Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for December 12, 2018 is:
lunette • \loo-NET\ • noun
1 a : something that has the shape of a crescent or half-moon
b : an opening in a vault especially for a window
c : the surface at the upper part of a wall that is partly surrounded by a vault which the wall intersects and that is often filled by windows or by mural painting
d : a low crescentic mound (as of sand) formed by the wind
2 : the figure or shape of a crescent moon
“All the windows and doors were topped with lunettes of small-paned glass.” — Theodore Dreiser, The Financier, 1912
“But what people found most striking about the school was the elaborate lunette built on the exterior of the building over the front entrance. With the lunette’s intricate sunburst design, Iddles School caught the attention of many passersby.” — Becky Kark, The Herald-Palladium (St. Joseph, Michigan), 15 July 2018
Did you know?
Lunette, a word borrowed from French, looks like it should mean “little moon”—luna being Latin for “moon” and -ette being a diminutive suffix. There is indeed some 17th-century evidence of the word being used for a small celestial moon, but that meaning is now obsolete. Earlier, in the 16th century, lunette referred to a horseshoe having only the front semicircular part—a meaning that still exists but is quite rare. Other senses of lunette that are infrequently used nowadays include “a blinder especially for a vicious horse” and, in the plural form, “spectacles.” (Lunettes is the usual term for eyeglasses in modern French.) The oldest meaning of lunette still in common use is “something shaped like a crescent or half-moon,” which our evidence dates to the early 1600s.
December 12, 2018 at 01:00PM