Word of the Week

gambler king
I’m currently reading Gambler King of Clark Street about the infamous Mike McDonald who was instrumental in forming the 19th century Democratic Party.

Again and again the word sachem pops up.

Screen Shot 2017-09-09 at 11.34.13 AM

“Sachem.” Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 9 Sept. 2017.


Word of the Week

Octothorpe, n., Another word for hashtag or pound sign.

I found this on where I’m doing some homework for my library class. I think it’s rather pompous of Code Academy to use it.

Word of the Week


Dongles can have different endings, not just what you see here.

Dongle: n.

  1. a small device able to be connected to and used with a computer, especially to allow access to wireless broadband or use of protected software.

Word of the Week

[‘ A person whose knowledge is only superficial, esp. one who makes much of it; a pretender to learning.’]
Pronunciation: Brit. /ˈsʌɪəlɪst/,  U.S. /ˈsaɪələst/
Etymology: <  post-classical Latin sciolus (see sciolous adj.) + -ist suffix. Compare sciolus n.
 A person whose knowledge is only superficial, esp. one who makes much of it; a pretender to learning.

1612  A. Hopton Concordancy of Yeares sig. A8v_ (note) , All whose workes fairly written..were, by religious pretending Sciolists, damn’d as diuelish.
1656  T. Blount Glossographia To Rdr. sig. A4, Every..homebred Sciolist being at coyn and innovate new Words.
1705  W. Lewis tr. E. Herbert Antient Relig. Gentiles x. 131 But the inquisitive Sciolist..will endeavour to find out second Causes for those things which proceed directly and solely from the most wise Counsel of God.
1778  V. Knox Ess. I. xvi. 107 Contemptible sciolists, who called themselves theatrical critics.
1817  S. T. Coleridge Biographia Literaria I. iii. 58 In proportion as a still greater diffusion of literature shall produce an increase of sciolists.
1880  A. C. Swinburne Study of Shakespeare 18 The last resource of an empiric, the last refuge of a sciolist.
1939 Sewanee Rev. 47 112 Non-Shakespearean sciolists put the burden of proof that William Shakespeare wrote the plays on the shoulders of acknowledged Shakespeareans.
1973 Financial Times 5 June 20/5 Any identification of the Smithian system with this point of view is a sure sign of the sciolist or the charlatan.
1991  I. Sinclair Downriver(1995) iv. 93 A sciolist, call him Sonny Jaques, with a gold stud earring, and a doctorate in Romance Languages.
 scioˈlistic adj. that is a sciolist; characteristic of a sciolist.

1830  S. Wells Hist. Drainage Great Level of Fens I. viii. 147 Those navigation laws, which more degenerate legislators and sciolistic quacks have in modern times dared to abrogate.
1870  J. R. Lowell Among my Bks. 2nd Ser. 298 Sciolistic theorizing and dogmatism.
2004  W. F. Buckley Miles Gone By ii. 107 Another reason for giving up Firing Line is the progressive exasperation one feels over sciolistic preparation and exegesis.

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

fardel n. (FAHR-dl)

1. A bundle.
2. A burden.

From Old French fardel, diminutive of farde (package, burden), from Arabic farda (piece, pack). Earliest documented use: 1300.

“He could be seen on the first night of every full moon, looking down with a fardel of twigs strapped with vines to his back.”
McDonald Dixon; Saints of Little Paradise; Xlibris; 2012.

“It was selfish of me to link you with so much wretchedness, and join you with me in bearing the fardel of neverending anxiety and suspense.”
Frederick Marryat; The Phantom Ship; E.L. Carey & A. Hart; 1839.

Word of the Week

plonk, n. non-count, meaning wine. It’s Australian slang derived from vin blanc.

Sample sentence: I’ll bring some plonk to your party.

Go figure.

Word of the Week

pf cookie

Click image for link to recipe

pfeffernuss, n.‘ A small, round, sweet biscuit flavoured with spices such as ginger, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, etc., and typically eaten during the Christmas season. Usu. in pl.’]

Pronunciation: Brit. /ˈ(p)fɛfənʊs/, U.S. /ˈ(p)fɛfərˌnəs/
Inflections: Plural pfeffernüsse, pfeffernuesse, pfeffernusse, pfeffernussen.
Forms: 18– pfeffernuss, 19– peffernissen U.S. regional (Pennsylvania), plural, 19– pfeffernuß. Also as two words and with capital initial(s).
Etymology: < German Pfeffernuss gingerbread biscuit (1741 or earlier; < Pfeffer pepper n. + Nuss nut n.1). Compare Dutch pepernoot (1778), German regional (Low German) Pepernööt (plural), Danish pebernød (1710). Compare the earlier calque peppernut n.
In plural form peffernissen after Pennsylvania German pefferniss (plural peffernissen; compare German regional (Palatinate) Peffernuß, plural Pefferniß).
Chiefly U.S.
A small, round, sweet biscuit flavoured with spices such as ginger, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, etc., and typically eaten during the Christmas season. Usu. in pl.
1891 Los Angeles Times 22 Nov. 14 (advt.) Pfeffernusse and Lebkuchen at Jevne’s.
1928 E. E. Hoyt Consumption of Wealth viii. 76 A German woman moved into a small New England village, and in three years all the housewives were making pfeffernüsse at Christmas time.
1969 N.Y. Times 20 Dec. 24/1 For Christmas, baking and giving Bremen pfeffernusse—crisp, cinnamon-cardamom flavored rolled cookies—has been a tradition in the Luhrs home for generations.
1998 Christian Sci. Monitor (Electronic ed.) 24 Dec. 15 She would come down three flights, tousle my hair, and give me a Pfeffernuss.

Word of the Week: Nivel

This one just had an odd sound~

nivel, v.
[‘ intr. To look downcast; to grimace, or wrinkle one’s nose; to snivel.’]
Pronunciation: Brit. /ˈnɪvl/, U.S. /ˈnɪv(ə)l/
Forms: eME nifle, eME niuel, eME niwel, ME neuel, ME nyuel, ME nyuyl, 18– nivel Eng. regional (south-west.); Irish English 19– nivel.
Etymology:Origin uncertain; perhaps the reflex of an unattested Old English verbal derivative of hnifol brow, forehead (of unknown origin). Compare Old English snyflung snivelling n., and later snivel v.
Now rare and Brit. regional.
intr. To look downcast; to grimace, or wrinkle one’s nose; to snivel.
?c1225 (▸?a1200) Ancrene Riwle (Cleo. (1972) 158 Ha schulen ham seolf grennen & niuelen [a1300 Caius niwelen] & makien sur semblant for þe muche anguise inþe pine of helle.
?c1225 (▸?a1200) Ancrene Riwle (Cleo. (1972) 176 Ha drinkeð þet drunh ne beo hit nese bitter..Hwen hit is al ouere. spit & schakeð þet heaued. feð on forto niuelin & make grim chere.
?a1325 in W. Heuser Kildare-Gedichte (1904) 171 (MED), I nese, i nappe, i nifle, i nuche, And al þis wilneþ eld.
c1400 (▸c1378) Langland Piers Plowman (Laud 581) (1869) B. v. 135 Now awaketh wratthe with two whyte eyen And nyuelynge [v.rr. neuelynge, sneueling] with þe nose [c1400 C text a nyuylynge nose] and his nekke hangynge.

1890 J. D. Robertson Gloss. Words County of Gloucester 104 A boy asked the meaning of ‘disdain’, when Goliath disdained David, answered ‘He nivelled at un.’
1996 D. Ó Muirithe Words we Use 15 Nivel means to turn up the nose in disdain.

Word of the Week

paroemiographer paremiographer, n. [‘ A writer or collector of proverbs.’]
Pronunciation: Brit. /pəˌriːmɪˈɒɡrəfə/,  U.S. /pəˌrimiˈɑɡrəfər/
Forms:  18 paraemiographer,   18– paremiographer,   18– paroemiographer.
Etymology: <  paroemia n. + -ographer comb. form, probably after post-classical Latin paroemiographus writer or collector of proverbs (a1536 in Erasmus) or its etymon Hellenistic Greek παροιμιογράϕος. Compare French parémiographe (c1842). Compare slightly earlier paroemiography n.
A writer or collector of proverbs.
1823  I. D’Israeli Curiosities of Lit. 2nd Ser. I. 420 The royal paræmiographer classes among their [sc. the sages’] studies, that of ‘understanding a proverb and the interpretation’.
1824  I. D’Israeli Curiosities of Lit. 2nd Ser. (ed. 2) I. 439 England may boast of no inferior paræmiographers.
1832  W. Motherwell in  A. Henderson Sc. Prov. p. xiii, The first of our paræmiographers was Archbishop Beaton.
1889 Amer. Jrnl. Philol. 10 110 The notice..appears to be extracted from a work of the paroemiographer Demon.
1954  R. Strömberg  (title) Greek proverbs. A collection of proverbs and proverbial phrases which are not listed by the ancient and Byzantine paroemiographers.
2000 Trans. Amer. Philol. Assoc. 130 324 The closest parallel outside of Egypt is furnished by the paroemiographer Zenobius.
From OED’s word of the day email

Previous Older Entries


Dear Fellows, The State Department has requested that any Fellows who maintain their own blog or website please post the following disclaimer on your site: "This website is not an official U.S. Department of State website. The views and information presented are the English Language Fellows' own and do not represent the English Language Fellow Program or the U.S. Department of State." We appreciate your cooperation. Site Meter
%d bloggers like this: