Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for October 20, 2018 is:
superjacent • \soo-per-JAY-sunt\ • adjective
: lying above or upon : overlying
“Village streets threaded around the hillside, eternally watched over by the superjacent castle.” — Evan Rail, The New York Times, 25 Sept. 2011
“Article 56 of the convention provides that … the coastal State has … sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring and exploiting, conserving and managing the natural resources … of the waters superjacent to the seabed and of the seabed and its subsoil….” — Costas Stamatiou and Yiota Georgiou, Mondaq Business Briefing, 5 June 2018
Did you know?
You’re probably familiar with adjacent, and if you guessed that it’s a relative of superjacent, you’re right. Both derive from the Latin verb jacēre, meaning “to lie.” Adjacent, which is both the more popular and the earlier word (it first appeared in print in the 15th century, while superjacent turned up in the late 16th century), comes from jacēre and the prefix ad-, meaning “near.” Superjacent, on the other hand, was formed by combining jacēre with the prefix super-, meaning “over,” “above,” or “on top of.” In case you were wondering, jacēre descendants are also available for other possible configurations: subjacent means “lying below,” and circumjacent means “lying near on all sides” or “surrounding.”
October 20, 2018 at 01:00PM
Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for October 19, 2018 is:
linchpin • \LINCH-pin\ • noun
1 : a locking pin inserted crosswise (as through the end of an axle or shaft)
2 : one that serves to hold together parts or elements that exist or function as a unit
Investors are betting that the new product line will be the linchpin that secures the company’s place in the very competitive market in the years and decades to come.
“Saudi Arabia planned to take its giant oil company, Saudi Aramco, to the public markets. It was to be the linchpin of a grand economic vision, generating billions of dollars to pay for future-proofing the kingdom’s economy, including huge investments in technology.” — Michael J. de la Merced, The New York Times, 25 Aug. 2018
Did you know?
In his 1857 novel, Tom Brown’s School Days, Thomas Hughes describes the “cowardly blackguard custom” of “taking the linch-pins out of the farmers’ and bagmens’ gigs at the fairs.” The linchpin in question held the wheel on the gig and removing it made it likely that the wheel would come off as the vehicle moved. Such a pin was called a lynis in Old English; Middle English speakers added pin to form lynspin. By the early 20th century, English speakers were using linchpin for anything as critical to a complex situation as a linchpin is to a wagon, as when Winston Churchill, in 1930, wrote of Canada and the role it played in the relationship between Great Britain and the United States, that “no state, no country, no band of men can more truly be described as the linchpin of peace and world progress.”
October 19, 2018 at 01:00PM
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October 19, 2018 at 12:00PM
Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for October 18, 2018 is:
de rigueur • \duh-ree-GUR\ • adjective
: prescribed or required by fashion, etiquette, or custom : proper
“[Emma] Stone, who patiently smiled through the de rigueur photo shoot in front of a backdrop emblazoned with the logos of the festival and its sponsors, should be extra light on her feet these days after singing and dancing with co-star Ryan Gosling in one of the opening night movies, ‘La La Land.'” — Paul Liberatore, The Marin Independent Journal (Marin County, California), 6 Oct. 2016
“It’s fascinating to compare not only the speeches that Robert and the king’s heir give before heading into combat, but also Robert’s words with those Gibson’s Wallace delivers in ‘Braveheart.’ So much has changed in nearly a quarter century’s time that Mackenzie’s idea of blockbuster heroism robs his ‘Outlaw King’ of the bombastic pep talk that would have been de rigueur for a studio movie.” — John Simon, The Weekly Standard, 2 Mar. 2018
Did you know?
If you’re invited to a ball or other social function and the invitation includes the French phrase costume de rigueur, you are expected to adhere to a very strict dress code—typically, a white tie and tails if you’re a man and a floor-length evening gown if you’re a woman. In French, de rigueur means “out of strictness” or “according to strict etiquette”; one definition of our word rigor, to which rigueur is related, is “the quality of being strict, unyielding, or inflexible.” In English, we tend to use de rigueur to describe a fashion or custom that is so commonplace within a context that it seems a prescribed, mandatory part of it.
October 18, 2018 at 01:00PM
Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for October 17, 2018 is:
acceptation • \ak-sep-TAY-shun\ • noun
1 : acceptance; especially : favorable reception or approval
2 : a generally accepted meaning of a word or understanding of a concept
“About 40 fine arts students filled out a two-page application to be a part of the project, Rodriguez said…. Some have done commissioned work and sold their art on Etsy. One received an automatic acceptation to a prestigious art school in Chicago on National Portfolio Day last fall.” — Laura Gutschke, The Abilene (Texas) Reporter-News, 8 Apr. 2018
“For its primary definition of ‘money,’ the same source states, ‘In usual and ordinary acceptation it means gold, silver, or paper money used as circulating medium of exchange, and does not embrace notes, bonds, evidences of debt, or other personal or real estate.'” — Tom Egan, The Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, 1 June 2017
Did you know?
Acceptation is older than its synonym acceptance; it first appeared in print in the 15th century, whereas acceptance makes a 16th-century appearance. Grammarian H. W. Fowler insisted in 1926 that acceptation and acceptance were not actually synonymous (he preferred to reserve acceptation for the “accepted meaning” use), but the earliest meaning of acceptation was indeed acceptance. Both words descend from the Anglo-French word accepter (“to accept”), but acceptation took an extra step. Anglo-French added the -ation ending, which was changed to form acceptacioun in Middle English. (English embraced the present-day -ation ending later.) Acceptance simply comes from accepter plus the Anglo-French -ance.
October 17, 2018 at 01:00PM
Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for October 16, 2018 is:
nary • \NAIR-ee\ • adjective
: not any : not one
“I must have it back as I have nary other copy.” — Flannery O’Connor, letter, 1961
“Under harsh fluorescent hangar lights that would make even a brand-new Mercedes appear to have been painted with a broom, Symmetry reveals nary ripple nor flaw.” — Stephan Wilkinson, Popular Science, March 2004
Did you know?
Nary, most often used in the phrase “nary a” to mean “not a single,” is an 18th-century alteration of the adjectival phrase “ne’er a,” in which ne’er is a contraction of never. That contraction dates to the 13th century, and the word it abbreviates is even older: never can be traced back to Old English nǣfre, a combination of ne (“not” or “no”) and ǣfre (“ever”). Old English ne also combined with ā (“always”) to give us nā, the Old English ancestor of our no. Ā, from the Latin aevum (“age” or “lifetime”) and Greek aiōn (“age”), is related to the English adverb aye, meaning “always, continually, or ever.” This aye (pronounced to rhyme with say) is unrelated to the more familiar aye (pronounced to rhyme with sigh) used as a synonym of yes.
October 16, 2018 at 01:00PM
Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for October 15, 2018 is:
tergiversation • \ter-jiv-er-SAY-shun\ • noun
1 : evasion of straightforward action or clear-cut statement : equivocation
2 : desertion of a cause, position, party, or faith
“Two chapters stand out. One covers the grinding combat in southern Afghanistan in 2009 and 2010, where the horrific daily reality for fighting soldiers is nicely juxtaposed with the tergiversations of generals and officials safe in Kabul and Washington.” — Jason Burke, The Spectator, 3 Feb. 2018
“The emotional leitmotif of Frankel’s book is the Wilde-Douglas love story, one of vacillations and tergiversations, perhaps the most spectacular in the annals of literary history. There were various times when each of the lovers declared he would kill the other, only to rush back into his outstretched arms.” — John Simon, The Weekly Standard, 2 Mar. 2018
Did you know?
The roots of tergiversation are about an unwillingness to pick a course and stay on it. The Latin verb tergiversari means “to show reluctance,” and it comes from the combining of tergum, meaning “back,” and versare, meaning “to turn.” (While versare and its related form, vertere, turn up in the etymologies of many English words, including versatile and invert, tergum is at the root of only a few, among them tergal, an obscure synonym of dorsal.) While the “desertion” meaning of tergiversation is both older and a better reflection of the meanings of its etyma, the word is more frequently used as a synonym of equivocation. The related verb tergiversate is a somewhat rare synonym of equivocate.
October 15, 2018 at 01:00PM