pavisand, v. [‘ intr. To display an impressive or opulent array of clothing and ornament; to flaunt one’s appearance.’]

from the OED WOTD


mot juste

“…what they want you to do is fill in the blank with the word that makes the resulting sentence least interesting.”

Geoff Nunberg on “SAT words” on NPR

I give my students vocab words every year, and in the “use it in a sentence” part of the assignment I often see that they grasp the general function of the word but not the subtle nuance of its meaning. As Nunberg notes:

“Esoteric” only comes into its own as a concept when it’s jostling in your mind with “obscure,” “arcane,” “recondite” and the rest.


…you can’t pluck the word out of its native habitat to put on a study list and imagine that its meaning will still be clinging to its roots.

I love that second sentence.

There’s a word for that

chronopharmacology—the study of how medications and drugs interact with your biology.

From Smithsonian blogs

(Though I disagree with the story’s conclusions on the optimal time to drink your coffee. The analysis fails to take into account the psychological element for your serious java fiend. One staggers into the kitchen feeling blindly for the necessary accoutrements, knowing that Life Doesn’t Commence until that first scalding sip.)

Making an assault on the overflowing e-mail “in” box. Some past OED WOTDs of note. (This is why projects like clearing the in-box never get completed. Because I get distracted.)

accubation, n. 1.  The action or practice of reclining, esp. at a table when dining; a reclining posture. Now rare.

(the “hundred words for snow” shibboleth has been oft debunked, but way better, the Inuit have this word): piblokto, n.   A condition affecting the Inuit peoples in winter, characterized by an episode of wild excitement and irrational behaviour followed by a period of stupor or unconsciousness, sometimes with apparent seizures; also called Arctic hysteria. Also: a condition characterized by aggressive behaviour and seizures affecting dogs or other animals in the Arctic.

(interesting etymology): gung ho, n. (Forms: Also  kung-hou.  Etymology: Chinese kung work + ho together.)   A slogan adopted in the war of 1939–1945 by the United States Marines under General E. Carlson (1896–1947); hence as adj.: enthusiastic, eager, zealous.

emacity, n. Fondness for buying. rare.

vegetably, adj.  Of or relating to plants or plant matter, esp. vegetables; characteristic or reminiscent of vegetables; containing vegetables. 

(and having nothing to do with vegetables): vegete, adj. (Etymology: classical Latin vegetus vigorous, active, energetic, making active, invigorating, use as adjective of past participle of vegēre to enliven Now rare.1.  Healthy, active.
a.  Of a person, his or her body, etc.: fit and healthy, full of life and vigour, blooming.

hotchi-witchi, n.woods  Among Gypsies: the hedgehog, Erinaceus europaeus.

(I’ve seen this one before, but what a great thing to have a word for): Grimthorpe, v.(Etymology: < the name of Sir Edmund Beckett, first Lord Grimthorpe (1816–1905), whose restoration of St. Albans Cathedral, completed in 1904, aroused fierce criticism and controversy.)  trans. To restore (an ancient building) with lavish expenditure rather than skill and fine taste.

gasconade, n. and adj.  Extravagant boasting or exaggeration; boastful or bombastic language; (also) an instance of this.

MORE TO COME! (Sigh. Never going to get thru the in-box at this rate.)

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But the etymology of “noisome,” (very unpleasant, offensive, disgusting) is (also via Merriam-Webster)”

“Middle English noysome, from noy annoyance, alteration of anoi, from Anglo-French anui, from anuier to harass, annoy — more at annoy
First Known Use: 14th century”

What’s the plural of “emoji”?

New Yorker‘s annual Eustace Tilley cover: a slide show of the best entries in the Eustace Tilley contest (the winner is a hipster).

And since, apparently, based on the number of hits this post gets, “What’s the plural of emoji?” is one of the more pressing questions posed to the internetosphere, I give you the Oxford Dictionaries online dictionary answer to that question, which is that either “emoji” or “emojis” is acceptable. So now you know.
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