Word of the Day and the Use of the English Language

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Evocacion
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Re: Word of the Day and the Use of the English Language

Post by Evocacion » Thu Nov 03, 2016 3:00 pm

Titivate has a slightly disparaging note in it, too. To me, it has always meant smartening up, usually by making very minor changes, but usually quite unnecessarily.

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Re: Word of the Day and the Use of the English Language

Post by gitgeezer » Fri Nov 04, 2016 12:12 am

Andrew Fryer wrote:
gitgeezer wrote:airsickness
I think I'd like a fuller explanation of that one.
Very curious that Horace Walpole would coin “airsickness,” since there were no airplanes in his day. But read these lines from Walpole to the Countess of Ossory, dated 6/13/1784:

“If there is no air-sickness, and I were to go to Paris again, I would prefer a balloon to the packet-boat, and had as lief roost in an oak as sleep in a French inn, though I was to crow for my breakfast like the young ravens.”

It’s possible that by “air-sickness” Walpole didn’t mean the form of motion sickness associated with air travel that we mean today by “airsickness.” He may have meant the anxiety and dizziness associated with fear of heights.

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Re: Word of the Day and the Use of the English Language

Post by Marshall Dixon » Fri Nov 04, 2016 4:27 pm

gitgeezer wrote:
Andrew Fryer wrote:
gitgeezer wrote:airsickness
I think I'd like a fuller explanation of that one.
Very curious that Horace Walpole would coin “airsickness,” since there were no airplanes in his day. But read these lines from Walpole to the Countess of Ossory, dated 6/13/1784:

“If there is no air-sickness, and I were to go to Paris again, I would prefer a balloon to the packet-boat, and had as lief roost in an oak as sleep in a French inn, though I was to crow for my breakfast like the young ravens.”

It’s possible that by “air-sickness” Walpole didn’t mean the form of motion sickness associated with air travel that we mean today by “airsickness.” He may have meant the anxiety and dizziness associated with fear of heights.
"Miasma" was used back then to refer to unhealthy air as the cause of disease. I suspect this is how "airsickness" was used.

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Re: Word of the Day and the Use of the English Language

Post by Andrew Fryer » Fri Nov 04, 2016 4:31 pm

Marshall Dixon wrote:
gitgeezer wrote:
Andrew Fryer wrote:I think I'd like a fuller explanation of that one.
Very curious that Horace Walpole would coin “airsickness,” since there were no airplanes in his day. But read these lines from Walpole to the Countess of Ossory, dated 6/13/1784:

“If there is no air-sickness, and I were to go to Paris again, I would prefer a balloon to the packet-boat, and had as lief roost in an oak as sleep in a French inn, though I was to crow for my breakfast like the young ravens.”

It’s possible that by “air-sickness” Walpole didn’t mean the form of motion sickness associated with air travel that we mean today by “airsickness.” He may have meant the anxiety and dizziness associated with fear of heights.
"Miasma" was used back then to refer to unhealthy air as the cause of disease. I suspect this is how "airsickness" was used.
I don't think so. Originally nausea meant sea-sickness from the Greek naus = boat. Walpole contrasts travelling by air (gondola) with travelling by sea (boat), so I think he's just wondering if sea-sickness has an air-travel equivalent.
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Re: Word of the Day and the Use of the English Language

Post by Marshall Dixon » Fri Nov 04, 2016 5:46 pm

Andrew Fryer wrote:
Marshall Dixon wrote:
gitgeezer wrote: Very curious that Horace Walpole would coin “airsickness,” since there were no airplanes in his day. But read these lines from Walpole to the Countess of Ossory, dated 6/13/1784:

“If there is no air-sickness, and I were to go to Paris again, I would prefer a balloon to the packet-boat, and had as lief roost in an oak as sleep in a French inn, though I was to crow for my breakfast like the young ravens.”

It’s possible that by “air-sickness” Walpole didn’t mean the form of motion sickness associated with air travel that we mean today by “airsickness.” He may have meant the anxiety and dizziness associated with fear of heights.
"Miasma" was used back then to refer to unhealthy air as the cause of disease. I suspect this is how "airsickness" was used.
I don't think so. Originally nausea meant sea-sickness from the Greek naus = boat. Walpole contrasts travelling by air (gondola) with travelling by sea (boat), so I think he's just wondering if sea-sickness has an air-travel equivalent.
Miasma, not nausea.
1. a vapourous exhalation formerly thought to cause disease: A heavy vaporous emanation.
2. A noxious influence or atmosphere.

The reference to a packet boat and roosting in an oak tree rather than a French inn suggests there is a noisome quality associated with the close quarters.

But it makes perfect sense to compare air sickness to sea sickness. The last time I flew, as I was exiting the rest room to a flurry of knocks on the door, a young boy's emesis confirmed your theory.

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Re: Word of the Day and the Use of the English Language

Post by gitgeezer » Fri Nov 04, 2016 9:31 pm

I think Andrew is mostly right. Walpole is clearly talking about a height problem, not an air quality problem. But his reference to sleeping in an oak tree, which does not move but is high above the ground, seems to eliminate the motion sickness theory and point more to height sickness or dizziness.

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Re: Word of the Day and the Use of the English Language

Post by Andrew Fryer » Fri Nov 04, 2016 9:36 pm

No, his reference to the oak tree has moved on from the problem of flight to the problem of residing in France.
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Re: Word of the Day and the Use of the English Language

Post by gitgeezer » Fri Nov 04, 2016 9:39 pm

Andrew Fryer wrote:No, his reference to the oak tree has moved on from the problem of flight to the problem of residing in France.
But both ideas are prefaced by "if there is no air sickness."

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Re: Word of the Day and the Use of the English Language

Post by Andrew Fryer » Fri Nov 04, 2016 10:01 pm

I disagree. The structure is a chiasmus - it's the latter part: "though I was to crow" which acts as the protasis to "had as lief roost in an oak" 's apodosis.
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Re: Word of the Day and the Use of the English Language

Post by gitgeezer » Fri Nov 04, 2016 11:28 pm

There is yet another possibility for Walpole’s meaning—altitude sickness, also called balloon sickness. Walpole may have known of people suffering from this form of illness when mountain climbing or going high in a balloon. He probably knew that merely climbing a tree was unlikely to produce this sickness, but simply included it for comedic effect, just as with the raven analogy.

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Re: Word of the Day and the Use of the English Language

Post by Marshall Dixon » Sat Nov 05, 2016 12:26 am

right; after the rooster, duck and goat survived, miasma would not have been a concern. landing in an oak tree would probably be more of a worry.

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Re: Word of the Day and the Use of the English Language

Post by Andrew Fryer » Sat Nov 05, 2016 10:42 am

Marshall Dixon wrote:landing in an oak tree would probably be more of a worry.
yes, nice idea.
And I assumed lief was a pun on leaf, but then I decided Walpole was just laying it on too thick.
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Re: Word of the Day and the Use of the English Language

Post by Vito Simplicio » Sun Jan 01, 2017 5:58 pm

rejuvenate

Verb | rih-JOO-vuh-nayt

Definition

1 : to make young or youthful again : give new vigor to
2 : to restore to an original or new state

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Rejuvenate originated as a combination of the prefix re-, which means "again," with a Latin term that also gave us the words juvenile and junior—juvenis, meaning "young." Rejuvenate literally means "to make young again" and can imply a restoration of physical or mental strength or a return to a more youthful, healthy condition, as when you try to rejuvenate your skin with moisturizer. You can also rejuvenate things that are timeworn. For instance, a lackluster brand can be rejuvenated by a new marketing campaign.

Examples of REJUVENATE

The new arts complex and adjacent businesses have rejuvenated the city and turned downtown into a destination for visitors.

"I was drained. When I started thinking about doing another album, I had all this self-doubt. I didn't think the songs would be any good. But I pushed through, and when 'Slipstream' was so well-received, it rejuvenated me."
— Bonnie Raitt, quoted in The Chicago Tribune, 18 Mar. 2016

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Re: Word of the Day and the Use of the English Language

Post by Vito Simplicio » Sun Jan 08, 2017 3:16 pm

factitious

Adjective | fak-TISH-us

Definition

1 : produced by humans rather than by natural forces
2 : a) formed by or adapted to an artificial or conventional standard, b) produced by special effort : sham

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Like the common words fact and factual, factitious ultimately comes from the Latin verb facere, meaning "to do" or "to make." But in current use, factitious has little to do with things factual and true—in fact, factitious often implies the opposite. The most immediate ancestor of factitious is the Latin adjective facticius, meaning "made by art" or "artificial." When English speakers first adopted the word as factitious in the 17th century, it meant "produced by human effort or skill" (rather than arising from nature). This meaning gave rise to such meanings as "artificial" and "false" or "feigned."

Examples of FACTITIOUS

"For all the factitious factoids about state education spending, the reality from the federal government and even the nation's largest teachers union is that Pennsylvania far outspends most states—and by a comfortable margin."
— The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 24 June 2016

"Brucie's worsening situation, like many events in Sweat's early scenes, is a harbinger of bad economic times that ultimately afflict all the characters. Nottage takes her time, piling up the details carefully and compassionately; Kate Whoriskey's direction keeps the action taut without any factitious pressuring."
— Michael Feingold, The Village Voice, 9 Nov. 2016

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Re: Word of the Day and the Use of the English Language

Post by Vito Simplicio » Fri Jan 13, 2017 2:13 pm

effrontery

Noun | ih-FRUN-tuh-ree

Definition : shameless boldness : insolence

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To the Romans, the shameless were "without forehead," at least figuratively. Effrontery derives from Latin effrons, a word that combines the prefix ex- (meaning "out" or "without") and frons (meaning "forehead" or "brow"). The Romans never used effrons literally to mean "without forehead," and theorists aren't in full agreement about the connection between the modern meaning of effrontery and the literal senses of its roots. Some explain that frons can also refer to the capacity for blushing, so a person without frons would be "unblushing" or "shameless." Others theorize that since the Romans believed that the brow was the seat of a person's modesty, being without a brow meant being "immodest" or, again, "shameless."

Examples of EFFRONTERY

Holly could not believe the effrontery of the student who asked that her grade be changed even though she had completed little of the coursework.

"'I [Amanda Seyfried] once made a pecan pie for a guy I was dating, and we had a nice meal … with friends, and then that night, when we were alone, he said, "Did you really make that pie?"' She pauses to let the injustice, the sheer effrontery, of the question settle in. 'I mean, who says that?'"
— David Denicolo, Allure, November 2016

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