superbity

Pronounced: soo-PURR-buh-tee, noun

Notes: I don’t remember running across this word


Yesterday’s word

The word effloresce means “to burst into bloom; to blossom, or become covered in flowers”

First usage

Our word came into English in the mid-1700s

Background / Comments

Our word came from the Latin word efflōrēscere (to blossom out), which is made of of ef- (out [a variant of ex-]) with flōrēscere (to being to bloom), which has the stem flōr- (flower).

effloresce

Pronounced: ef-luh-RESS, verb

Notes: Another word you may be able to guess


Yesterday’s word

The word analphabetic, as a noun, means “an illiterate person”. As an adjective, it can mean “illiterate” or “not alphabetical”

First usage

Our word came into English in the late 1800s

Background / Comments

Not a hard word to get, if you are able to properly parse the word; it comes from the Greek word analphabetos (not knowing the alphabet); it was created from an- (not) and alphabetos (alphabet). You may know alphabet comes from alpha and beta, the first two letters of the Greek alphabet. Anyway, if one don’t know the alphabet, one is illiterate. Apparently, the other adjective’s meaning probably came about later from the literal meaning of “not alphabetic”.

analphabetic

Pronounced: an-al-fuh-BET-ick, adj/noun

Notes: You may be able to figure this one out


Yesterday’s word

The word caprine means “of, or pertaining to, goats”

First usage

Our word comes from the late 1300s or early 1400s

Background / Comments

Our word came from late Middle English, which came from the Latin word caprinous, which comes from caper (male goat).

caprine

Pronounced: KAP-rine (alt: KAP-rin), adj

Notes: You may know this word, but I didn’t


Yesterday’s word

The word uliginous means “swampy; slimy; slippery”

First usage

Our word came into English in the late 1500s

Background / Comments

I don’t think I’ve every run across this word, but it does look (at a quick glance) as though it is related to “ugly”. Our word comes from the Latin word uligo (moisture).

uliginous

Pronounced: you-LIJ-uh-nuss, adj

Notes: This word looks like it is related to “ugly” (but it does not)


Yesterday’s phrase

The phrase ad hominem means “that which appeals to one’s prejudices or emotions rather than to one’s intellect or reason”

First usage

The definition above came into English in the late 1500s (see comments below).

Background / Comments

The data I took our phrase from only gives one definition, and it wasn’t the one I thought. I thought the word meant to make a personal attack instead of addressing the issue at hand. It turns out that this definition is also correct, but is later (came into usage in the late 1700s). So I wasn’t really mistaken; I just wasn’t aware of the original definition. Our phrase comes from Latin and literally means “to the man” or “to the person”; that is, to the passions or prejudices or interests of the person.

ad hominem

Pronounced: ad HOM-uh-nuhm (alt: ahd HOM-uh-nuhm), adj

Notes: I’ve run across this phrase, but I have misunderstood us


Yesterday’s word

The word lodestar means “someone or something that serves as a guiding principle, model, inspiration, ambition, etc.”

First usage

This word came into English in the later 1300s

Background / Comments

Our word comes from the Old English word lad (way) combined with star. A lodestar was first used because it was used in navigation — thus, showing the way. The other shades of meaning all came from the original meaning.

lodestar

Pronounced: LOAD-star, noun

Notes: I’ve heard this word, but realized I could not define it very accurately


Yesterday’s word

The word grabble means “to feel and search for something with the hands; to grope; to scramble”

First usage

This word came into English in the late 1500s

Background / Comments

I thought our word was much newer than it actually is. It sounds a lot like “grapple” unless one is careful to distinguish between the “b” and “p” sounds, and in a quieter voice, they can be very hard to tell apart. Our word is just the verb grab with -le added – according to one source, the -le ending adds “a frequentative force” to the verb: that phrase is just a fancy one to mean that is repeats. The word grab comes from the Middle Dutch word grabben; the Dutch also have a “frequentative” word grabbelen.

grabble

Pronounced: GRAB-uhl, verb

Notes: I was rather fuzzy on the definition of this word


Yesterday’s word

The word adolesce means “to reach of pass through adolescence”

First usage

In what was a surprise to me, this word goes back to the mid-1800s

Background / Comments

Our word, a verb, is a back-formation from the noun adolescent. It comes from the Latin word adolescere (to grow up), which came from alere (to feed). I thought that this would be a word from the 1900s instead of the 1800s.

adolesce

Pronounced: ad-uh-LESS, verb

Notes: You may be able to guess the meaning, but I didn’t know this word


Yesterday’s word

The word adret means “the side of a mountain that receives direct sunlight”

First usage

The word came into English in the 1930s

Background / Comments

I don’t do much mountain climbing (okay, none at all), so that may be why I haven’t heard this word. It seems kind of a technical word. The word came from French, which came from the Provençal word adreit, which came from old Provençal word adreg/adret (good; suitable – as in the side of the mountain suitable for vineyards).