Word A Day – MIASMA

7 06 2008

miasma \my-AZ-muh; mee-\

noun:
1. A vaporous exhalation (as of marshes or putrid matter) formerly thought to cause disease; broadly, a thick vaporous atmosphere or emanation.
2. A harmful or corrupting atmosphere or influence; also, an atmosphere that obscures; a fog.

Miasma comes from Greek miasma, “pollution,” from miainein, “to pollute.”

As in the Butler University campus.





Word A Day – POLYMATH

6 06 2008

polymath \POL-ee-math\

noun:
A person of great or varied learning; one acquainted with various subjects of study.

Polymath is from Greek polymathes, “having learned much,” from poly-, “much” + manthanein, “to learn.”

Increasing our vocabulary one day at a time.





Word A Day – SYBARITE

5 06 2008

sybarite \SIB-uh-ryt\

noun:
A person devoted to luxury and pleasure.

Sybarite is derived from Greek Sybarites, from Sybaris, an ancient Greek city noted for the luxurious, pleasure-seeking habits of many of its inhabitants.

Increasing our vocabulary one day at a time.





Word A Day – LACUNA

4 06 2008

lacuna \luh-KYOO-nuh\
plural lacunae \luh-KYOO-nee\ or lacunas::

noun

1. A blank space; a missing part; a gap.
2. (Biology) A small opening, depression, or cavity in an anatomical structure.

Lacuna is from the Latin lacuna, “a cavity, a hollow,” from lacus, “a hollow.”

Increasing our vocabulary one word at a time.





Word A Day – VICISSITUDE

3 06 2008

vicissitude \vih-SIS-ih-tood; -tyood\

noun:
1. Regular change or succession from one thing to another; alternation; mutual succession; interchange.
2. Irregular change; revolution; mutation.
3. A change in condition or fortune; an instance of mutability in life or nature (especially successive alternation from one condition to another).

Vicissitude comes from Latin vicissitudo, from vicissim, in turn, probably from vices, changes.

Increasing our vocabulary one word at a time.





Word A Day – AFFLATUS

2 06 2008

afflatus \uh-FLAY-tuhs\

noun:
A divine imparting of knowledge; inspiration.

Afflatus is from Latin afflatus, past participle of afflare, “to blow at or breathe on,” from ad-, “at” + flare, “to puff, to blow.” Other words with the same root include deflate (de-, “out of” + flare); inflate (in-, “into” + flare); soufflé, the “puffed up” dish (from French souffler, “to puff,” from Latin sufflare, “to blow from below,” hence “to blow up, to puff up,” from sub-, “below” + flare); and flatulent.

Increasing our vocabulary one word at a time.

Just for you.





Word A Day – RETICENT

1 06 2008

reticent \RET-ih-suhnt\

adjective:
1. Inclined to keep silent; reserved; uncommunicative.
2. Restrained or reserved in style.
3. Reluctant; unwilling.

Reticent comes from the present participle of Latin reticere, “to keep silent,” from re- + tacere, “to be silent.”

Increasing our vocabulary one word at a time.