Visual Thesaurus Word of the Day
Sunday, August 24th demoniac Bad Seed Word of the Day:
Long before there was air-rage and road-rage, folks still really lost it from time to time, occasioning the need for adjectives in English denoting apparent possession by evil. This one pretty much reveals its roots, and goes back to Middle English.
Monday, August 25th acclamation Man of the Hour Word of the Day:
In a broad sense, it means "popular approval"; more narrowly, it denotes a voting method in which shouts or applause, rather than ballots, determine the winner. We salute it today, in recognition of the US Democratic National Convention, which begins in Denver.
Tuesday, August 26th peignoir Fine-toothed Word of the Day:
For occasions when an ordinary nightgown won't do — these would mostly be literary occasions — you may want to don a peignoir, and only then practice the pronunciation in order to impress your friends. Though it looks like noir ("black") might be lurking in this word, the root is actually peign ("to comb"), with -oir doing suffix duty.
Wednesday, August 27th arboreal Out on a Limb Word of the Day:
If you remember that Arbor Day is about trees, you've got a handy mnemonic for a host of impressive words with meanings related to these leafy giants. This adjective can mean simply "of trees," but more specifically means "living in trees."
Thursday, August 28th juxtapose Side-by-Side Word of the Day:
It's a happy noun that can boast being the source of a verb by backformation, because that's usually a sign that people really, really like it. So it is with juxtaposition, a Latin-French hybrid from the 17th century. The verb didn't come along till the mid-19th century, when folks deemed it useful to have a verb that meant "place side by side."
Friday, August 29th mandarin History Lesson Word of the Day:
This word, which may conjure something Chinese, oranges, civil servants, or porcelain, is a good example of a word with legs. It was, first and foremost, a designation for a high-ranking Imperial official in China — but the word comes not from Chinese but from Portuguese and Malay.
Saturday, August 30th acme From the Top Word of the Day:
This noun meaning the highest point of something has been so burlesqued in cartoon company names that one hardly dares to use it literally these days — especially when so many synonyms are available. Acme is a direct import from Greek, and thus has a certain pedigree of purity not enjoyed by near synonym zenith, which traveled through two other languages on its way to English from Arabic.
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