Word of the Day 


kinesics 
  
noun
: a systematic study of the relationship between nonlinguistic body motions (such as blushes, shrugs, or eye movement) and communication

Examples:

“[St. Vincent] wasn’t shy about striking the classic guitar idol kinesics … —chin up and out, eyelids in some fickle, fluttering state between open and shut, her guitar neck curiously lighter than air.” — Ryan Snyder, Yes! Weekly, 12 Mar. 2014

“Kinesics experts read body language. They determine a baseline, then use slight, sometimes nearly invisible, variations in posture and delivery, looking for clusters of signals that could suggest if someone is lying.” — Drew Loftis, The New York Post, 24 Oct. 2015

Did you know?

Anthropologists began to take serious interest in nonverbal communication through gestures, postures, and facial expressions in the 1940s. It is believed, however, that the publication of Ray Birdwhistell’s 1952 book Introduction to Kinesics marked the beginning of formal research into what we know familiarly as “body language.” Over 60 years later, the results of kinesics are deeply entrenched in our culture, giving us a whole new language with which to interpret everyday encounters and interactions.

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Word of the Day 


paragon  

noun: a model of excellence or perfection 

Examples:

“What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculties! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals!” — William Shakespeare, Hamlet, 1600-1601 
“Looking at a broad array of American economic indicators, it’s hard to see what investors are afraid of. The United States is a paragon of growth … especially the job market.” — Conrad de Aenlle, The New York Times, 9 Oct. 2015

Did you know?

Paragon derives from the Old Italian word paragone, which literally means “touchstone.” A touchstone is a black stone that was formerly used to judge the purity of gold or silver. The metal was rubbed on the stone and the color of the streak it left indicated its quality. In modern English, both touchstone and paragon have come to signify a standard against which something should be judged. Ultimately, paragon comes from the Greek parakonan, meaning “to sharpen,” from the prefix para- (“alongside of”) and akonē, meaning “whetstone.”

Word of the Day 


henotheism 
  
noun: the worship of one god without denying the existence of other gods 

Examples:

“For Assyrian kings, the god Ashur … was proclaimed to be the true king, and the human king was the god’s regent. In other words, in the ancient world, henotheism was a convenient method for imposing a king’s rule over subject peoples: one all-powerful god means one all-powerful king as well.” — A. C. Black, Canaan and Israel in Antiquity: An Introduction, 2001 
“Wishing to find the roots of Jewish monotheism in the cult of Aten, Freud worked freely with ancient Egyptian henotheism: that is, the concept of the sun as one supreme divinity among many.” — David Meghnagi, The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 2014

Did you know?

Henotheism comes to us from the German word Henotheismus, which in turn is derived from Greek hen- (“one”) and theos (“god”). Someone who engages in henotheism worships one god but does not deny that there are others. Max Müller, a respected 19th-century scholar, is credited with promoting the word henotheism as a counterpart to polytheism (“belief in or worship of more than one god”) and monotheism (“the doctrine or belief that there is but one God”). Müller also used the related word kathenotheism, from Greek kath’ hena (“one at a time”), for the worship of several gods successively.

Word of the Day 


foreshorten  

verb1 : to shorten by proportionately contracting in the direction of depth so that an illusion of projection or extension in space is obtained 2 : to make more compact : abridge, shorten 

Examples:

“The past is a giant foreshortened with his feet towards us; and sometimes the feet are of clay.” — G. K. Chesterton, A Short History of England, 1917 
“A low vantage point provides the opportunity to dramatically foreshorten the dimensions of the building, drawing the eye upward to the dome.” — Mary McNaughton, The Little Book of Drawing, 2007

Did you know?

Foreshorten first appeared in a 1606 treatise on art by the British writer and artist Henry Peacham: “If I should paint … an horse with his brest and head looking full in my face, I must of necessity foreshorten him behinde.” Peacham’s foreshorten comes from fore- (meaning “earlier” or “beforehand”) plus shorten. The addition of fore- to verbs was a routine practice in Peacham’s day, creating such words as fore-conclude, fore-consider, fore-instruct, and fore-repent. Foreshorten, along with words like foresee and foretell, is one of the few fore- combinations to still survive.

Word of the Day 


sinecure 
  
noun: an office or position that requires little or no work and that usually provides an income 

Examples:

The king was in the habit of rewarding his loyal supporters with sinecures. 
“The status of former presidential nominee turned influential insider is more than just a nice sinecure for a politician in the twilight of his career. It’s the foundation for another presidential run.” — Jamelle Bouie, The Chicago Tribune, 14 Jan. 2015

Did you know?

Sinecure comes from the Medieval Latin phrase sine cura, which literally means “without cure.” No, the first sinecures were not cushy jobs for those suffering with incurable maladies. The word sinecure first referred to “an ecclesiastical benefice without cure of souls”—that is, a church position in which the job-holder did not have to tend to the spiritual care and instruction of church members. Such sinecures were virtually done away with by the end of the 19th century, but by then the word had acquired a broader sense referring to any paid position with few or no responsibilities.


umami 
  
noun: a taste sensation that is meaty or savory and is produced by several amino acids and nucleotides (such as glutamate and aspartate) 

Examples:

The cookbook has an entire chapter on umami, and lists a number of common ingredients—from tomato paste to Worcestershire sauce to anchovies—as easy ways to add it to dishes. 
“Adding even more umami to this dish is the nutritional yeast…. It adds a wonderful aged-cheese-like flavor.…” — Melissa d’Arabian, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 26 Sept. 2015

Did you know?

Japanese scientist Kikunae Ikeda is credited with identifying as a distinct taste the savory flavor of the amino acid glutamic acid, which he first noticed in soup stocks made with seaweed. This fifth basic taste—alongside sweet, sour, salty, and bitter—was named umami, meaning “savoriness” in Japanese. Umami can be experienced in foods such as mushrooms, anchovies, and mature cheeses, as well as in foods enhanced with monosodium glutamate, or MSG, a sodium salt derived from glutamic acid.

Word of the Day :


  

adjective: timorous, fearful 

Examples:

Were I not feeling so trepid, I might have enjoyed joining the other campers for a nighttime walk in the woods. 
“If you’re a bit more on the trepid side about traveling to Mexico, start your weekend at the touristy Rosarito Beach Hotel…. This place caters to Americans and hearkens back to days when the town attracted famous celebrities.” — Barbara Zaragoza, The San Diego Reader, 9 Apr. 2015

Did you know?

The most frightening thing about trepid is how similar it is to tepid. Commit the distinction to memory—trepid has the r, like its synonyms timorous and fearful, and tepid means “lukewarm,” literally and figuratively—and then do not be trepid in using either. You may also want to use some words related to trepid by way of its Latin ancestor trepidus, which means “alarmed” or “agitated”: trepidate means “to tremble with fear” and trepidant means “timid” or “trembling.” More common than any of these, though, is the antonym of trepid, intrepid. This word is 30 years younger than the 365-year-old trepid, and is the least likely to intimidate your listener.

Word of the Day 


ruddy 

  
: adjective1 : having a healthy reddish color 2 : red, reddish 

Examples:

Sean’s ruddy complexion was intensified after a brisk walk in the cold night air. 
“I like the crudo sampler, too, composed in part with citrusy salmon dusted with sea salt, and ruddy beef tartare.” — Tom Sietsema, The Washington Post, 22 July 2015

Did you know?

In Old English, there were two related words meaning “red”: rēad and rudu. Rēad evolved into our present-day red. Rudu evolved into rud (a word now encountered only in dialect or archaic usage) and ruddy. Most often, ruddy is applied to the face when it has the red glow of good health or is red from a suffusion of blood from exercise or excitement. It is also used in the names of some birds, such as the American ruddy duck. In British English, ruddy is also used as a colorful euphemism for the sometimes vulgar intensive bloody, as English writer Sir Kingsley Amis illustrates in The Riverside Villas Murder: “Ruddy marvelous, the way these coppers’ minds work…. I take a swing at Chris Inman in public means I probably done him in.”

Word of the Day 


pellucid  

adjective1 : admitting maximum passage of light without diffusion or distortion 2 : reflecting light evenly from all surfaces 3 : easy to understand 

Examples:

“This is a controversial question with no pellucid answer.” — The Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, 4 Apr. 2013 
“There is nothing so beautiful as the trees in the sun after a late-winter snowfall, or on one of those days when ice coats the branches and turns them shiny and pellucid.” — Robert Mentzer, The Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune, 19 Apr. 2014

Did you know?

Pellucid is formed from Latin per (“through”) plus lucidus—a word meaning “lucid, clear” that ultimately derives from the verb lucēre, meaning “to shine.” Lucēre has many shining relatives in English. Among them are translucent (essentially, “clear enough to allow light to pass through”), elucidate (“to make clear, explain”), lucent (“luminous” or “clear”), and of course lucid itself (which can mean “shining,” “mentally sound,” or “easily understood”). Another related word is Lucifer (a name for the devil that literally means “light-bearer”). Other relatives—such as lackluster (“lacking brightness”), illustrate (originally, “to make bright”), and lustrous (“shining” or “radiant”)—trace from the related Latin verb lustrare (“to brighten”). Clearly, pellucid is just one of a family of brilliant terms.

Word of the Day 


delectation

  
: noun: delight, enjoyment 

Examples:

During the reception, a three-piece string band performed for the delectation of the guests. “The Kimbell Art Museum has the resources and reputation to bring masterpieces from major global museums to North Texas for our delectation.” — Rick Brettell, The Dallas Morning News, 2 July 2015

Did you know?

Pleasure, delight, and enjoyment are all synonyms and all signify the agreeable emotion accompanying the possession or expectation of what is good or greatly desired. Why, then, use delectation, that not-so-familiar synonym? Because, as with most synonym groups, each word has its own subtle distinctions. Pleasure stresses satisfaction or gratification of the senses. Delight adds the idea of liveliness or obviousness in that satisfaction, often less enduring than pleasure. Enjoyment suggests a wide range of deep pleasure, from merely transient though complete gratification to deep-seated happiness. Delectation (which is from the Latin word for “delight”) suggests a reaction to pleasurable experience consciously sought or provided. More than all the others, it connotes mere amusement or diversion.