每日一词:kindred(转自 韦氏词典)


Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 27, 2020 is:

kindred • \KIN-drud\  • adjective

1 : of a similar nature or character : like

2 : of the same ancestry


“Osterholm over the last few decades has been part of expert panels addressing … infectious zoonotic viruses kindred to Covid-19 such as Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).” — Todd Wilkinson, The Mountain Journal (Bozeman, Montana), 12 Apr. 2020

“This study also highlights how identifying with the personality traits of a musician who feels like a kindred spirit can have positive psychological benefits for the listener.…” — Christopher Bergland, Psychology Today, 5 July 2020

Did you know?

If you believe that advice and relatives are inseparable, the etymology of kindred will prove you right. Kindred comes from a combination of kin and the Old English word ræden (“condition”), which itself comes from the verb rædan, meaning “to advise.” Kindred entered English as a noun first during the Middle Ages. That noun, which can refer to a group of related individuals or to one’s own relatives, gave rise to the adjective kindred in the 14th century.


August 27, 2020 at 01:00PM

每日一词:testimonial(转自 韦氏词典)


Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 26, 2020 is:

testimonial • \tess-tuh-MOH-nee-ul\  • noun

1 a : a statement testifying to benefits received

b : a character reference : letter of recommendation

2 : an expression of appreciation : tribute

3 : evidence, testimony


“According to research from UPS, … 40% [of Millennials] refer to online reviews and testimonials before purchasing a product….” — Bill McLoughlin, Furniture Today, 9 Dec. 2019

“Members of the Emerson College Student Union rallied behind a pass/fail policy in a list of demands that included eight pages of student testimonials. Many described difficult home situations, illnesses, financial struggles, and general anxiety that impacts their academic performance.” — Diti Kohli, The Boston Globe, 27 Mar. 2020

Did you know?

In 1639, Scottish poet William Drummond responded to the politics of his day with a facetious set of new laws, including one stipulating that “no man wear a … periwig, unless he have a testimonial from a town-clerk, that he is either bald, sickly, or asham’d of white hairs.” Testimonials take different forms, but always, like in Drummond’s faux law, they provide affirmation or evidence. (Testimonial traces to Latin testimonium, meaning “evidence” or “witness.”) In the 19th century, testimonial developed a new use, referring to a tribute—that is, a gift presented as a public expression of appreciation. Today, testimonial is most often used to refer to a statement that endorses a product or service.


August 26, 2020 at 01:00PM

每日一词:requite(转自 韦氏词典)


Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 25, 2020 is:

requite • \rih-KWYTE\  • verb

1 a : to make return for : repay

b : to make retaliation for : avenge

2 : to make suitable return to for a benefit or service or for an injury


“Before [Steve Junga] was The Blade’s inimitable authority on high school sports, he was a 7-year-old on the East Side in love with the Tigers, who in 1968 requited him by rallying from a three-games-to-one deficit against Bob Gibson and the Cardinals to win the World Series.” — David Briggs, The Blade (Toledo, Ohio), 7 Apr. 2020

“She watched as her son developed a real affection for basketball, even as the game didn’t always requite his feelings (he didn’t crack the varsity team in high school until he was a senior).” — Steve Hummer, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 24 Jan. 2020

Did you know?

You might be familiar with the phrase “unrequited love.” Love that has not been requited is love that has not been returned or paid back in kind, which brings us to the common denominator in the above definitions for requite—the idea of repayment, recompense, or retribution. The quite in requite is a now obsolete English verb meaning “to quit” or “to pay.” (Quite is also related to the English verb quit, the oldest meanings of which include “to pay up” and “to set free.”) Quiten, the Middle English source of quite, can be traced back through Anglo-French to Latin quietus, meaning “quiet” or “at rest,” a word which is also an ancestor of the English word quiet.


August 25, 2020 at 01:00PM

每日一词:estival(转自 韦氏词典)


Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 24, 2020 is:

estival • \ESS-tuh-vul\  • adjective

: of or relating to the summer


“Horror stories are far more estival than autumnal. Before I ever read [Stephen] King, I learned to love being scared at summer camp, where the older kids would tell us ghost stories by campfire and flashlight. Horror ripens when the pole is tilted toward the sun—when school is out, children are unsupervised, heat makes people crazy, unexplored woods begin to beckon….” — Jeva Lange, The Week, 10 July 2019

“As an estival nod, fresh summer daisies bedecked the tables that were covered with blue, white and red linens, the order of the French colors.” — Nell Nolan, The Advocate (Baton Rouge, Louisiana), 19 July 2016

Did you know?

Estival and festival look so much alike that you might think they’re very closely related, but that isn’t the case. Estival traces back to aestas, which is the Latin word for “summer” (and which also gave us estivate, a verb for spending the summer in a torpid state—a sort of hot-weather equivalent of hibernating). Festival also comes from Latin, but it has a different and unrelated root. It derives from festivus, a term that means “festive” or “merry.” Festivus is also the ancestor of festive and festivity as well as the much rarer festivous (which also means “festive”) and infestive (“not merry, mirthless”).


August 24, 2020 at 01:00PM

每日一词:forte(转自 韦氏词典)


Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 23, 2020 is:

forte • \FOR-tay\  • noun

1 : one’s strong point

2 : the part of a sword or foil blade that is between the middle and the hilt and that is the strongest part of the blade


“Fried chicken is its forte, including spicy and boneless versions.… Its other specialty is breakfast….” — Tristan Navera, The Columbus (Ohio) Business First, 14 July 2020

“After looking through the gaming options, we decided on Quick Draw—a game that gives one participant a word to draw, while the other callers try to guess what the word is. … And while it turns out that guessing a word based on a sketch is not my forte (I got maybe one right), I was amazed at how mesmerized my whole family was. — Becca Miller, Good Housekeeping, 24 June 2020

Did you know?

Forte derives from the sport of fencing. When English speakers borrowed the word from French in the 17th century, it referred to the strongest part of a sword blade, between the middle and the hilt. It is therefore unsurprising that forte eventually developed an extended metaphorical sense for a person’s strong point. (Incidentally, forte has its counterpoint in the word foible, meaning both the weakest part of a sword blade and a person’s weak point.) There is some controversy over how to correctly pronounce forte. Common choices in American English are “FOR-tay” and “for-TAY,” but many usage commentators recommend rhyming it with fort. In French, it would be written le fort and pronounced more similar to English for. You can take your choice, knowing that someone somewhere will dislike whichever variant you choose. All, however, are standard.


August 23, 2020 at 01:00PM

每日一词:parochial(转自 韦氏词典)


Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 22, 2020 is:

parochial • \puh-ROH-kee-ul\  • adjective

1 : of or relating to a church parish

2 : of or relating to a parish as a unit of local government

3 : confined or restricted as if within the borders of a parish : limited in range or scope (as to a narrow area or region) : provincial, narrow


The book is marred by the parochial viewpoint of its author, who fails to take into account the interplay between local and global economies.

“Her father, Joseph, a taxi driver who owned his cab, took a second job to pay tuition for the children to attend parochial school.” — Melanie Burney, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 29 June 2020

Did you know?

In the Greek of the New Testament, the word paroikia means “temporary residence in a foreign land” and comes from the Greek word for “stranger”: paroikos. Early Christians used this designation for their colonies because they considered heaven their real home. But temporary or not, these Christian colonies became more organized as time went on. Thus, in Late Latin, parochia became the designation for a group of Christians in a given area under the leadership of one pastor—what we came to call a parish in the 14th century. Both parish and its related adjective parochial were borrowed at that time directly from Anglo-French terms that had been derived from the Late Latin. We didn’t begin to use parochial in its “narrow” sense until the mid-19th century.


August 22, 2020 at 01:00PM

每日一词:exhort(转自 韦氏词典)


Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 21, 2020 is:

exhort • \ig-ZORT\  • verb

1 : to incite by argument or advice : urge strongly

2 : to give warnings or advice : make urgent appeals


“You’d think it was easy, making a little cube with dots, but it’s hard to make a die that isn’t biased. The foreman would walk up and down exhorting us: ‘The fate of honest men and women lies in your hands. A single crooked die can ruin a man for life.'” — Margot Livesey, Banishing Verona, 2004

“Teen-age activist Greta Thunberg told world political and business leaders in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday that their inaction on the climate crisis was ‘fueling the flames by the hour.’ The 17-year-old exhorted the World Economic Forum audience to ‘act as if you loved your children above all else.'” — Vicky McKeever, CNBC.com, 23 Jan. 2020

Did you know?

Exhort is a 15th-century coinage. It derives from the Latin verb hortari, meaning “to incite,” and it often implies the ardent urging or admonishing of an orator or preacher. English speakers apparently took to the root hort, fiddling around with different prefixes to create other words similar in meaning to exhort. They came up with adhort (meaning the same as exhort) and dehort (a word similar to exhort and adhort but with a more specific meaning of “to dissuade”). Adhort all but vanished after the 17th century. Dehort had a slightly better run than adhort, but it is now considered archaic.


August 21, 2020 at 01:00PM

每日一词:ne plus ultra(转自 韦氏词典)


Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 20, 2020 is:

ne plus ultra • \nay-plus-UL-truh\  • noun

1 : the highest point capable of being attained : acme

2 : the most profound degree of a quality or state


“To drummers in the ’70s and ’80s, [Neil] Peart was an Eddie Van Halen figure, someone whose pyrotechnic chops seemed to be the ne plus ultra.” — Christopher R. Weingarten, The New York Times, 12 Jan. 2020

“The ne plus ultra of campaign trail restaurants, visited without fail election cycle after election cycle by Democrat, Republican, and third-party candidates alike, is the Red Arrow Diner, a century-old, 24-hour diner in Manchester, New Hampshire. A political consultant could not imagine a better stage for the practice of person-to-person politicking.” — Gary He, Eater.com, 30 Jan. 2020

Did you know?

It is the height, the zenith, the ultimate, the crown, the pinnacle. It is the peak, the summit, the crest, the high-water mark. All these expressions, of course, mean “the highest point attainable.” But ne plus ultra may top them all when it comes to expressing in a sophisticated way that something is the pink of perfection. It is said that the term’s predecessor, non plus ultra, was inscribed on the Pillars of Hercules at the Strait of Gibraltar, which marked the western end of the classical world. The phrase served as a warning: “(Let there) not (be) more (sailing) beyond.” The New Latin version ne plus ultra, meaning “(go) no more beyond,” found its way into English in the early 1600s.


August 20, 2020 at 01:00PM

每日一词:dulcet(转自 韦氏词典)


Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 19, 2020 is:

dulcet • \DUL-sut\  • adjective

1 : sweet to the taste

2 : pleasing to the ear

3 : generally pleasing or agreeable


“James Blake has long been one of our favorite live performers, bringing his gentle, dulcet tenor and aching emotion to each and every concert.” — Patrick Ryan, USA Today, 10 Apr. 2020

“About six weeks after bottling, the stout proved to be great. It was full bodied and rich with a dark chocolate note, roasted flavors, tart and dulcet cherry flavors and a bit of tannins like you would find in a fine red wine.” — Gordon Kendall, The Roanoke (Virginia) Times, 24 Mar. 2020 

Did you know?

Dulcet has many linguistic ancestors, including the Latin dulcis, Anglo-French douz, and Middle English doucet—all meaning “sweet.” The dulcet dulcis has contributed many sweet terms to English. Among these are the musical direction dolce (“to be played sweetly, softly”), Dulciana (a type of pipe organ stop made up of flue pipes), dolcian (a small bassoon-like instrument used in the 16th and 17th centuries), and dulcimer (an American folk instrument). On a similar note, the word dulcify means “to make sweet,” and the adjective doux, derived from Old French douz, is used in wine circles to describe champagne that is sweet.


August 19, 2020 at 01:00PM

每日一词:braggadocio(转自 韦氏词典)


Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 18, 2020 is:

braggadocio • \brag-uh-DOH-see-oh\  • noun

1 a : empty boasting

b : arrogant pretension : cockiness

2 : a person given to arrogant boasting : braggart


“The musical numbers, all penned by Miranda, slide easily from the braggadocio of ’90s rap to the lilt of Harlem jazz and beyond. Miraculously, nothing sounds excessively show-tuney.” — Stephanie Zacharek, Time, 30 June 2020

“It’s the first time in his life that Jack has hit anyone, but there are a lot of intangibles behind it (all those fake fights and phantom punches thrown, all that idle braggadocio from stunt men between takes), and with a beginner’s luck it lands just right on the side of Petty’s face….” — Daniel Pyne, Twentynine Palms, 2010

Did you know?

Though Braggadocio is not as well-known as other fictional characters like Pollyanna, the Grinch, or Scrooge, in lexicography he holds a special place next to them as one of the many characters whose name has become an established word in English. The English poet Edmund Spenser originally created Braggadocio as a personification of boasting in his epic poem The Faerie Queene. As early as 1594, about four years after the poem was published, English speakers began using the name as a general term for any blustering blowhard.


August 18, 2020 at 01:00PM

每日一词:cognizable(转自 韦氏词典)


Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 17, 2020 is:

cognizable • \KAHG-nuh-zuh-bul\  • adjective

1 : capable of being judicially heard and determined

2 : capable of being known


“The state also argued that the plaintiffs failed to show ‘that they have suffered a cognizable burden to their right to vote’ or that Florida’s election procedures are unconstitutional.” — Dara Kam, The Naples (Florida) Daily News, 28 May 2020

“Meanwhile, the board majority appeared to be likewise deliberately or negligently unaware of state law, and operated outside of any cognizable board or committee procedure.” — Marie-Louise Ramsdale, The Post & Courier (Charleston, South Carolina), 21 Jan. 2020

Did you know?

It’s easy to recognize the cogni- in cognizable and in other English words that have to do with knowing: cognitive, incognito, precognition, and recognition, for example. They’re all from Latin cognōscere (“to get to know” or “to acquire knowledge of”). Cognizable was formed in the 17th century from the root of cognizance, which in English means “knowledge” or “awareness.” Cognizance traces to cognōscere via Anglo-French conoisance and conoissant, meaning “aware” or “mindful.” Cognizable was used in its legal sense almost from its introduction, and that meaning continues to be most common today.


August 17, 2020 at 01:00PM

每日一词:inveigh(转自 韦氏词典)


Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 16, 2020 is:

inveigh • \in-VAY\  • verb

: to protest or complain bitterly or vehemently : rail


“Wearing a blue suit, [Hannah] Gadsby begins by pointing to a prop dog made of crayons onstage, immediately making fun of herself, a notable shift since ‘Nanette,’ when she inveighed against self-deprecation.” — Jason Zinoman, The New York Times¸ 26 May 2020

“I see their anger spiking in Facebook conversations and unfurling across Twitter threads. They inveigh against the new high-occupancy lanes on Interstate 15; against the paid parking at casinos….” — Geoff Carter, The Las Vegas Weekly, 27 Feb. 2020

Did you know?

You might complain or grumble about some wrong you see, or, for a stronger effect, you can inveigh against it. Inveigh comes from the Latin verb invehere, which joins the prefix in- with the verb vehere, meaning “to carry.” Invehere literally means “to carry in,” and when inveigh first appeared in English, it was also used to mean “to carry in” or “to introduce.” Extended meanings of invehere, however, are “to force one’s way into,” “to attack,” and “to assail with words,” and that’s where the current sense of inveigh comes from. A closely related word is invective, which means “insulting or abusive language.” This word, too, ultimately comes from invehere.


August 16, 2020 at 01:00PM

每日一词:subterfuge(转自 韦氏词典)


Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 15, 2020 is:

subterfuge • \SUB-ter-fyooj\  • noun

1 : deception by artifice or stratagem in order to conceal, escape, or evade

2 : a deceptive device or stratagem


“First, an antivirus product may upload the complete text of files flagged to the cloud, where it can be analyzed by separate tools…. Some malware can detect when a running process may examine it, and will then engage in subterfuge.” — Macworld, 4 May 2020

“Shortly after sunset on Wednesday, President Donald Trump secretly boarded an undisclosed aircraft at an undisclosed airport in Florida and flew to Joint Base Andrews…. Air Force One, the plane Trump took from Washington, D.C., to Florida Tuesday evening, remained parked on the tarmac at Palm Beach International Airport as part of the subterfuge.” — Christine Stapleton, The Palm Beach Post, 28 Nov. 2019

Did you know?

Though subterfuge is a synonym of deception, fraud, double-dealing, and trickery, there’s nothing tricky about the word’s etymology. We borrowed the word and meaning from Late Latin subterfugium. That word contains the Latin prefix subter-, meaning “secretly,” which derives from the adverb subter, meaning “underneath.” The -fuge portion comes from the Latin verb fugere, which means “to flee” and which is also the source of words such as fugitive and refuge, among others.


August 15, 2020 at 01:00PM

每日一词:quiescent(转自 韦氏词典)


Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 14, 2020 is:

quiescent • \kwy-ESS-unt\  • adjective

1 : marked by inactivity or repose : tranquilly at rest

2 : causing no trouble or symptoms


“‘Inflation‘ means a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services, either at the consumer or producer level. It certainly is dormant or quiescent right now.” — Edward Lotterman, The St. Paul (Minnesota) Press, 28 July 2019

“Since the sequencing of the human genome in 2000, cancer therapies have moved closer toward personalized medicine—tailoring treatments to an individual’s genetic fingerprint or DNA—to help predict responses to therapy or to flag differences between aggressive and quiescent disease.” — Susan Jenks, Florida Today (Brevard County, Florida), 1 Oct. 2015

Did you know?

Quiescent won’t cause you any pain, and neither will its synonyms latent, dormant, and potential—at least not immediately. All four words mean “not now showing signs of activity or existence.” Latent usually applies to something that has not yet come forth but may emerge and develop, as in “a latent talent for opera singing.” Dormant implies a state of inactivity similar to sleep, as in “their passions lay dormant.” Potentia­l applies to what may or may not come to be. “A potential disaster” is a typical example. Quiescent, which traces to Latin quiēscere (meaning “to rest” or “to be quiet”), often suggests a temporary cessation of activity, as in “a quiescent disease” or “a summer resort quiescent in wintertime.”


August 14, 2020 at 01:00PM

每日一词:catch-22(转自 韦氏词典)


Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 13, 2020 is:

catch-22 • \KATCH-twen-tee-TOO\  • noun

1 : a problematic situation for which the only solution is denied by a circumstance inherent in the problem or by a rule; also : the circumstance or rule that denies a solution

2 a : an illogical, unreasonable, or senseless situation

b : a measure or policy whose effect is the opposite of what was intended

c : a situation presenting two equally undesirable alternatives

3 : a hidden difficulty or means of entrapment : catch


Following her graduation from college, Kelsey struggled with the classic job-seeker’s catch-22: how to acquire work experience in her chosen field without already having a job in that field.

“Yet this week France stood firm on its ban, which prohibits the wearing of clothing intended to hide the face in public spaces, despite the fact that masks are now being required on public transportation and in high schools…. The result is a Catch-22. Those who do not wear a mask can be fined, as can those who violate the face-covering law.” — Lou Stoppard, The New York Times, 19 May 2020

Did you know?

Catch-22 originated as the title of a 1961 novel by Joseph Heller. (Heller had originally planned to title his novel Catch-18, but the publication of Leon Uris’s Mila 18 persuaded him to change the number.) The novel’s catch-22 was as follows: a combat pilot was crazy by definition (he would have to be crazy to fly combat missions) and since army regulations stipulated that insanity was justification for grounding, a pilot could avoid flight duty by simply asking, but if he asked, he was demonstrating his sanity (anyone who wanted to get out of combat must be sane) and had to keep flying. Catch-22 soon entered the language as the label for any irrational, circular, and impossible situation.


August 13, 2020 at 01:00PM

每日一词:yaw(转自 韦氏词典)


Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 12, 2020 is:

yaw • \YAW\  • verb

1 a of a ship : to deviate erratically from a course (as when struck by a heavy sea); especially : to move from side to side

b of an airplane, spacecraft, or projectile : to turn by angular motion about the vertical axis

2 : to change from one to another repeatedly : alternate


“A crane had been brought in to lift the submersible from the truck onto the raft.… Even with its heavy load the raft pitched and yawed as it was towed along.” — Clive Cussler and Paul Kemprecos, Blue Gold, 2000

“All told, even as the U.S. GDP has grown, our air and water have become cleaner. And while policies yawed between Democratic and Republican administrations, the long-term trend has been toward stronger and better controls that have not, despite the dire warnings from the pro-business sector, crippled the economy.” — editorial, The Los Angeles Times, 22 Apr. 2020

Did you know?

In the heyday of large sailing ships, numerous nautical words appeared on the horizon. Yaw is one such word. Its origin isn’t exactly known, but it began turning up in print in the 16th century, first as a noun (meaning “movement off course” or “side to side movement”) and then as a verb. For centuries, it remained a sailing word—often alongside pitch (“to have the front end rise and fall”)—with occasional extended use as a synonym of the verb alternate. When the era of airplane flight dawned, much of the vocabulary of sailing found new life in aeronautics, and “yawing” was no longer confined to the sea. Nowadays, yaw, pitch, and roll are just as likely to be used by pilots and rocket scientists to describe the motion of their crafts.


August 12, 2020 at 01:00PM

每日一词:malaise(转自 韦氏词典)


Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 11, 2020 is:

malaise • \muh-LAYZ\  • noun

1 : an indefinite feeling of debility or lack of health often indicative of or accompanying the onset of an illness

2 : a vague sense of mental or moral ill-being


“Nothing can make you forget the malaise of social distancing like the pain of being a teenager.” — Ariel Shapiro, Forbes, 19 Apr. 2020

“While the bats’ social distancing could possibly limit a pathogen’s spread, Stockmaier doesn’t think these isolating behaviours have evolved to protect other bats. Instead, he says they may be a consequence of the bats’ malaise and lethargy from feeling ill.” — Jake Buehler, New Scientist, 6 May 2020

Did you know?

Malaise, which ultimately traces back to Old French, has been part of English since the 18th century. One of its most notable uses, however, came in 1979—well, sort of. U.S. President Jimmy Carter never actually used the word in his July 15 televised address, but it became known as the “malaise speech” all the same. In the speech, Carter described the U.S. as a nation facing a “crisis of confidence” and rife with “paralysis and stagnation and drift.” He spoke of a “national malaise” a few days later, and it’s not hard to see why the “malaise” name stuck. The speech was praised by some and criticized by others, but whatever your politics, it remains a vivid illustration of the meaning of malaise.


August 11, 2020 at 01:00PM

每日一词:vivacious(转自 韦氏词典)


Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 10, 2020 is:

vivacious • \vuh-VAY-shus\  • adjective

: lively in temper, conduct, or spirit : sprightly


The host was a vivacious woman with a knack for making people feel comfortable.

Totoro, the story of two young girls and the wood spirits they befriend, is vivacious and warmhearted, trafficking in the everyday magic and fertile imagination of childhood.” — Jason Bailey, The New York Times, 5 June 2020

Did you know?

It’s no surprise that vivacious means “full of life,” since it can be traced back to the Latin verb vivere, meaning “to live.” The word was created around the mid-17th century using vivax, a vivere derivative meaning “long-lived, vigorous, or high-spirited.” Other descendants of vivere in English include survive, revive, and victual—all of which came to life during the 15th century—and vivid and convivial, both of which surfaced around the same time as vivacious. Somewhat surprisingly, the word live is not related; it comes to us from the Old English word libban.


August 10, 2020 at 01:00PM

每日一词:ferret(转自 韦氏词典)


Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 9, 2020 is:

ferret • \FAIR-ut\  • verb

1 : to hunt game with ferrets

2 : to drive out of a hiding place

3 : to find and bring to light by searching — usually used with out


“Quarantining was invented during the first wave of bubonic plague in the 14th century, but it was deployed more systematically during the Great Plague [of London, 1665-1666]. Public servants called searchers ferreted out new cases of plague, and quarantined sick people along with everyone who shared their homes.'” — Annalee Newitz, The New York Times, 29 Mar. 2020

“For more than 40 years, journalist Robert Fisk has reported on some of the most violent and divisive conflicts in the world. Yung Chang’s This Is Not a Movie captures Fisk in action—feet on the ground, notebook in hand, as he travels into landscapes devastated by war, ferreting out the facts and firing reports back home to reach an audience of millions.” — Craig Thornton, WWNYtv.com (Watertown, New York), 29 June 2020

Did you know?

Since the 14th century, English speakers have used ferret as the name of a small domesticated animal of the weasel family. The word came to us by way of Anglo-French and can be traced back to Latin fur, meaning “thief.” These days ferrets are often kept as pets, but previously they were used to hunt rabbits, rats, and other vermin, and to drive them from their underground burrows. By the 15th century, the verb ferret was being used of the action of hunting with ferrets. By the late 16th century, the verb had taken on figurative uses as well. Today, we most frequently encounter the verb ferret in the sense of “to find and bring to light by searching.”


August 09, 2020 at 01:00PM

每日一词:beholden(转自 韦氏词典)


Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 8, 2020 is:

beholden • \bih-HOHL-dun\  • adjective

: being under obligation for a favor or gift : indebted


“When the Second Continental Congress ratified the final text of this Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, it was launching into uncharted territory. They were creating a vision for a country that did not yet exist. As Ronald Reagan would later say, ‘This idea that government is beholden to the people, that it has no other source of power except the sovereign people, is still the newest and the most unique idea in all the long history of man’s relation to man.'” — Brad Wenstrup, The Cincinnati (Ohio) Enquirer, 4 July 2020

“Group sizes will remain beholden to the gatherings limits put in place by the governor’s state of emergency order for managing the state’s economy and government amid the COVID-19 pandemic.” — Michael Frett, The St. Albans (Vermont) Messenger, 23 June 2020

Did you know?

Have you ever found yourself under obligation to someone else for a gift or favor? It’s a common experience and, not surprisingly, many of the words describing this condition have been part of the English language for centuries. Beholden is recorded in the Middle-English Arthurian poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Indebted, which entered English through Anglo-French, is older and still very much in use. Those who don’t mind sounding like English speakers of yore have another synonym of beholden to choose from: a now-archaic sense of bounden. That word is today more often used with the meaning “made obligatory” or “binding,” as in “our bounden duty.”


August 08, 2020 at 01:00PM

每日一词:midriff(转自 韦氏词典)


Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 7, 2020 is:

midriff • \MID-riff\  • noun

1 : the mid-region of the human torso : midsection

2 a : a section of a garment that covers the midriff

b : a garment that exposes the midriff

3 : a body partition of muscle and connective tissue; specifically : the partition separating the chest and abdominal cavities in mammals : diaphragm


Even the store’s winter line of clothing includes a number of midriff-baring tops, albeit paired with oversized cardigans or flannel shirts.

“I love printed shift dresses that just float over the midriff or little leather skirts to bring out your edgier side.” — Aramide Esubi, The Chicago Tribune, 22 Mar. 2020

Did you know?

Midriff is now most commonly encountered in the mid-torso or clothing-related senses. These senses are relatively young, having appeared, respectively, in the early 19th and mid-20th centuries. For most of its history, however, midriff has been used to refer to the diaphragm (a large flat muscle separating the lungs from the stomach area). The diaphragm sense has been with us for more than 1,000 years, with the earliest known uses being found in Old English manuscripts such as Bald’s Leechbook, a medical text that is believed to date back to the 9th century. The riff in midriff comes from Old English hrif (“belly, womb”). Hrif is akin to Old High German href (“womb”) and probably also to Latin corpus (“body”).


August 07, 2020 at 01:00PM

每日一词:grubstake(转自 韦氏词典)


Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 6, 2020 is:

grubstake • \GRUB-stayk\  • verb

: to provide with material assistance (such as a loan) for launching an enterprise or for a person in difficult circumstances


“Kimbro, on the other hand, traveled widely, still hoping to find the speculator who would grubstake him for the big attack on the hidden field. He would go anywhere, consult with anyone, and offer almost any kind of inducement: ‘Let me have the money, less than a year, ten-percent interest, and I’ll give you one-thirty-second of my participation.'” — James A. Michener, Texas, 1985

“When my entrepreneurial father had the bright idea to start a microfilm company, he asked my grandfather for financial help, only to be refused.… Eventually his brother, Frank, a doctor, grubstaked him for $500 to help start the company, a tidy sum in those days.” — Phil Power, Bridge Magazine (Michigan), 28 Mar. 2020

Did you know?

Grubstake is a linguistic nugget that was dug up during the famous California Gold Rush, which began in 1848. Sometime between the first stampede and the early 1860s, when the gold-seekers headed off to Montana, prospectors combined grub (“food”) and stake, meaning “an interest or share in an undertaking.” At first grubstake was a noun, referring to any kind of loan or provisions that could be finagled to make an undertaking possible (with the agreement that the “grubstaker” would get a cut of any profits). By the 1870s, grubstake was also showing up as a verb meaning “to give someone a grubstake,” and, since at least 1900, shortly after the Klondike Gold Rush, it has been applied to other situations in which a generous benefactor comes through with the funds.


August 06, 2020 at 01:00PM

每日一词:demure(转自 韦氏词典)


Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 5, 2020 is:

demure • \dih-MYOOR\  • adjective

1 : reserved, modest

2 : affectedly modest, reserved, or serious : coy


“Her demure demeanor belies the inner Goth girl who once hung out with Mötley Crue and Ozzy Osbourne. She maintains art forms her first priority for being alive. The social distancing produced by the coronavirus is nothing new to her.” — Kathaleen Roberts, The Albuquerque (New Mexico) Journal, 21 June 2020

“While Amelia Bloomer’s name became a punch line, Susan B. Anthony would be remembered for a much different fashion statement: a demure red shawl, one example of which survives in the Smithsonian.” — ­ Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell, The Atlantic, 12 June 2019

Did you know?

In the nearly four centuries that demure has been in use, its meaning has only shifted slightly. While it began solely as a descriptive term for people of quiet modesty and sedate reserve—those who don’t draw attention to themselves, whether because of a shy nature or determined self-control—it came to be applied also to those whose modesty and reservation is more affectation than sincere expression. While demure sounds French and entered the language at a time when the native tongue of England was borrowing many French words from the Normans who gained control of the country after the Battle of Hastings in 1066, the etymological evidence requires that we exercise restraint: the word’s origin remains obscure.


August 05, 2020 at 01:00PM

每日一词:aficionado(转自 韦氏词典)


Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 4, 2020 is:

aficionado • \uh-fish-ee-uh-NAH-doh\  • noun

: a person who likes, knows about, and appreciates a usually fervently pursued interest or activity : devotee


Mickey’s brother, an aficionado of jazz, was a regular at the downtown clubs and often bought new records on the day they were released.

“But assessing the investment value of a vintage watch or a vintage car—a popular pastime among aficionados—can be a tricky business. Supply, or lack of it, often dictates which models appreciate, and which lose value.” — Stephen Williams, The New York Times, 18 June 2020

Did you know?

The affection an aficionado has for their favorite subject isn’t merely emotional—it’s also etymological. Back in the early 1800s, English borrowed aficionado from the past participle of the Spanish verb aficionar, which means “to inspire affection.” That verb comes from the Spanish noun afición, meaning “affection.” Both Spanish words trace to the Latin affectiō (which is also an ancestor of the English word affection). Affectiō, in turn, is from afficere (“to influence”) and gave English speakers the noun and verb affect.


August 04, 2020 at 01:00PM

每日一词:risible(转自 韦氏词典)


Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 3, 2020 is:

risible • \RIZZ-uh-bul\  • adjective

1 a : capable of laughing

b : disposed to laugh

2 : arousing or provoking laughter; especially : laughable

3 : associated with, relating to, or used in laughter


“When they arrived … they were treated to a sight that was as surreal as it was risible: Kamo Petrossian dressed in whites and sporting a captain’s hat complete with gold braid and embroidered badge, strutting about the sun deck, clutching a champagne flute.” — Peter Crawley, Mazzeri, 2013

“In the tradition of risible cable reality hits like Married at First Sight and 90 Day Fiancé, [Netflix’s] new ‘social experiment’ Love Is Blind follows couples who’ve been thrust on the fast track to marriage. The twist is that they don’t lay eyes on each other until they’re engaged; each ‘date’ consists solely of a chat between one man and one woman lounging in separate ‘pods.'” — Judy Berman, Time, 27 Feb. 2020

Did you know?

If someone makes a ridiculous remark about your risible muscles, they are not necessarily deriding your physique. Risible can also mean “associated with laughter,” so risible muscles can simply be the ones used for laughing. (You’ve also got a set of risorius muscles around your mouth that help you smile.) Next time you find something laughable, tip your hat to ridēre, the Latin verb meaning “to laugh” that gave us risible as well as ridiculous and deride.


August 03, 2020 at 01:00PM

每日一词:ombudsman(转自 韦氏词典)


Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 2, 2020 is:

ombudsman • \AHM-boodz-mun\  • noun

1 : a government official (as in Sweden or New Zealand) appointed to receive and investigate complaints made by individuals against abuses or capricious acts of public officials

2 : one that investigates, reports on, and helps settle complaints


“High-performing nursing homes usually have waiting lists, said Salli Pung, the state of Michigan’s long-term care ombudsman.” — Craig Mauger, The Detroit News, 26 June 2020

“The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has named Jonathan Midgett as its consumer ombudsman, a new position that seeks to give consumers a greater voice and understanding of the agency and its activities.” — Thomas Russell, Furniture Today, 16 June 2020

Did you know?

Ombudsman was borrowed from Swedish, where it means “representative,” and ultimately derives from the Old Norse words umboth (“commission”) and mathr (“man”). Sweden became the first country to appoint an independent official known as an ombudsman to investigate complaints against government officials and agencies. Since then, other countries (such as Finland, Denmark, and New Zealand), as well as some U.S. states, have appointed similar officials. The word also designates a person who reviews complaints against an organization (such as a school or hospital) or to someone who enforces standards of journalistic ethics at a newspaper.


August 02, 2020 at 01:00PM

每日一词:hotdog(转自 韦氏词典)


Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for August 1, 2020 is:

hotdog • \HAHT-dawg\  • verb

: to perform in a conspicuous or often ostentatious manner; especially : to perform fancy stunts and maneuvers (as while surfing or skiing)


The wide receiver hotdogged into the end zone after catching the touchdown pass.

“When you’re skating a four-and-a-half mile long trail, you don’t need to worry about crowds. Nobody’s coming along behind you, or hotdogging alongside.” — Joyce Maynard, The New York Times, 11 Feb. 2020

Did you know?

The verb hotdog first appeared in the latter half of the 20th century, and it was adopted from the use of the noun hot dog for someone who is very good at something. The noun was popularized around the turn of the 19th century along with the interjection hot dog to express approval or gratification. In time, the noun became mainly associated with people who showed off their skills in sports, from basketball to skiing, and the verb form came to be used for the spectacular acts of these show-offs. (As a side tidbit to chew on, the word for the frankfurter that might be eaten while watching athletes perform was also on the menu in the late 19th century.)


August 01, 2020 at 01:00PM

每日一词:rife(转自 韦氏词典)


Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for July 31, 2020 is:

rife • \RYFE\  • adjective

1 : prevalent especially to an increasing degree

2 : abundant, common

3 : copiously supplied : abounding


“Like most colleges and universities, ad schools have found themselves going virtual … because of the novel coronavirus pandemic. However, students soon graduating from these programs are facing a job market rife with layoffs, hiring freezes and canceled internships….” — Doug Zanger, Adweek, 8 June 2020

“Red-tailed hawks and some other raptors have learned that our highways are rife with rodents, so they perch on light poles, nearby trees or signs and wait to spot a meal.” — Val Cunningham, The Star Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota), 9 June 2020

Did you know?

English is rife with words that have Germanic connections, many of which have been handed down to us from Old English. Rife is one of those words. Not a whole lot has changed with rife in its long history. We continue to use the word for negative things, especially those that are widespread or prevalent. Examples are “shoplifting was rife” or “the city was rife with greed and corruption.” Rumors and speculation are also frequently described as “rife.” But rife can also be appropriately used for good or neutral things. For example, you might speak of the summer garden being “rife” with scents.


July 31, 2020 at 01:00PM

每日一词:catastrophe(转自 韦氏词典)


Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for July 30, 2020 is:

catastrophe • \kuh-TASS-truh-fee\  • noun

1 : a momentous tragic event ranging from extreme misfortune to utter overthrow or ruin

2 : utter failure : fiasco

3 a : a violent and sudden change in a feature of the earth

b : a violent usually destructive natural event (such as a supernova)

4 : the final event of the dramatic action especially of a tragedy


“We are a nation that’s used to catastrophes. We deal with avalanches, earthquakes, eruptions, and so on.” — Alma Möller, quoted in The New Yorker, 1 June 2020

“Be the challenge grave illness, divorce, a natural disaster or an economic meltdown, the rebound represents how we respond, how we stand strong in the face of catastrophe, how we refuse to give up.” — Designers Today, 27 May 2020

Did you know?

When English speakers first borrowed the Greek word katastrophē (from katastrephein, meaning “to overturn”) as catastrophe in the 1500s, they used it for the conclusion or final event of a dramatic work, especially of a tragedy. In time, catastrophe came to be used more generally of any unhappy conclusion, or disastrous or ruinous end. By the mid-18th century, it was being used to denote truly devastating events, such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Finally, it came to be applied to things that are only figuratively catastrophic—burnt dinners, lost luggage, really bad movies, etc.


July 30, 2020 at 01:00PM

每日一词:pejorative(转自 韦氏词典)


Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for July 29, 2020 is:

pejorative • \pih-JOR-uh-tiv\  • adjective

: having negative connotations; especially : tending to disparage or belittle : depreciatory


The captain has come under fire for making pejorative remarks about teammates.

“There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it. When I mention manipulation, this is not necessarily pejorative; it’s a very common and fairly benign tactic.” — Simon Sinek, Start with Why, 2009

Did you know?

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Parents have given that good advice for years, but unfortunately many people haven’t heeded it. The word pejorative makes it clear that both English and Latin speakers have long known that disparaging words can make a bad situation worse. Pejorative derives from the Late Latin adjective pējōrātus, which in turn comes from the Latin verb pējōrāre, meaning “to make or become worse.” Although pejorative words have probably always been part of English, the adjective pejorative has only been found in English texts since the late 1880s. Before then, English speakers could rely on older synonyms of pejorative such as derogatory and uncomplimentary to describe disparaging words.


July 29, 2020 at 01:00PM