Sunday, January 25th
Common Touch Word of the Day:
The Roman designation for the common folks, plebs, survives in this adjective denoting (in an unflattering way) anything common, ordinary, or vulgar. When not used to refer to the actual Romans, it seems to occur most frequently in writing about the arts these days -- suggesting, perhaps, that art critics imagine themselves rather above it all!
Monday, January 26th
Well-Rounded Word of the Day:
This adjective is confusingly similar to annual ("yearly") but bears no relation to it. Rather, it refers to an annulus, that is, something ring-shaped. We give it a nod today, when an annular solar eclipse will be visible across Indonesia and a big expanse of empty ocean in a line heading southwest of there.
Tuesday, January 27th
Now Hear This Word of the Day:
You're excused if the highly successful software is the first thing that comes to your mind when you see this word, but it does have other meanings: mainly, a prophecy, one who delivers it, or the place where this happens. The root is Latin orare, "speak," and appears also in adore, oration, and oratory.
Wednesday, January 28th
Healed Over Word of the Day:
Scar works as both a noun and a verb, but if you want to get technical or literary about it, you can try this Latin-derived verb that means "form a scar." Its only modern English relative is cicatrix, a noun meaning "scar."
Thursday, January 29th
Take a Break Word of the Day:
This verb is far less used than its famed adjective cousin (intermittent) but the meanings are not far apart: intermittent means "happening at intervals"; Intermit means "stop temporarily," or in other words "be intermittent."
Friday, January 30th
Extraordinary Word of the Day:
Nothing gets your attention like something that's not normal, and when it does, you can slip in this adjective if you wish to avoid the negative connotations of abnormal. The Greek root means "irregular." Related words often begin with homo- or homeo-: anomalous lost the h.
Saturday, January 31st
I See France Word of the Day:
Those who long for the good old days may be given pause by the definition of this noun for a coarse woolen cloth "formerly used for undergarments and dyed bright red." Wearers of such garments were typically monastics; no explanation is given for the color, though perhaps it brightened drab cells on cold winter days.