"), which itself comes from the verb mimnēskesthai, meaning "to remember." (In classical mythology, Mnemosyne, the mother of the Muses, is the goddess of memory.) In addition to its adjectival use, mnemonic is also a noun meaning "a mnemonic device," and the plural from mnemonics is used in the sense of "a technique of improving the memory." As with many classical borrowings, we retained the double initial consonant, but not the pronunciation of both, since the combination doesn't occur naturally in English (pneumonia is a similar case). If this spelling strikes you as particularly fiendish to remember, keep this mnemonic in mind: although the word's pronunciation begins with an n sound, the spelling begins with an m, as in memory.



embargo

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Thu, 02/08/2018 - 00:00

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 8, 2018 is:

embargo • \im-BAHR-goh\  • noun

1 : an order of a government prohibiting the departure of commercial ships from its ports

2 : a legal prohibition on commerce

3 : stoppage, impediment; especially : prohibition

4 : an order by a common carrier or public regulatory agency prohibiting or restricting freight transportation

Examples:

"The embargo has forced freight companies to find new routes. Indian food suppliers, for example, used to make a stop in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Now they fly their products on cargo planes direct to Qatar." — Zahraa Alkhalisi, CNN Money, 23 June 2017

"The Trump administration … tightened the economic embargo on Cuba, restricting Americans from access to hotels, stores and other businesses tied to the Cuban military." — Gardiner Harris, The New York Times, 8 Nov. 2017

Did you know?

Embargoes may be put in place for any number of reasons. For instance, a government may place a trade embargo against another country to express its disapproval with that country's policies. But governments are not the only bodies that can place embargoes. A publisher, for example, could place an embargo on a highly anticipated book to prevent stores from selling it before its official release date. The word embargo, dating from around the year 1600, derives via Spanish embargar from Vulgar Latin imbarricare, formed from the prefix im- and the noun barra ("bar").



carp

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Wed, 02/07/2018 - 00:00

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 7, 2018 is:

carp • \KAHRP\  • verb

: to find fault or complain querulously

Examples:

"The play begins in 1619, three years after his death, when a few of his former colleagues are carping about the pirated versions of his plays now cluttering London stages and bookstalls." — Alexis Soloski, The New York Times, 25 July 2017

"Cynthia began her work day with a contentious discussion involving a contract dispute.... From there she went right into a staff meeting where a number of her employees carped about minor operational issues as if they were monumental. At various junctures, she found herself holding her breath and gritting her teeth." — Philip Chard, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 25 June 2017

Did you know?

You might guess that today's word is a descendant of the noun carp, referring to a type of fish. That's a reasonable speculation, but the words are unrelated. Both entered the English language in the 15th century but from different sources. Whereas the fish's name traces back to Latin carpa, the verb is of Scandinavian origin: it may be related to the Icelandic verb karpa, meaning "to dispute" or "to wrangle," and beyond that perhaps to Old Norse karp, meaning "boasting" or "arrogance." There is a noun carp that is related to the Scandinavian verb, however: it means "complaint," and it dates to that same century.



logomachy

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Tue, 02/06/2018 - 00:00

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 6, 2018 is:

logomachy • \loh-GAH-muh-kee\  • noun

1 : a dispute over or about words

2 : a controversy marked by verbiage

Examples:

"All politics is local, and that goes double for school politics. But just what does 'local' mean? Georgians are going to have an argument about that word between now and the November referendum on the proposed Opportunity School District. A great logomachy over localism, if you like." — Kyle Wingfield, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 11 Sept. 2016

"Not that anyone could accuse this city of lacking logophiles—that's 'lovers of words,' if you have to ask. But where could word warriors go to engage in spirited logomachy?" — Ron Fletcher, The Boston Globe, 29 Apr. 2007

Did you know?

It doesn't take much to start people arguing about words, but there's no quarrel about the origin of logomachy. It comes from the Greek roots logos, meaning "word" or "speech," and machesthai, meaning "to fight," and it entered English in the mid-1500s. If you're a word enthusiast, you probably know that logos is the root of many English words (monologue, neologism, logic, and most words ending in -logy, for example), but what about other derivatives of machesthai? Actually, this is a tough one even for word whizzes. Only a few very rare English words come from machesthai. Here are two of them: heresimach ("an active opponent of heresy and heretics") and naumachia ("an ancient Roman spectacle representing a naval battle").



spavined

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Mon, 02/05/2018 - 00:00

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 5, 2018 is:

spavined • \SPAV-ind\  • adjective

1 : affected with swelling

2 : old and decrepit : over-the-hill

Examples:

The team is sadly spavined, and the new coaching staff will have to look to rebuild over the next couple of seasons.

"Large and medium-sized canvases in varying stages of completion covered most of the wall space in the studio, a long, windowless room that was once an auto-body shop, and the floor was a palimpsest of rags, used paper palettes, brushes, spavined art books, … and other debris." — Calvin Tomkins and Dodie Kazanjian, The New Yorker, 10 Apr. 2017

Did you know?

"His horse [is] … troubled with the lampas, infected with the fashions, full of windgalls, sped with spavins...." Petruchio's poor, decrepit horse in Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew is beset by just about every known equine malady, including a kind of swelling in the mouth (lampas), skin lesions (fashions), tumors on his fetlocks (windgalls), and bony enlargements on his hocks (spavins). The spavins alone can be enough to render a horse lame and useless. In the 17th century, "spavined" horses brought to mind other things that are obsolete, out-of-date, or long past their prime, and we began using the adjective figuratively. Spavined still serves a purpose, despite its age. It originated in Middle English as spaveyned and can be traced to the Middle French word for spavin, which was espavain.



blench

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Sun, 02/04/2018 - 00:00

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 4, 2018 is:

blench • \BLENCH\  • verb

: to draw back or turn aside from lack of courage : flinch

Examples:

"I blenched when my son first introduced me to the initials IRL, meaning In Real Life, as opposed to the online world where he and his generation spend so much of their time." — Allison Pearson, The Daily Telegraph (London), 26 Apr. 2017

"If you're a responsible teacher, you talk to your students about money. You say: most novelists earn around £5,000 a year from their writing. You watch them blench. You say: so if you're going to do this, you have to think about how you're going to support yourself." — Naomi Alderman, quoted in The Guardian, 15 Mar. 2014

Did you know?

If a stranger approaches you in a dark alley, it might cause you to blench. Do you flinch or turn white? Actually, you could do both, and both would be considered blenching because there are two separate verbs spelled "blench" in English. The blench that means "to flinch" derives from blencan, an Old English word meaning "to deceive." The blench meaning "to turn white" is an alteration of blanch, from the French adjective blanc ("white"). Clues to which meaning is intended can often be found in context. The "flinch" use, for example, is strictly intransitive and often followed by from or at ("blenched from the sight of blood"; "didn’t blench at the sound of thunder"). The "whiten" use, meanwhile, can be intransitive ("his skin blenched with terror") or transitive ("the cold blenched her lips").



tucket

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Sat, 02/03/2018 - 00:00

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 3, 2018 is:

tucket • \TUCK-ut\  • noun

: a fanfare on a trumpet

Examples:

"By this time the tucket was sounding cheerily in the morning, and from all sides Sir Daniel's men poured into the main street and formed before the inn." — Robert Louis Stevenson, The Black Arrow: A Tale of the Two Roses, 1888

"… Leonard Bernstein came on to lead a thunderous performance of 'Fanfare for the Common Man,' a series of ear-blasting tuckets and bass-drum explosions that Mr. Copland wrote in 1943...." — Donal Henahan, The New York Times, 15 Nov. 1985

Did you know?

Tucket can be found most notably in the stage directions of several of William Shakespeare's plays. In King Lear, for example, a tucket sounds to alert the Earl of Gloucester of the arrival of the Duke of Cornwall (Act II, Scene i). The word tucket likely derives from the obsolete English verb tuk, meaning "to beat the drum" or "to sound the trumpet." These days, the word fanfare itself refers to a sounding of trumpets made, for example, in celebration or to alert one of another's arrival. The presence of fanfare might be the reason that tucket is rarely used in contemporary English.



divest

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 00:00

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 2, 2018 is:

divest • \dye-VEST\  • verb

1 a : to deprive or dispossess especially of property, authority, or title

b : to undress or strip especially of clothing, ornament, or equipment

c : rid, free

2 : to take away from a person

Examples:

The court's ruling does not divest the family of their ability to use the property.

"A news release went out from Governor Andrew Cuomo's office, saying that New York was going to divest its vast pension-fund investments in fossil fuels." — Bill McKibben, The New Yorker, 21 Dec. 2017

Did you know?

Divest is one of many English words that come from the Latin verb vestire ("to clothe") and ultimately from the noun vestis ("clothing, garment"). Others include vest, vestment, invest, and travesty. Divest and its older form devest can mean "to unclothe" or "to remove the clothing of," but the word had broader applications even when it was first being used in the 16th and 17th centuries. In the opening scene of Shakespeare's King Lear, Lear uses the term to mean "rid oneself of" or "put aside":

    "Tell me, my daughters

    (Since now we will divest us both of rule,

    Interest of territory, cares of state),

    Which of you shall we say doth love us most?"

In addition to clothing, one can be divested of power, authority, possessions, or burdens.



preternatural

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 00:00

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for February 1, 2018 is:

preternatural • \pree-ter-NATCH-uh-rul\  • adjective

1 : existing outside of nature

2 : exceeding what is natural or regular : extraordinary

3 : inexplicable by ordinary means; especially : psychic

Examples:

"[Steven] Spielberg has ridden his preternatural talent to a career that has brought in nearly $10 billion at the box office, around $3 billion more than his nearest competitor. He's the ideal of a Hollywood director." — Ryan Bort, Newsweek, 29 Sept. 2017

"He has an almost preternatural emotional intelligence; when we meet for the second time I give him a hug, and he calls me out on it: 'What's up with that hug? That didn't have any feeling! Where's my hug?'" — Allison Samuels, Wired, February 2017

Did you know?

Preternatural derives from the Latin phrase praeter naturam, which means "beyond nature." Medieval Latin scholars rendered the term as praeternaturalis, and that form inspired the modern English version. Unusual things are sometimes considered positive and sometimes negative, and throughout its history preternatural has been used to refer to both exceptionally good things and unnaturally evil ones. In its earliest documented uses in the 1500s, it tended to emphasize the strange, ominous, or foreboding, but by the 1700s, people were using it more benignly to refer to fascinating supernatural (or even heavenly) phenomena. Nowadays, people regularly use it to describe the remarkable abilities of exceptional humans.



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