potch

Pronounced: poch, verb/noun

Notes: I’ve never heard of this word, but you may guess the origin


Yesterday’s word

The word agnize means “to acknowledge or recognize; to own”

First usage

This word came into English in the mid-1500s

Background / Comments

I apologize for this word; I had a word-of-the-day calendar one year, and it is pretty inferior (I will not buy that brand of calendar again). Today’s word came from that calendar; after doing a little research, it turns out that this is an archaic word, which I think it a bit unfair. They really should have either not used it, or noted that is was archaic. Our word comes from the Latin word agnōscere (to recognize), which is made up of ad- & gnōscere (to come to know). You may recognize the root gnō- (know).

agnize

Pronounced: ag-NIZE (alt: AG-nize), verb

Notes: This is another case of a word looking like another; it looks like agonize to me (but that isn’t the meaning)


Yesterday’s word

The word yentz means “to cheat”

First usage

This word came into English in the 1930s

Background / Comments

Well, I first thought it would be a nice alternatively to “cheat” (and it is certainly worth a lot more points in Scrabble!). However, given the background, I’m a little uneasy about using it. In fact, it comes from the Yiddish word yentzen (to engage in physical intimacy, as between husband and wife; to copulate). I’m not sure how it came to mean “cheat”.

yentz

Pronounced: yents, verb

Notes: I don’t recall every running across this word


Yesterday’s word

The word dyad means “a pair, due, or set of two things”

First usage

Our word came into English in the late 1600s

Background / Comments

Because I read a lot of Greek/Roman mythology, I confused our word with “dryad”, which is a kind of woodland god. Astute people not thrown off by classical mythology may have noticed the similarity to “duo”. Our word comes from the Greek word dyad-, which is the root of dyás (pair), which is equivalent to dýo (two) with the noun ending -ad.

dyad

Pronounced: DIE-ad, noun

Notes: I confused this word with dryad, so I was completely wrong about this word


Yesterday’s word

The word verklempt means “overcome with emotion; choked up”

First usage

Our word came into English in the 1990s

Background / Comments

The ‘f’ and ‘v’ sounds are very similar; the ‘v’ sound is called “voiced” (one makes a sound with the vocal cords), so that’s probably why there are two different pronunciations — or maybe it’s because of the origin. The word comes from the Yiddish word farklempt (overcome with emotion), which came from the German word verklemmt (inhibited).

verklempt

Pronounced: fuhr-KLEMT (alt: vuhr-KLEMT), noun

Notes: I don’t think I’ve heard this word


Yesterday’s word

The word anagnorisis is “an ‘eureka’ moment; a moment of sudden discovery or revelation”

First usage

Our word came into English in the late 1700s

Background / Comments

Our word came from Latin, but as you might expect, given the “eureka” in the definition above, it came into Latin from Greek anagnōrí (to know again) from ana- (again) and gnōr (knowing).

anagnorisis

Pronounced: an-ag-NAWR-uh-sis (alt: an-ag-NOR-uh-sis), noun

Notes: Another good word to know


Yesterday’s word

The word effluvium is “an unpleasant discharge, for example, fumes, vapors, or gases from waste or decaying matter”

First usage

Our word came into English in the mid-1600s

Background / Comments

I have a kind of memory that I’ve run across this word talking about sewage in Victorian times; I also seem to remember that they called it (euphemistically) “flow”. That’s rather appropriate, given the origin: it came from the Latin word effluere (to flow out), which was a combination of ex- (out) and fluere (to flow). We get the word fluid from the same kind of root words. In addition, the words affluent, influence, and influenza also come from the same root word.

effluvium

Pronounced: ih-FLOO-vee-uhm, noun

Notes: You may know this word; it is a “borderline” word


Yesterday’s word

The word grimalkin means

  • an old female cat
  • an ill-tempered older woman
First usage

This word came into English around 1600 (the late 1500s to the early 1600s)

Background / Comments

I think I’ve run across our word in one of its meanings, but I cannot recall the details. It is thought our word comes from a corruption of gray combined with malkin, which is a diminutive of the proper name Maud. It is not clear to me how Maud came to refer to a woman. It is clear that gri (gray) refers to being older, as in “gray-headed”.

grimalkin

Pronounced: grih-MAL-kin (alt: grih-MAWL-kin), noun

Notes: I’m not sure if I’ve run across this in reading or not


Yesterday’s word

The word quotidian means

  • commonplace; ordinary
  • occurring every day
First usage

This word come into English in the late 1300s

Background / Comments

I think of our word as similar to “mundane” (at least, the first definition). Our word is another fun/useful word to know and use. The word comes from the Old French word cotidian, which came from Latin quotidianus/cotidianus, which came from quotidie (each day), which came partly from quot (how many).

quotidian

Pronounced: kwo-TID-ee-uhn, adj

Notes: A nice vocabulary word


Yesterday’s word

The word spumescent means “foamy or frothy”

First usage

Our word came into English in the mid-1800s

Background / Comments

As I noted, our word looked vaguely familiar to me; I think I’ve used it as a vocabulary entry, but not in this blog (I checked). However, before I started this blog, I did vocabulary entries on Facebook for a year… and before Facebook, I posted vocabulary words on my work’s chat status. Our word is composed of spume and -escent. The -escent ending is from Latin and is used on adjectives to specify the beginning of an action or process. The word spume came from Middle English, which came from the Latin word spūma (foam; froth).

spumescent

Pronounced: spyoo-MES-uhnt, adj

Notes: This word looked familiar to me (more on that tomorrow).


Yesterday’s word

The word superbity means “pride; arrogance”

First usage

This word came into English in the mid-1400s

Background / Comments

I don’t think I’ve ever run across our word in any reading. Sounds like a fun addition to one’s vocabulary. It comes from the Middle French word superbité, which came from superbe (superb).