Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for December 11, 2013 is:
nimiety \nih-MYE-uh-tee\ noun
: excess, redundancy
Nathan is possessed of a nimiety of get-rich-quick schemes, combined with a paucity of common sense.
"Despite the nimiety of blue lighting and an issue over microphone levels, this was a wonderfully gentle evening of poignant country and folk poetry set to simple melodies that go round and round in your brain." From a concert review by Jon Bennett in The Bristol Post, March 18, 2013
Did you know?
There's no scarcity of English words used for too much of a good thingwords like "overkill," "plethora," "superfluity," "surfeit," "surplus," and "preponderance." In fact, you might just feel that "nimiety" itself is a bit superfluous. It's true that we've never used the word excessively, though it has been part of our language for nearly 450 years. (We borrowed it from Late Latin "nimietas," a noun taken, in turn, from the Latin adjective "nimius," meaning "excessive.") But though "nimiety" is far from overused, it does turn up occasionally and can be considered a valid addition to any writer or reader's vocabulary.
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for December 10, 2013 is:
ferrule \FAIR-ul\ noun
1 : a ring or cap usually of metal put around a slender shaft (as a cane or a tool handle) to strengthen it or prevent splitting 2 : a usually metal sleeve used especially for joining or binding one part to another (as pipe sections or the bristles and handle of a brush)
"A band of metal called a ferrule is glued onto the end of the pencil where a recess has been cut, while at the same time a plunger presses an eraser plug into the ferrule. When the glue dries, everything is bliss." From an article by Steve Ritter in Chemical & Engineering News, December 16, 2002
"Making a brush is as simple as knotting and gluing bristles to the handle, and holding them in place by slipping a tight metal ferrule over the bond between bristle and handle." From a post at swatchgirl.com on May 15, 2013
Did you know?
"Ferrule" is a word for a simple metal band or cap of great versatility. The ferrule is ubiquitous. It is the cap at the end of a cane or crutch, a chair or table leg; it is the point or knob at the hub of an umbrella; it fits together tubes and pipes and binds paintbrush handles to bristles and pencils to erasers. In Middle English this universal thingamajig was called a "verrel." That word commonly referred to the strengthening bands or rings of iron used to prevent the splitting or wear of the wooden shafts of implements. The name evolved from Middle French "virelle" and Old French "virol" and ultimately from Latin "viriola," meaning "small bracelet." The "f" spelling of today's "ferrule" was influenced by "ferrum," the Latin word for "iron."
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for December 09, 2013 is:
glade \GLAYD\ noun
: an open space surrounded by woods
"Whenever they got a glimpse of the sun in an open glade they seemed unaccountably to have veered eastwards." From J.R.R. Tolkien's 1954 book The Fellowship of the Ring
"On the surfacesylphs and a poet in a moonlit glade before a ruined abbey'Sylphides' looks quaint, a study in preciosity; but the lovely construction of its dances renders its poetry fresh." From a review by Alastair Macaulay in The New York Times, November 4, 2013
Did you know?
We know that "glade" has been with us since at least the early 1500s, though the word's origins remain a bit of a mystery. "Glade," which originally was often used not just to indicate a clearing in the woods but one which was also filled with sunlight, may come from the adjective "glad." In Middle English, "glad" also meant "shining," a meaning that goes back to the word's Old English ancestor, "glæd." "Glæd" is akin to Old High German "glat" ("shining, smooth") and Old Norse "glathr" ("sunny"). It may also be a relative of Old English "geolu," the ancestor of the modern English word "yellow."
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for December 08, 2013 is:
unbeknownst \un-bih-NOHNST\ adjective
: happening or existing without the knowledge of someone specified
Unbeknownst to Caroline, we all chipped in to have a large bouquet of flowers delivered to her office for her birthday.
"Although his wife was well aware of their excessive spending habits, Travis was the one who paid the billsand he often used credit cards to cover them unbeknownst to Vonnie." From an article by Penny Wrenn on Forbes.com, October 9, 2013
Did you know?
"Unbeknownst" derives from "beknown," an obsolete synonym of "known." But for a word with a straightforward history, "unbeknownst" and its older and less common variant "unbeknown" have created quite a flap among usage commentators. Despite widespread use (including appearances in the writings of Charles Dickens, A.E. Housman, and E.B. White), the two words have been called everything from "obsolete" to "vulgar." Our evidence, however, shows that both can be considered standard.
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for December 07, 2013 is:
albeit \awl-BEE-it\ conjunction
: conceding the fact that : even though : although
Troy has finally landed a role in a Broadway play, albeit as a minor character. "Earth is an afterthoughtjust one of the 'nine realms,' albeit the one with Natalie Portman." From a movie review by Jake Coyleap in The Daily Commercial (Leesburg, Florida), November 7, 2013
Did you know?
Speakers of Middle English formed "albeit" from a combination of "al" ("all, completely") with "be" and "it," creating this word which literally means "although it be." Use of "albeit" seemed to drop off a bit in the 19th century, but in the middle of the 20th century several usage commentators observed that the "archaic" word was making a comeback. The "archaic" descriptor was not entirely apt; "albeit" may have become less common for a while but it never really went out of use. It is true, however, that use of "albeit" has increased considerably since the 1930s, judging by evidence in Merriam-Webster's files.
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for December 06, 2013 is:
hibernaculum \hye-ber-NAK-yuh-lum\ noun
: a shelter occupied during the winter by a dormant animal (as an insect or reptile)
"The affliction has spread and stands to threaten major bat hibernacula to the south and west." From an article by Curtis Runyan in Nature Conservancy, Winter 2009 "The Game Commission estimates that close to 100,000 bats hibernated in Long Run Mine as recently as two years ago, making it the largest hibernaculum in the state then." From an article by Mary Ann Thomas in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, October 28, 2013
Did you know?
If you're afraid of snakes or bats, you probably won't enjoy thinking about a hibernaculum, where hundreds, even thousands, of these creatures might be passing the wintry months. Other creatures also use hibernacula, though many of these tend to be a bit inconspicuous. The word "hibernaculum" has been used for the burrow of a woodchuck, for instance, as well as for a cozy caterpillar cocoon attached to a wintry twig, and for the spot in which a frog has buried itself in the mud. Hibernacula are all around us and have been around for a long, long time, but we have only called them such since 1770. In case you are wondering, "hibernate" didn't come into being until the second decade of the 19th century. Both words come from Latin "hibernare," meaning "to pass the winter."
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for December 05, 2013 is:
quibble \KWIB-ul\ verb
1 : to evade the point of an argument by caviling about words 2 a : cavil, carp b : bicker 3 : to subject to minor objections or criticisms
There always seemed to be one person at the meeting who wanted to quibble over the fine points rather than focus on the larger plan.
"I could quibble about some points in the job search section but the author is so generous with her advice and samples that I'd rather not pick at the little things." From an article by Amy Lindgren in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, November 9, 2013
Did you know?
"Quibble" can also be a noun meaning "an evasion of or shift from the point" or "a minor objection or criticism." Both forms of the word arrived in English in the mid-17th century. Presumably (though not certainly) "quibble" originated as a diminutive of a now obsolete word, "quib," which also meant "quibble." In fact, although language experts may quibble over this, there is a possibility that "quib" can be traced back to the plural of the Latin word "qui," meaning "who," which was often used in legal documents. If so, that makes "quibble" a very distant cousin of the English word "who."
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for December 04, 2013 is:
benefic \buh-NEF-ik\ adjective
: producing good or helpful results or effects : beneficial
Coach Reed is a strong proponent of the view that participation in sports has a benefic influence on young people.
"The benefic properties of potassium hydrate have made it a commonly found element in many natural remedies." From a press release from SBWire, July 15, 2013
Did you know?
"Benefic" comes from Latin "beneficus," which in turn comes from "bene" ("well") and "facere" ("to do"). The word was originally used by astrologers to refer to celestial bodies believed to have a favorable influence, and it's still used in astrological contexts. "Benefic," "beneficent," and "beneficial" are all synonyms, but there are shades of difference. "Beneficial" usually applies to things that promote well-being (as in "beneficial treatment"), or that provide some benefit or advantage (as in "beneficial classes"). "Beneficent" means doing or effecting good (as in "a beneficent climate"), but in particular refers to the performance of acts of kindness or charity (as in "a beneficent organization")."Benefic," the rarest of the three, tends to be a bit high-flown, and it's mostly used to describe a favorable power or force.
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for December 03, 2013 is:
lacuna \luh-KOO-nuh\ noun
1 : a blank space or a missing part : gap; also : deficiency, inadequacy 2 : a small cavity, pit, or discontinuity in an anatomical structure
The newly discovered Civil War documents will fill many lacunae in the museum's archives.
"There are some peculiar lacunae in this volume, however. While Mr. Ellsworth-Jones quotes from earlier interviews (mainly via e-mail) that Banksy has dispensed over the years to others, he did not bother to submit his own e-mail questions ." From a book review by Michiko Kakutani in the New York Times, February 8, 2013
Did you know?
Exploring the etymology of "lacuna" involves taking a plunge into the pitor maybe a leap into the "lacus" (that's the Latin word for "lake"). Latin speakers modified "lacus" into "lacuna," and used it to mean "pit," "cleft," or "pool." English speakers borrowed the term in the 17th century. It is usually pluralized as "lacunae," as in our example sentences, though "lacunas" is also an accepted variant plural. Another English word that traces its origin to "lacuna" is "lagoon," which came to us by way of Italian and French.
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for December 02, 2013 is:
inveigh \in-VAY\ verb
: to protest or complain bitterly or vehemently : rail
Several property owners wrote letters to the paper inveighing against the high property taxes that they are required to pay.
"The anti-mine forces recruited personalities such as filmmaker and actor Robert Redford to inveigh against the project; companies such as Tiffany & Co. and Zale Corp. and dozens of others signed pledges to boycott the mine's products ." From an article by James Greiff in the Anchorage Daily News, October 2, 2013
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," "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."