Word of the Week

pluranimity, n.
[‘ Diversity of opinions; (also) an instance of this.’]
Pronunciation: Brit. /ˌplʊərəˈnɪmᵻti/, /ˌplɔːrəˈnɪmᵻti/,  U.S. /ˌplʊrəˈnɪmᵻdi/
Etymology: <  classical Latin plūr-, plūs more (see plus prep., n., adv., and adj.) + -animity (in unanimity n.). Compare pluranimous adj.
  Diversity of opinions; (also) an instance of this.

1647  N. Ward Serm. before House of Commons 13 The Lord mingles a perverse spirit amongst them, there is nothing but contradiction and prevarication, objections interjections, puzlings and counterpuzlings, pluranimities and pluranimosities amongst them.
1907  W. De Morgan Alice-for-Short ix. 95 Whatever innate ideas on the subject of oil-painting he possessed, had been disorganised and carefully thrown out of gear by the want of unanimity, or presence of pluranimity, in his instructors.

Word of the Week

passepartout, n. – ‘ Originally: †a person who may go anywhere (obs.). Subsequently: a thing giving a person the right or opportunity to go anywhere; spec. a key that opens any or many doors, a master key; (occas.) a passport. Freq. in extended use and fig.’

Pronunciation: Brit. /ˈpaspɑːtuː/, /ˈpaspətuː/, /ˌpaspɑːˈtuː/, /ˌpaspəˈtuː/, U.S. /ˌpɑspɑrˈtu/
Forms: 16 paspartout, 16–17 passepartout, 17 passpartout, 17– passepartout.
Etymology: < French passe-partout (1564 in Middle French in sense ‘person who may go anywhere’, 1567 in Middle French in sense ‘key that opens many doors’, 1677 in figurative use, 1690 in sense 2a, c1830 in sense 2b) < passe- (see pass- comb. form) + partout everywhere (end of the 10th cent. in Old French as per tot; < par through, by (see per prep.) + tout all: see tout adv., n.4, and adj.).
1. Originally: †a person who may go anywhere (obs.). Subsequently: a thing giving a person the right or opportunity to go anywhere; spec. a key that opens any or many doors, a master key; (occas.) a passport. Freq. in extended use and fig.
[1655 J. Howell 4th Vol. Familiar Lett. xix. 52 A travelling warrant is call'd Passeport, wheras the Original is passe par tout.]
1675 W. Wycherley Country-wife i. 6 Now may I..be in short the Pas par tout of the Town.
1680 Dryden Kind Keeper v. i. 55 With this Passe par tout, I will instantly conduct her to my own Chamber.
1700 W. Congreve Way of World iii. i. 38 Why this Wench is the Pass-par-tout, a very Master-Key to every Bodies strong Box.
1710 D. Manley Mem. Europe I. iii. 313 One of my Servants, who is gone with two of Monsieur Le Envoy's, and his passe par toute to Nova.
1749 Lady M. W. Montagu Let. to C'tess Bute 30 Nov., He opened his door with the passe-partout key.
1760 S. Foote Minor i. 23 My art, sir, is a pass-par-tout. I seldom want employment.
1826 M. Kelly Reminisc. I. iv. 71, I must say, that at the time I speak of, to be a native of Great Britain, was a passe partout all over Italy!
1833 C. MacFarlane Lives Banditti (1837) 365 Shortly after the prior went with a passe-partout, and opened the door of his cell.
1918 E. J. Dillon Eclipse of Russia x. 178 He showed them his passe-partout and they set him at liberty at once.
1987 Sunday Times 4 Oct. 64/2 The tale wields the dreamy passe-partout of extreme wealth.
2002 Sydney Morning Herald (Nexis) 23 May (News & Features section) 24 The chambermaids had passe-partouts, but when your key was in the keyhole you were assured privacy.

Word of the Week

mogigraphia, n.: [‘ Writer’s cramp.’]
Forms: 18 mogigraphia, 18 mogographia.
Etymology: < mogi- comb. form + post-classical Latin -graphia (see -graphy comb. form), perhaps after mogilalia n. Compare mogigraphy n., mogigraphic adj.
Med. Obs. rare.
Writer’s cramp.

1857 R. Dunglison Med. Lexicon (rev. ed.) 599/1 Mogigraphia, writers’ cramp.
1891 F. Taylor Man. Pract. Med. (ed. 2) 339 The disease is hence called writers’ cramp and scriveners’ palsy; graphospasm and mogigraphia have been used as technical terms.

Word of the Week

qui vive, n.

[‘ on (also upon) the qui vive: on the alert; on the lookout.’]
Pronunciation: Brit. /ˌkiː ˈviːv/, U.S. /ˌki ˈviv/
Forms: 17– qui vive, 19– key veev Irish English.
Etymology: < French qui vive, qui-vive, noun (1626) < qui vive?, lit. ‘who should live?’, i.e. ‘(long) live who?’ (1470 in Middle French) a sentinel’s challenge, intended to discover to which party the person challenged belongs (with an expected answer of the form vive le roi(long) live the king, vive la France (long) live France, etc.) < qui who (see who pron.) + vive, 3rd singular present subjunctive of vivre (seevivers n.). Compare post-classical Latin qui vivat? (1419 in a French source, or earlier).With on the qui vive compare French sur le qui vive (1690).
N.E.D. (1902) gives the non-naturalized pronunciation (kī vīv) /ki viv/.

1. on (also upon) the qui vive: on the alert; on the lookout.1726 Swift Let. 15 Oct. (2003) III. 35 Is it imagined that I must be..Alway upon the qui vive and the Slip Slop.
1752 H. Fielding Amelia II. v. vii. 141 Though he be a little too much on the Qui vive, he is a Man of great Honour.
1834 F. Marryat Peter Simple III. xiv. 181 This put us all on the qui vive.
1883 E. P. Roe in Harper’s Mag. Dec. 56/1 ‘What now, Webb?’ cried Burtis, all on the qui vive.
1933 B. Gadelius Human Mentality vii. 163 His senses are always on the qui-vive.
1980 V. S. Pritchett Tale Bearers 85 Greene is always on the qui vive for the ironies of impotence and desire.
2002 A. Caulfield Show me Magic xiv. 287, I love big dangerous cities, always having to be on the qui vive.

2. Chiefly in France or in French-speaking contexts: a cry of ‘qui vive’, typically used as a challenge by a sentry. Cf. go v.. Now rare.1740 tr. G. Alderfeld Mil. Hist. Charles XII. III. 158 Upon which having demanded the quivive with his pistol in his hand, and receiving no answer, [he] returned..to look for his Majesty.
1820 A. J. Kempre tr. E. O. I. Odeleben Campaign in Saxony II. v. 322 The wonted stillness of night was now only interrupted by..the qui vive? of the sentinels.
1903 B. Carman Poems II. 110 From behind the tall door that swings outward, replies no patrol To our restless Qui vive?

Word of the Week

cravateer n.
A person employed to tie cravats or neckties. Brit. /ˌkravəˈtɪə/, /ˌkrævəˈtɪ(ə)r/ Forms:cravatteer, cravattier, cravatier

Etymology: <  cravat n. + -eer suffix1. Compare French cravatier person employed to tie cravats or neckties (1712 or earlier).

 1.  A person employed to tie cravats or neckties.

1838  W. J. Thoms Bk. of Court Introd. Ess. 28 If, however, when the cravat was put on, the Cravatier discovered that any part of it did not set well, the Cravatier could touch it, und himself put on the King’s cravat in the absence of the superior officer.
1859 Chambers’s Jrnl. 11 319 The master of the wardrobe put the cravat round the royal neck, while the ‘cravatteer’ tied it.
1967 Jrnl. Amer. Soc. Safety Engineers Oct. 13 The Sun King himself was..complimented for the appointment of a court cravateer, whose sole employment consisted of correctly arranging Louis’ cravat.
 2.  A designer or producer of cravats or neckties.

1949 New Yorker 26 Feb. 34/1 Mrs. Whitman, who incorporated herself as a cravateer, and a countess, in 1938, has produced and sold more than a million ties, many of them designed by herself.
1953 Men’s Wear 6 Feb. 137/1 In neckwear, the city’s largest producer (Superba) has come out with its greatest color selection… The same cravateer has gone in heavily for 100 per cent Dacron polyester fiber promotions.

Word of the Week


pysanka, n.

Pronunciation: Brit. /pᵻˈsaŋkə/,  U.S. /pəˈsɑŋkə/
Inflections:  Plural  pysanky,  pysanki,  pysankas.
Forms:  19– pisanka,   19– pisanky,   19– pysanka,   19– pysanky.
Etymology:Partly <  Ukrainian pysanka (plural pysanky; <  pysaty to write, colour, paint), and partly <  Polish pisanka (plural pisanki; <  pisać to write, colour, paint); both verbs derive < the same base as Old Church Slavonic pĭsati to write, colour, paint (see poikilo- comb. form).
  An intricately decorated Easter egg of a type traditionally made in Poland and Ukraine, produced by drawing a pattern on an egg with wax and then applying dye (which cannot penetrate the areas covered by wax), then repeating this process with successive layers of wax and colours of dye, so that once all the wax is removed a multicoloured design is revealed. Also (in pl. form): the craft of making such eggs.

1905 Folklore 16 54 While making these colours and drawing the designs, a great many rules and rites have to be observed, in order that these pisanki..may be without any witchcraft.
1951  M. L. Wolf Dict. Arts 561/2 Pysanky, the Ukrainian tradition and art of painting eggs, and the eggs themselves.
1954 Los Angeles Times 12 Apr. ii. 10/4 A bowlful of pysanky, blessed at Easter, guards a Ukrainian home against lightning and fire.
1992 Prairie Fire Autumn 160 We never eat a pysanka, they take too much time and are too beautiful to destroy.
1997  R. Strybel  & M. Strybel Polish Heritage Cookery (new ed.) 294 At Eastertime, place a pisanka (painted Easter egg) in the pig’s mouth instead of the apple.
2006 State Jrnl.-Reg. (Springfield, Illinois) (Nexis) 22 Apr. 8 Since Dmytryk first learned pysanky in 1982, the number of parishioners at her church has dwindled, giving her..pysanky gifts the nostalgic feel of a dying tradition.

Word of the Week

advesperate, v.
[‘ intr. To grow dark, to become night.’]

Forms: 16 aduesperate, 16– advesperate.

Etymology: < post-classical Latin advesperat-, past participial stem (see -ate suffix3) of advesperare (5th cent.), alteration of classical Latin advesperāscere to draw towards evening < ad- ad- prefix + vesperāscere to grow towards evening < vesper evening (see vesper n.) + -sc- (compare -ish suffix2). Compare Anglo-Norman and Old French, Middle French, French †avesprer, also †avesprir (both 12th cent., used impersonally; both obsolete after the early 17th cent.).
Obs. rare (chiefly poet.).

intr. To grow dark, to become night.
1623 H. Cockeram Eng. Dict., Aduesperate, to waxe night.

1647 R. Baron Εροτοπαιγνιον iii. 39 Flaminius persisted on in his journey; but before he could reach the Citie Nicosia, it did advesperate.

1809 J. Hutton School for Prodigals iv. ii. 46 See, the red gleaming of the western skies, proclaims that day begins to advesperate!

1875 K. Rigbye Poet. Wks. 3 When the day advesperates they meet Within some neighbour's cot to hold debate.