mumpish

Pronounced: MUM-pish

Notes: This word is not what I thought it was


Yesterday’s word

The word pavonine means

  • of, or like, a peacock
  • resembling the feathers of a peacock, as in coloring and array
First usage

Our word came into English in the mid-1600s

Background / Comments

Our word comes from the Latin word pāvōnīnus, a derivative of pāvō from the stem pāvōn (peacock) combined with -ine (of or pertaining to; made of; of the nature of; like)

pavonine

Pronounced: PAV-uh-nine (alt: PAV-uh-nihn), adj

Notes: I didn’t know this word, and I don’t think I’ve run across it


Yesterday’s word

The word compunctious means “feeling remorse or guilt”

First usage

Our word came into English in the early 1600s

Background / Comments

Our word comes from the Latin word compungere (to prick hard), comprised of com- (an intensifier) with pungere (to prick).

compunctious

Pronounced: kuhm-PUNGK-shuhs, adj

Notes: You may be able to figure out the meaning (if you don’t already know it)


Yesterday’s word

The word demesne means

  • possession of land as one’s own
  • an estate or part of an estate occupied, controlled by and worked for the exclusive use of the owner
First usage

Our word came into English in the mid to late 1200s

Background / Comments

When I saw the pronunciation, I suspected that our word came from French, and it does: it came from Middle English demeine, which came from the Anglo-French word demesne, which came from the Old French word demein, which came from the Late Latin word dominicum, which is a form of dominicus (of a master).

demesne

Pronounced: dih-MAIN (alt: dih-MEEN), noun

Notes: Not only could I not pronounce this word, I didn’t know what it meant


Yesterday’s word

The word equanimous means “even-tempered: calm and composed in all circumstances”

First usage

Our word came into English in the mid-1600s

Background / Comments

Our word is a straightforward Latin word: aequs (equal; even) and animus (mind; spirit). This word is a great characteristic to be.

equanimous

Pronounced: ih-KWAN-uh-muss, adj

Notes: I’ve seen the word in reading, but could not properly define it


Yesterday’s word

The word rusticate means “to go to, stay, live in, or sojourn in, the country”

First usage

Our word came into English in the mid-1600s

Background / Comments

The proper bit of our word to recognize is “rustic”, not “rust” (as I noted yesterday, “rust” is what I saw). Our word comes from the Latin word rūsticātus, the past participle of rūsticārī (to live in the country).

rusticate

Pronounced: RUSS-tih-kate, verb

Notes: You may know this word; I keep seeing “rust” and go down the wrong path


Yesterday’s phrase

The phrase dog whistle, as a noun, refers to “a coded message that appears innocuous to the general publish, but that has an additional interpretation meant to appeal to the target audience”. As an adjective, it means “relating to such a message”.

First usage

Our phrase came into usage in the 1900s

Background / Comments

I detest our phrase, and almost didn’t use it. However, it was a phrase I didn’t know, and just because I dislike it is no reason not to use it. First, though, the background: our phrase refers to the whistle that dogs can hear but humans cannot, and thus, by extension, a message that only certain initiated people truly ‘hear’. I think the reason I dislike our phrase is that all of the examples I have seen are just a way to paint political opponents as “racist” or “<something>-phobic” in order to avoid having a legitimate debate on the issue. For example, it could be claimed that the phrase ‘border protection’ is a ‘dog whistle’ used to appeal to racists. That way, the real issues involved with porous borders can be ignored.

dog whistle

Pronounced: as written, noun/adj

Notes: You may know this term if you spend time in the arena in which this is used


Yesterday’s word

The word desiderium means “an ardent longing, as for something lost”

First usage

Our word came into English in the early 1700s

Background / Comments

Our word made me think of the word ‘desire’… with good reason, as it turns out. The root of our word is the Latin word dēsīderāre (to long for), and that is the same Latin word to which ‘desire’ traces.

desiderium

Pronounced: des-ih-DEER-ee-uhm, noun

Notes: Even if you don’t know this word, you may be able to guess it


Yesterday’s word

The word logrolling means

  • the exchange of favors, especially by legislators by voting for each other’s legislation
  • a sport in which two players stand on a floating log and try to knock each other off by spinning the log with their feet
First usage

Our word came into English in the late 1700s

Background / Comments

The meaning I knew is the second one listed above; I remember watching logrolling on television as a child. I was not aware that any other definition existed. The word comes from the practice of neighbors helping one another to move logs by rolling them.

logrolling

Pronounced: LOG-roh-ling, noun

Notes: I know one of the two meanings


Yesterday’s word

The word diffluence is

  • the act of flowing off or away
  • the act or process of dissolving into a liquid; liquefaction; deliquescence
First usage

Our word came into English in the mid-1600s

Background / Comments

I did not know the meaning of deliquescence (to become liquid by absorbing liquid from the air or to melt away)in the meaning our word above. Our word is the noun form of the adjective diffluent, which comes from the Latin word diffluent, which comes from dif- (a variant of dis- [apart, asunder, away]) and fluent (flowing).

diffluence

Pronounced: DIFF-loo-uhns, noun

Notes: You may had an idea of this word’s meaning (I didn’t)


Yesterday’s word

The word shermanesque means

  • unequivocal, especially in refusing to run for an office
  • brutally thorough, especially in defeating someone
First usage

Our word came into usage in the 1910s

Background / Comments

If you thought that our word traces back to the Union general William Tecumseh Sherman. After the American Civil War, he was being considered as a presidential candidate… he was utterly clear on the point: I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected. Thus, our first meaning above: any categorical statement, especially a denial, may be called Shermanesque. Reporters have been known to ask politicians if their announcement not to run for an office is Shermanesque to confirm that they really mean it. The second definition comes from Sherman’s campaigns in Chattanooga and Atlanta during which his army destroyed railroad tracks, bridges, trains, military, and government buildings. On the well-known “March to the Sea”, they destroyed much property on the way to Savannah.