Word of the Day debonair (adjective) \deb-uh-NAIR\ http://media.merriam- webster.com/soundc11/m/medioc01.wav
What does it mean? : gracefully charming What does it mean?
How do you use it? " 'Good evening, Apollo!' she answered, smiling back at him, for he too looked unusually debonair, and the thought of entering the ballroom on the arm of such a personable man caused Amy to pity the four plain Misses Davis from the bottom of her heart." (Louisa May Alcott, Little Women)
Are you a word wiz? The word "debonair" traces to the three words "de bon aire." What do you think "de bon aire" means? A. of good nature B. not very old C. in excellent health D. with perfect manners
Answer-A In Anglo-French (the French language spoken in medieval England), someone who was genteel and well- brought-up was described as "deboneire." The term was formed through the combination of the three Anglo-French words "de bon aire," which mean literally "of good nature." When "deboneire" was borrowed into English as "debonere" in the 13th century, it basically meant "courteous," a sense that is now pretty much obsolete. The word eventually developed its current meaning which incorporates charm, polish, and worldliness. "Debonair" often also suggests a carefree attitude and is usually used in reference to men.
Word of the Day gargoyle (noun) \GAHR-goyl\ http://media.merriam- webster.com/soundc11/m/medioc01.wav
What does it mean? : a waterspout in the form of a strange or frightening human or animal figure sticking out at the roof or eaves of a building What does it mean?
How do you use it? After seeing some of the imaginative gargoyles on medieval churches, Adam has a greater respect for the artisans of the Middle Ages.
Are you a word wiz? The first thing we think about when someone mentions the word "gargoyle" is how scary or funny or just plain weird these figures look. However, the root of "gargoyle" has nothing to do with looks. What do you think inspired the name of these bizarre creations? A. the hardness of the stone from which they were carved B. the gargling sound of the water pouring from them C. the rotten smell when people started stuffing them with garbage D. the wickedness of the monsters they portrayed
Answer-C " Gargoyle" came into English in the 13th century, at a time when many of the churches that were being built all over Europe displayed these strange creatures as part of their design. The rainwater that came through their throats and out of their mouths probably made a gargling sound along the way. The parent word of "gargoyle" is the French noun "gargouille," akin to the verb "gargouiller," a word whose sound was intended to imitate that of liquid in the throat kept in motion by air from the lungs. It's not surprising that "gargouiller" is also the source of the English word "gargle."
Word of the Day contradict (verb) \kahn-truh-DIKT\ http://media.merriam- webster.com/soundc11/m/medioc01.wav
What does it mean? 1 : to say the opposite of what someone else has said : deny the truth 2 : to be opposed or contrary to : go against What does it mean?
How do you use it? On cross-examination, the attorney tried to get the witness to contradict his earlier statement.
Are you a word wiz? Which one of these words do you think is a synonym of "contradict"? A. submit B. combine C. gainsay D. promote
Answer-C There's no denying that C is the right answer. "Deny" implies a firm refusal to accept something as true or to acknowledge the existence or claims of something or someone. ("They denied the charges.") "Contradict" and "gainsay" both mean about the same thing as "deny," but are used in slightly different ways. "Contradict" suggests a complete denial. ("Her version of the story contradicts his.") "Gainsay," meanwhile, implies disputing the truth of what someone else has said. ("No one can gainsay her claims.") "Contravene" is another member of this group of synonyms. "Contravene" indicates incompatibility rather than intentional opposition. ("The new laws contravene tradition.").
Word of the Day eccentric (adjective) \ik-SEN-trik\ http://media.merriam- webster.com/soundc11/m/medioc01.wav
What does it mean? 1 : odd in behavior 2 : being off center What does it mean?
How do you use it? Aunt Mercia, a rather eccentric member of the family, left her entire fortune to her pet fish, Fluffy, when she died.
Are you a word wiz? Judging from what you know about "eccentric," which of the roots below do you think is the origin of "eccentric?“ A. Greek "kentein," meaning "to prick" B. Old English "cennan," meaning "to make known" C. Latin "cena," meaning "dinner" D. Latin "centum," meaning "hundred"
Answer-A It was the Greek word "kentein," meaning "to prick," that gave rise to "eccentric." From "kentein" developed the noun "kentron," meaning "center," as in the center of a circle. The Greeks combined the prefix "ex-," meaning "out of," with "kentron" to form "ekkentros," the grandparent of "eccentric." "Eccentric" does have a meaning of "deviating from a circular path," as in "an eccentric orbit," but it is the "odd" meaning that is most familiar. Perhaps something or someone odd or unusual reminded people of the perfection of a circle becoming skewed. Someone who was eccentric deviated from the normal path, and thus was figuratively "out of center."