rugose

Pronounced: ROO-gohs, adj

Notes: An interesting word to know


Yesterday’s word

The word blate, as a verb, means “to babble; to cry” — as an adjective, it means “timid”

First usage

The verb goes back to the late 1800s; the adjective goes way back to 1000

Background / Comments

The verb form is thought to be an alteration of the word bleat, which used to rhyme with ‘great’ (an interesting side note is that bleat and blate are anagrams). The adjective form comes from the Scots word blate (timid, sheepish).

Rejected words

I knew of the word indissoluble (not able to dissolve; incapable of being broken). It turns out that dissoluble appeared first, with indissoluble following in less than a decade. The roots they comes from also give us dissolvable, and, yes, even indissolvable, although it is an archaic word as well as a rare one.

blate

Pronounced: blate, verb/adj

Notes: Such a simple word, but I didn’t know it


Yesterday’s word

The word crepitate means “to make a crackling sound: to make a series of short, sharp noises”

First usage

This word came into English twice; first in the early 1600s, and then in the mid-1800s (see below)

Background / Comments

This word comes from the Latin word crepitare (to crackle), and this is the meaning it has had since the mid-1800s. However, when it came into English the earlier time, it had the meaning “to pass gas; to break wind”. Strange, eh?

crepitate

Pronounced: KREH-puh-tate, verb

Notes: I don’t think I’ve every run across this word


Yesterday’s word

The word metathesis means

  • the transposition of letters, sounds, or syllables in a word
  • in chemistry, double decomposition
First usage

This word goes back to the mid-1500s

Background / Comments

It’s the first definition that I referred to yesterday. An example would be saying “aks” instead of “ask” (I remember having trouble with this as a child, and I still mangle words every now and then). The word came into English from Latin, but came into Latin from the Greek word metatithenai (to transpose), which is made up of meta- (among, after) and tithenai (to place).

metathesis

Pronounced: muh-TATH-uh-sis, noun

Notes: Something that some people do more than others


Yesterday’s word

The word precipitate means

  • falling, flowing, or rushing with steep descent
  • precipitous; steep
  • exhibiting violent of unwise speed
First usage

This word goes back to the early-to-mid 1500s

Background / Comments

Words snobs (sorry if you consider yourself one – how about ‘usage commentator’?) have long tried to insist that precipitate and precipitous should be distinct adjectives: they say that precipitate means “headlong or impetuous” and precipitous means only “steep”. On their side of the argument, these are indeed the way these words are usually used. However, the argument against is that the words have have overlapping usage for centuries. Samuel Johnson’s dictionary (1755) listed “steeply falling” as one definition of precipitate, and defined precipitous as “steeply falling; headlong; hasty”. Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary had similar definitions. Both word comes from the Latin word praeceps (headlong).

precipitate

Pronounced: prih-SIH-puh-tuht, adj

Notes: I pretty much know this word, but I found the background interesting (come back tomorrow!)


Yesterday’s word

The word adulatory means “praising or admiring slavishly”

First usage

This word came into English in the late 1500s

Background / Comments

I am familiar with the word adulation, which is a form of our word, so it wasn’t hard to guess the meaning. As I mentioned yesterday, one interesting note about our word is that the letters can be rearranged to form “laudatory”, which describes (defines) adulatory. The word comes from Latin adulari (to flatter; to fawn upon, like a dog wagging its tail).

adulatory

Pronounced: AJ-uh-luh-tor-ee, adj

Notes: You can probably figure this one out, but an interesting feature kept this on the list.

Admin: I schedule these posts to go out each morning, but erred in the settings for today’s, so it is late


Yesterday’s word

The word edentulous means “having no teeth; toothless”

First usage

The word came into English in the late 1700s

Background / Comments

This is a great alternative word for “toothless” that makes one sound erudite. It came into English from the Latin word edentulus, which is made up of e- (missing, absent) and the root dent- (tooth). A similar word is the somewhat uncommon edentate, referring to an order of mammals that have few or no teeth. In fact, edentate can be used as a synonym for our word.

edentulous

Pronounced: ee-DEN-chuh-luhs, adj

Notes: A more fancy word for a word we know better


Yesterday’s word

The word mondain, as a noun, is “a sophisticated man; a man belonging to fashionable society”. As an adjective, it means “wordly, fashionable”

First usage

This word came into English in the mid-1800s

Background / Comments

The word came from the French word mondain (socialite); this came from the Latin word mundus (world). As I noted yesterday, this word sounds very close to ‘mundane’ (a word I’ve known since grade school); I’m pretty sure that mundane also has the same Latin word for its root.

mondain

Pronounced: mon-DAIN, noun/adj

Notes: I knew ‘mundane’ (similar sounding word) from my reading, but not this one


Yesterday’s word

The word ferrule is “a usually metal ring or cap that is placed around the end of a slender shaft or handle to strengthen it for for joining or binding one part to another”

First usage

This word came into the language in the early 1600s

Background / Comments

The metal ring that holds the eraser in a pencil is a ferrule; so is a metal band around a cane. This versatile word can refer to the cap at the end of a cane or crutch or chair or table leg; it is also the point or knob at the hub of an umbrella. It also binds a paintbrush handle to the brushes. In Middle English, it was called a verrel, which were bands or rings of iron to prevent splitting or wear of the wooden shafts of implements. The word came into Middle English from Middle French virelle, which came from Old French virol, which came from Latin viriola (small bracelet). Somewhere along the way in English, the initial ‘v’ became an ‘f’; possible influenced by ferrum (iron).

ferrule

Pronounced: FAIR-uhl, noun

Notes: I was trying so hard to parse this word to figure out the meaning that I forgot that I’ve run across it in reading.


Yesterday’s word

The word sillage is “the trail of scent that lingers behind from a perfume; also, the degree to which it lingers

First usage

This word came into English in the early 1800s

Background / Comments

The word comes from the French word sillage (wake, trail). I’ve run into sillage quite a bit, but I didn’t know that there was a word for it.

sillage

Pronounced: see-AHZ, noun

Notes: Growing up on a farm, I know “silage”, but not this word with an extra ‘l’.


Yesterday’s word

The word adumbrate means

  • to foreshadow vaguely; intimate
  • to suggest, disclose, or outline partially
  • to overshadow or obscure
First usage

This word came into English in the late 1500s

Background / Comments

The reason for the idea of “shadow” in the word is because the root word is the Latin word umbra (shadow). The word actually comes from the Latin verb adumbrare. This word often appears on lists of words one should know, but, so far, the word has never really caught on.