Word of the Day and the Use of the English Language

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Mr Kite

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

Post by Mr Kite » Sun Mar 19, 2017 6:50 pm

I like the Guardian's take on this - compare:

I dedicate this book to my parents, Martin Amis, and JK Rowling

with

I dedicate this book to my parents, Martin Amis and JK Rowling

I'm also a fan of the Oxford z, but everybody thinks it is an Americanism.

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

Post by Andrew Fryer » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:26 pm

If the Oxford z is what I think it is, I hate it. I've got a feeling someone rationalised it as having come from Greek -zein verbs, but I think that's nonsense - the verbs where we use it are more like to have come from French -iser verbs, and I'm happy to keep the s.
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Mr Kite

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

Post by Mr Kite » Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:29 pm

I'd agree with you if those words had come to us as part of a written language with consistent spelling (which I agree would have been French or maybe Old French or Norman French) but I don't think that can be what happened. Let's say the relevant variety of French did consistently use -ise - even then, by the time English spelling came to be standardized, we were separated from this practice by four or five centuries. The logic of following the French would then have been that you ought to go back to the source - but in that case why only go back to the French, when the Greek is closer to the source?

I have read that -ize was standard until it became fashionable to copy the French in the nineteenth century, so I see it as a bit foppish and would rather go back to the plain and honest English version (which never really went away).

It's interesting that -ise has resisted Americanization when you would think it would be a prime candidate. The trend is actually away from -ize, with even the Times switching to -ise in the 90s. I can't think of any other respect in which BrE has moved away from AmE.

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

Post by Vito Simplicio » Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:35 pm

I was taught, as least I think I was, that the second comma in the example above was optional and more dependent on the length for example: "He went to the store to buy milk, fresh vegetables and bread."
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Re: Word of the Day and the Use of the English Language

Post by Vito Simplicio » Sat Apr 01, 2017 2:42 pm

munificent

Adjective | myoo-NIF-uh-sunt

Definition

1 : very liberal in giving or bestowing : lavish
2 : characterized by great liberality or generosity

Did You Know?

Munificent was formed back in the late 1500s when English speakers, perhaps inspired by similar words such as magnificent, altered the ending of munificence. Munificence in turn comes from munificus, the Latin word for "generous," which itself comes from munus, a Latin noun that is variously translated as "gift," "duty," or "service." Munus has done a fine service to English by giving us other terms related to service or compensation, including municipal and remunerate.

Examples of MUNIFICENT

"On the hill, where kites used to be flown, stood the fine college which Mr. Laurence's munificent legacy had built."
— Louisa May Alcott, Jo's Boys, 1886

"Each taco is $3, and each is munificent. You might not manage more than two."
— Ligaya Mishan, The New York Times, 9 Dec. 2016

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

Post by gitgeezer » Sat Apr 01, 2017 3:33 pm

There's something not quite right about describing a taco as "munificent," but I'm not sure I can explain why.

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

Post by Andrew Fryer » Sat Apr 01, 2017 3:52 pm

A taco is certainly not as munificent as a burrito.
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Mr Kite

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

Post by Mr Kite » Sat Apr 01, 2017 4:14 pm

gitgeezer wrote:There's something not quite right about describing a taco as "munificent," but I'm not sure I can explain why.
Is it that we normally say talk about a serving being liberal or generous, rather than the thing served, and that's what munificent means?

While it may use the word in an extended sense, "that was an, um, generous burger" sounds fine to me.

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

Post by gitgeezer » Sat Apr 01, 2017 11:24 pm

Creative Writing Quiz--in the following sentence, which use of "munificent" is the better usage?

The munificent taco shop owner gave away 1000 munificent tacos.

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

Post by Vito Simplicio » Sat May 13, 2017 1:48 pm

Andrew Fryer wrote:
Sat Apr 01, 2017 3:52 pm
A taco is certainly not as munificent as a burrito.
No doubt. :wink:
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Re: Word of the Day and the Use of the English Language

Post by Vito Simplicio » Sat May 13, 2017 1:52 pm

gitgeezer wrote:
Sat Apr 01, 2017 11:24 pm
Creative Writing Quiz--in the following sentence, which use of "munificent" is the better usage?

The munificent taco shop owner gave away 1000 munificent tacos.
I going with the munificent taco shop owner. I mean come on, 1000 tacos and they are munificent to boot.
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Re: Word of the Day and the Use of the English Language

Post by Vito Simplicio » Sat May 13, 2017 1:56 pm

microcosm

Noun | MY-kruh-kah-zum

Definition

1 : a little world; especially : the human race or human nature seen as an epitome of the world or the universe
2 : a community or other unity that is an epitome of a larger unity

Did You Know?

A microcosm is a "little world"—mikros kosmos in Greek. The Greek term was modified to microcosmus in Medieval Latin. When early medieval scholars referred to humans as miniature embodiments of the natural universe, they either employed the Latin word microcosmus or they used the English translation, "less world." "Man is callyd the lasse worlde, for he shewyth in hymselfe lyknesse of all the worlde," wrote John Trevisa when he translated the Latin text of Bartholomaeus Anglicus' encyclopedia in the 14th century. But by the 15th century scholars had adopted an anglicized version of the Latin word, the word we use today—microcosm.

Examples of MICROCOSM

"The Mekong River Basin is a microcosm of the Earth's freshwater resources—it includes almost all of the natural forms freshwater takes on Earth: groundwater, lakes, ponds, streams, and wetlands."
— Eleanor J. Sterling et al., Natural History, November 2007

"When walking through the district today, you see a microcosm of a city—a businessman walking next to a student, walking next to an artist, walking next to a parishioner—a true urban environment stitched together throughout 19 blocks and 68 acres. You see people of all ages, races, genders, shapes, and sizes living and breathing in the same space, creating a rich identity in and of itself."
— Kim Butler, D Magazine, 7 Mar. 2017

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

Post by Vito Simplicio » Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:56 pm

wreak

verb | REEK

Definition

1 : to cause the infliction of (vengeance or punishment)
2 : to give free play or course to (malevolent feeling)
3 : bring about, cause

Did You Know?

Wreak is a venerable word that first appeared in Old English as wrecan, meaning "to drive, drive out, punish, or avenge." Wrecan is related to a number of similar words in the Germanic languages, including Middle Dutch wreken ("to punish, avenge"), Old High German rehhan ("to avenge"), Old Norse reka ("to drive, push, or avenge"), and Gothic wrikan ("to persecute"). It may also be related to Latin urgēre ("to drive on, urge"), the source of the English verb urge. In modern English, vengeance is a common object of the verb wreak, reflecting one of its earlier uses in the sense "to take vengeance for"—as when Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus proclaims "We will solicit heaven, and move the gods / To send down Justice for to wreak our wrongs."

Examples of WREAK

"A cheeky peacock has wreaked havoc inside a California liquor store, smashing over $500 worth of expensive wine and champagne."
— Heat Street, 7 June 2017

"Don't be fooled by Mike Brown's big smile and happy-go-lucky demeanor. The Golden State Warriors' acting head coach is probably salivating over his chance to wreak brutal vengeance against the Cleveland Cavaliers—the team that fired him twice."
— Chuck Barney, The Mercury News (San Jose, California), 7 June 2017

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

Post by Andrew Pohlman » Wed Jul 26, 2017 2:57 pm

My unimaginative and trivial contribution is the word "banal". I heard this word used in a vampire story. As immortals, they are tremendously bored with everything - everything is banal to them.

ba·nal
bəˈnäl,bəˈnal/
adjective: banal

so lacking in originality as to be obvious and boring.
"songs with banal, repeated words"
synonyms: trite, hackneyed, clichéd, platitudinous, vapid, commonplace, ordinary, common, stock, conventional, stereotyped, overused, overdone, overworked, stale, worn out, timeworn, tired, threadbare, hoary, hack, unimaginative, humdrum, ho-hum, unoriginal, uninteresting, dull, uninvolving, trivial

Someone above was comparing tacos and burritos. I love Southwestern/Mexican food! Both are opposite of banal in terms of spiciness. But as a gourmet choice, both are banal compared to BBQ salmon wrapped in grape leaves with walnut butter and lemon slices.
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Re: Word of the Day and the Use of the English Language

Post by Vito Simplicio » Mon Jul 31, 2017 4:23 pm

Andrew Pohlman wrote:
Wed Jul 26, 2017 2:57 pm
My unimaginative and trivial contribution is the word "banal".
No way is your contribution unimaginative and trivial. We appreciate you participation. Also, keep in my that we have a good number of members whose primary language is not English.

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