Word of the Day: precipitous & oppugn

Good morning, and happy Tuesday. I took yesterday off to enjoy some sun, food, and company lakeside, so I’ll be including yesterday’s word here as well. I will let Wordsmith explain the theme for this week:

Vincent A. Musetto, the editor who wrote the timeless headline “Headless Body in Topless Bar”, died earlier this month (NY Times).

Countless editors toil in obscurity in newsrooms around the world every day. Even though they do an invaluable job, it’s rare that newspeople themselves become news. Musetto’s headline generated numerous stories in the press, so it’s not surprising that his passing has resulted in many obituaries. May he rest in peace. He was no ordinary man — here’s hoping someone remembered to retrieve his brain to identify its genius (just like Einstein’s).

In Musetto’s honor we’ll feature five words that are coined after body parts, starting with today’s word that has its origin in the head.

Enjoy your week, and enjoy these words.

oppugn (uh-PYOON)
verb transitive: to call in question; to contradict; to dispute

From Latin oppugnare (to fight or oppose), from ob- (against) + pugnare (to fight), from pugnus (fist). Earliest documented use: 1435

Usage (from Wordsmith)
“President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono last week put the blame on the media, accusing media organizations of destroying the party’s image. Furthermore, he oppugned press credibility.”
Donny Syofyan; Blame Game and Political Suicide of Indonesian Elites; The Jakarta Post (Indonesia); Jul 25, 2011


precipitous (pri-SIP-i-tuhs)
adjective: 1. resembling a precipice, a cliff with a nearly vertical overhanging face.
2. extremely steep
3. abrupt, rapid, or hasty (applied to a worsening situation)

From obsolete French précipiteux, from Latin praecipitare (to cast down headlong), from prae- (before) + caput (head). Ultimately from the Indo-European root kaput- (head), also the origin of head, captain, chef, chapter, cadet, cattle, chattel, achieve, biceps, mischief, occiput, recapitulate, and capitation. Earliest documented use: 1646

Usage (from Wordsmith)
“I’ve always had a weakness for lost causes and for writers who achieved some acclaim and then experienced a precipitous fall from grace.”
Guy Vanderhaeghe; I Wanted to Return to the Darting, Glimmering Light of Short Fiction; The Globe and Mail (Toronto, Canada); May 2, 2015.

Reply With Your Thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.