Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for July 31, 2019 is:
importune • \im-per-TOON\ • verb
1 a : to press or urge with troublesome persistence
b archaic : to request or beg for urgently
2 : annoy, trouble
“[Sarah] Polk feigned neutrality or loyalty, depending on what suited her, and she successfully importuned Andrew Johnson, the military governor of Tennessee and then American president, to pardon ex-rebels or to grant such favors as being able to sell her cotton untaxed.” — Megan Reynolds, Jezebel, 3 June 2019
“For nearly 40 years, Houstonian Jimmy Dunne has importuned Texas lawmakers to ban corporal punishment in Texas public schools, to no avail.” — The Houston Chronicle, 18 Mar. 2019
Did you know?
Importune has many synonyms—including beg, entreat, beseech, and implore. Beg suggests earnestness or insistence especially in asking for a favor (“the children begged to stay up late”). Entreat implies an effort to persuade or to overcome resistance (“she entreated him to change his mind”). Beseech implies great eagerness or anxiety (“I beseech you to have mercy”), and implore adds to beseech a suggestion of greater urgency or anguished appeal (“he implored her not to leave him”). But it is importune that best conveys irritating doggedness in trying to break down resistance to a request and the accompanying annoyance (“the filmmakers were importuning viewers for contributions”), as it has since Middle English speakers adopted it from Anglo-French.
July 31, 2019 at 01:00PM
Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for July 30, 2019 is:
phalanx • \FAY-lanks\ • noun
1 : a body of heavily armed infantry in ancient Greece formed in close deep ranks and files; broadly : a body of troops in close array
2 : one of the digital bones of the hand or foot of a vertebrate
3 a : a massed arrangement of persons, animals, or things
b : an organized body of persons
“Despite Beyoncé missing in action, Skylar Grey filled her shoes admirably, as she sang the hook and played the piano. In addition to Grey, a phalanx of violinists helped anchor the heartfelt performance.” — Carl Lamarre, Billboard.com, 12 Nov. 2017
“This specimen … is the middle phalanx of a human middle finger. It was collected from the Nefud desert of Saudi Arabia by Huw Groucutt of Oxford University and his colleagues. In a paper just published in Nature Ecology & Evolution they report that uranium-thorium isotopic dating suggests it is 88,000 years old….” — The Economist, 14 Apr. 2018
Did you know?
The original sense of phalanx refers to a military formation that was used in ancient warfare and consisted of a tight block of soldiers standing shoulder to shoulder, several rows deep, often with shields joined. The word phalanx comes from the Greeks, though they were not the only ones who used this formation. The Greek term literally means “log” and was used for both this line of battle and for a bone in a finger or toe. The word and its senses passed into Latin and then were adopted into English in the 16th century. These days, a phalanx can be any arranged mass, whether of persons, animals, or things, or a body of people organized in a particular effort.
July 30, 2019 at 01:00PM
Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for July 29, 2019 is:
addlepated • \AD-ul-pay-tud\ • adjective
1 : being mixed up : confused
2 : eccentric
“Her addlepated mind flitted butterflylike from one often unrelated subject to another.” — Tessa Harris, The Anatomist’s Apprentice, 2011
“[Nick Park’s] best-known creations are the addlepated, cheese-loving inventor Wallace, and Gromit, his patient, intelligent dog. Park’s work helped to spark a new blossoming of stop-motion animation….” — Charles Solomon, The Los Angeles Times, 15 Feb. 2018
Did you know?
In Middle English an adel eye was a putrid egg. The stench of such an egg apparently affected the minds of some witty thinkers, who hatched a comparison between the diminished, unsound quality of an adel eye (or addle egg as it came to be called in modern English) and an empty, confused head—or pate. “Your owne imagination, which was no lesse Idle, then your head was addle all that day,” wrote one 17th-century wit at play with the words idle and addle. Today, addle is often found in combination with words referring to one’s noggin, as in addlepated, addlebrained, and addle-headed.
July 29, 2019 at 01:00PM
Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for July 28, 2019 is:
evince • \ih-VINSS\ • verb
1 : to constitute outward evidence of
2 : to display clearly : reveal
“Randall Park is solid, handsome, capable, and utterly charming—a leading man whose talents as sly foil to a larger, more outsized personality evinced by his performance in Fresh Off the Boat are given their full due here.” — Megan Reynolds, Jezebel, 3 June 2019
“Famous for getting the first humans to the moon, the Apollo 11 command module is astoundingly small and unrefined yet evinces our innate desire to reach uninhabitable territories.” — Lydia Kallipoliti, quoted in The Atlantic, 18 Sept. 2018
Did you know?
Let us conquer any uncertainty you may have about the history of evince. It derives from Latin evincere, meaning “to vanquish” or “to win a point,” and can be further traced to vincere, Latin for “to conquer.” In the early 1600s, evince was sometimes used in the senses “to subdue” or “to convict of error,” meanings evincing the influence of its Latin ancestors. It was also sometimes used as a synonym of its cousin convince, but that sense is now obsolete. One early meaning, “to constitute evidence of,” has hung on, however, and in the 1800s it was joined by another sense, “to reveal.”
July 28, 2019 at 01:00PM
Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for July 27, 2019 is:
bildungsroman • \BIL-doonks-roh-mahn\ • noun
: a novel about the moral and psychological growth of the main character
“It’s a thoroughly contemporary bildungsroman in which the protagonist is the Vietnamese-born son of an illiterate and violence-prone single mother. He’s living in the United States with her and his schizophrenic grandmother when he comes to terms with the alternating harshness and warmth of his family….” — Leigh Haber, Oprah Magazine, 3 June 2019
“In its way, this is a very novelistic film, with the accretion of detail you might expect from a Bildungsroman.… We see what Cleo sees, we wonder what and how she feels, we build up our investment of sympathy with her, and it all leads to a heartrending payoff.” — Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian (London), 13 Feb. 2019
Did you know?
Bildungsroman is the combination of two German words: Bildung, meaning “education,” and Roman, meaning “novel.” Fittingly, a bildungsroman is a novel that deals with the formative years of the main character, and in particular, with the character’s psychological development and moral education. The bildungsroman usually ends on a positive note, with the hero’s foolish mistakes and painful disappointments over, and a life of usefulness ahead. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s late 18th-century work Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre (Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship) is often cited as the classic example of a bildungsroman. Though the term is primarily applied to novels, in recent years some English speakers have begun to apply it to films that deal with a youthful character’s coming-of-age.
July 27, 2019 at 01:00PM
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July 26, 2019 at 12:05PM