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Word of the Day

Sunday, March 22, 2020

hypermnesia

[ hahy-perm-nee-zhuh ]

noun

the condition of having an unusually vivid or precise memory.

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What is the origin of hypermnesia?

Hypermnesia, a medical or psychological term meaning “the condition of having an unusually vivid or precise memory,” is composed of the familiar prefix hyper-, which usually implies excess or exaggeration, the Greek noun mnêsis “memory,” and the Greek abstract noun suffix –ia. Hypermnesia entered English in the late 19th century.

how is hypermnesia used?

Psychologists have investigated some persons with exceptional memories – said to exhibit “hypermnesia365体育投注网站”. The most famous of these was a Russian, code-named “S”, who could recall long random series of numbers or words without error, many years later.

Alun Rees, "If only I could remember her name," New Scientist, December 24, 1994

This sharpened memory is called hypermnesia. A frequent experience in dreaming is a hypermnesia365体育投注网站 with regard to childhood scenes.

Frederick Peterson, "The New Divination of Dreams," Harper's Magazine, Vol. 115, June 1907

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Saturday, March 21, 2020

bromide

[ broh-mahyd ]

noun

a platitude or trite saying.

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What is the origin of bromide?

The original meaning of bromide was “a chemical compound of two elements: bromine and a second element, such as potassium or sodium.” Potassium bromide and sodium bromide are used in medicine as sedatives and anticonvulsants. The extended use of bromide, “platitude or trite saying” (from its sedative effect), was originally an Americanism, first appearing in print in the early 20th century. Bromide365体育投注网站 entered English in the first half of the 19th century.

how is bromide used?

the work is its own reward. That may sound like just another bromide365体育投注网站, but Gilbert’s love of creativity is infectious ….

Jennifer Reese, "'Big Magic': Elizabeth Gilbert's advice on how you, too, can eat, pray, love," Washington Post, September 17, 2015

I’m intrigued by the way in which his political success … contradicts bromides365体育投注网站 about the importance, professionally, of making friends and using honey instead of vinegar.

Frank Bruni, "'Nobody Likes' Bernie Sanders. It Doesn't Matter," New York Times, February 26, 2020

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Friday, March 20, 2020

stir-crazy

[ stur-krey-zee ]

adjective

Slang.

restless or frantic because of confinement, routine, etc.: I was stir-crazy after just two months of keeping house.

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What is the origin of stir-crazy?

Feeling a little stir-crazy? Unpleasant though it may be, the restlessness that this familiar term calls to mind today is a far cry from the state of literal imprisonment it named upon entering English. A 1908 dictionary of unsavory terms called Criminal Slang defined stir-crazy (noun) as “a man whose mind has become affected by serving long sentences.” By the mid-1900s, stir-crazy was being used as an adjective to mean “mentally ill because of long imprisonment.” The stir in stir-crazy does not suggest movement or agitation, as one might presume based the verb stir to move around briskly” or “to be emotionally affected”; here, stir is a slang term for prison. The origin of stir is uncertain, but some sources suggest it as a shortening of the Romani noun sturiben “prison” or verb staripen “to imprison”; others connect it to the Start, 365体育投注网站a nickname for the Newgate prison in London, which later broadened to mean prison more generally.

how is stir-crazy used?

By now, let’s hope you’re safely ensconced at home—going a little stir-crazy, perhaps, but doing your part to “flatten the curve.”

Gregory Barber, "How Long Does the Coronavirus Last on Surfaces," Wired, March 14, 2020

You may be trying to work from home with your stir-crazy children, and all your previous rules about screen time may need to get tossed.

Jessica Grose, "Parents Need Stress Relief, Too," New York Times, March 18, 2020

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Thursday, March 19, 2020

primaveral

[ prahy-muh-veer-uhl ]

adjective

of, in, or pertaining to the early springtime.

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What is the origin of primaveral?

The adjective primaveral is a derivative of the noun primavera “spring (the season),” found in just about all the Romance languages: Italian (end of the 12th century), Catalan (13th century), Spanish (14th century), and Portuguese (16th century); even Romanian has primăvară. The Romance forms ultimately derive from the Latin neuter plural adjective and noun phrase prīma vēra, literally “first springs.” It is common for Latin neuter plural nouns to become feminine singulars in Romance, e.g., Latin gaudia “delights, joys,” becoming singular joie in French and gioia in Italian. Primaveral entered English in the 19th century.

how is primaveral used?

Crocuses planted in clusters or in thick rows, or scattered on banks, have a brilliant effect in the sunshine of a bright primaveral day.

Thomas Ignatius M. Forster, Circle of the Seasons, and Perpetual Key to the Calendar and Almanack, 1828

It is the urge of Spring—the primaveral365体育投注网站 force that inspires the young and mocks the aged.

Leon Gellert, "The Joys of Gardening," Sydney Morning Herald, October 1, 1950

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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

lunker

[ luhng-ker ]

noun

something unusually large for its kind.

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What is the origin of lunker?

The noun lunker has two meanings: something large and unruly, and a large game fish, especially a bass. It was originally an Americanism, and its etymology is obscure: lunk, lunkhead, and clunker have all been suggested. Lunker entered English in the second half of the 19th century.

how is lunker used?

Do black holes, such as the lunker in our own Milky Way Galaxy … drive the evolution of galaxies around them; or do galaxies naturally nurture the gravitational gobblers at their centers … ?

John Matson, "Hole's on First?: New Evidence Shows Black Hole Growth Preceding Galactic Formation," Scientific American, January 9, 2011

As sure as I’m standing here, ten pounds; what a little lunker for a first baby.

Gary Paulsen, The Quilt, 2004

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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

greenth

[ greenth ]

noun 365体育投注网站

green growth; verdure.

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What is the origin of greenth?

Greenth, “green growth,” was coined by the English author and politician Horace Walpole, who also coined blueth and gloomth. Greenth, blueth, and gloomth all entered English simultaneously in the mid-18th century.

how is greenth used?

I found my garden brown and bare, but these rains have recovered the greenth.

Henry Walpole to George Montagu, August 16, 1753, The Letters of Horace Walpole, Vol. 2, 1842

Imagine a rambling, patchy house … the mellow darkness of its conical roof surmounted by a weather-cock making an agreeable object either amidst the gleams and greenth of summer or the low-hanging clouds and snowy branches of winter …

George Eliot, Daniel Deronda, 1876

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Monday, March 16, 2020

muzz

[ muhz ]

verb (used with object)

to confuse (someone); make (someone) muzzy.

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What is the origin of muzz?

It is only fitting that the etymology of the verb muzz “to confuse,” is itself obscure. Most authorities connect muzz with the adjective muzzy “confused, lazy, mentally dull,” but muzzy itself has no reliable etymology. Other authorities connect muzz with the verb muse “to think or meditate in silence.” Muzz365体育投注网站 entered English in the 18th century.

how is muzz used?

I must have sufficiently muzzed you with my singular critique upon poor, injured, honest John.

Mary Morgan, A Tour to Milford Haven, 1795

With a very heavy cold on me, which muzzed365体育投注网站 my head, and a mass of work by day … I have been very far from comfortable.

Henry Bradshaw, A Memoir of Henry Bradshaw by George Walter Prothero, 1888

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