Word of the Day: 9/14/15 – 9/18/2015

Good morning and happy Monday. I am feeling refreshed and happy after a long weekend of football, which continues tonight. The NFL season is upon us; another part of what makes fall my favorite time of year. With a fresh mind I’ve decided to try something a little different with Word of the Day, and that is to combine the week of words into one post over the span of the week. I want to try this because my blog is just overwhelmed with these tiny Word of the Day blurbs, and I don’t really like the look of that. So I’ll try this one post idea this week; feel free to let me know how you feel about it too.

So, here is Wordsmith.org‘s explanation of this week’s words:
“A dandelion has a lion and a shrewd person is like a shrew. And these spellings are no accident. The words are indeed coined after those animals. A dandelion is named from the supposed appearance of its jagged leaves to a lion’s teeth (dent de lion). Someone shrewd has qualities of a shrew, a mole-like animal (the sense of the word shrewd has shifted over time).

This week we’ll see five other words that are coined after animals, some that are obvious in their animal roots, others that aren’t.”

I love it! Enjoy your week, and these words.

doryphore (DOR-uh-for)

noun: a pedantic or persistent critic

From French doryphore (Colorado beetle, a potato pest), from Greek doruphoros (spear carrier). The author Harold Nicolson brought the word to English in its current sense. Earliest documented use: 1952

Usage (from Wordsmith)
“Do you wind everyone up because you are nothing more than a doryphore?”
Tom Whitehead; Doryphores Must Keep Away from Dinner Parties; The Scotsman (Edinburgh, Scotland); Oct 25, 2001

ratty (RAT-ee)

adjective: 1. of, relating to, or full of rats
2. shabby
3. irritable; angry

From Old English raet (rat). Earliest documented use: 1852

Usage (from Wordsmith)
“A bathing suit so ratty it nearly falls off causes her to buy a new one.”
Alexandra Owens; Give It Up; Allure (New York); Jul 2013.

“Reduced congestion, it seems, does a lot more than soothe ratty drivers.”
Life Toll; The Economist (London, UK); Oct 15, 2009

pullulate (PUHL-yuh-layt)

verb intransitive: 1. to sprout or breed
2. to swarm or teem
3. to increase rapidly

From Latin pullulare (to sprout), from pullulus, diminutive of pullus (chicken, young animal), from Latin pullus (young animal). Ultimately from the Indo-European root pau- (few, little), which is also the source of few, foal, filly, pony, poor, pauper, poco, puerile, poltroon, punchinello, and catchpole. Earliest documented use: 1602

Usage (from Wordsmith)
“You know less than you think you do. The constant reinforcement of that sorry idea has become a drumbeat under parenting, as advice books of every kind pullulate like toadstools after a storm.”
Andrew Solomon; Go Play Outside; The New York Times; Dec 14, 2014.

winkle (WING-kuhl)

noun: a periwinkle, any of various mollusks with a spiral shell
verb transitive: to extract with effort or difficulty

noun: Of uncertain origin.
verb: From the process of extracting a periwinkle from its shell with a pin for eating its meat.
Earliest documented use: 1585

Usage (from Wordsmith)
Dougherty is a smart, pragmatic but deep-thinking cop who winkles out the truth by virtue of dogged police work.”
Declan Burke; Intricate Confessions, Historic Skeletons, Heartbreaking Tragedy; Irish Times (Dublin); Aug 29, 2015.

capriole (KAP-ree-ol)

noun: 1. a playful leap: caper
2. a leap made by a trained horse involving a backward kick of the hind legs at the top of the leap

From Middle French capriole (caper) or Italian capriola (leap), from Latin capreolus (goat), diminutive of caper (goat). Earliest documented use: 1580

Usage (from Wordsmith)
“This new book, the fattest so far, has a good many such rash half-caprioles of wit.”
Frank Kermode; Hip Gnosis; The Guardian (London, UK); Oct 12, 2002.

“Spectators can watch a horse smaller than 34 inches tall do tricks such as a capriole, an upward leap combined with a backward kick of the hind feet.”
Martha Ellen; Miniature Horses Featured at Gouverneur & St. Lawrence County Fair; McClatchy-Tribune Business News (Washington, DC); Aug 6, 2011.

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