Word of the Day: 2/8/16 – 2/12/16

It’s been a scattered few days/weekend, and yesterday I took a *true* vacation day so apologies for the missing word of the day. Although I wish I had a little bit longer of a vacation, I need to kick my productivity into gear and get things done! So here is the theme for this week’s words:

“Last month we looked at five words coined after figures from mythology. Now it’s time for people from the real world. This week we’ll travel to Rome, Spain, and England and meet five people who have words coined after them.”

Have a great week!

Maecenas (mee-SEE-nuhs, mi-)

noun: generous patron, especially of art, music, or literature

From Gaius Cilnius Maecenas (c. 70-8 BCE), patron of Horace and Virgil. Earliest documented use: 1542

Usage (from Wordsmith)
“A local businessman and cycling fan from his Jura region, Daniel Germond, took on the role of Maecenas and disinterestedly paid his wages for a season, enabling the Frenchman to remain a professional cyclist.”
Alasdair Fotheringham; Froome Goes on the Attack to Faze Rivals; The Independent on Sunday (London, UK); Jul 12, 2015.

guy (guy)

noun: a man (in plural, persons of either sex)
verb transitive: to make fun of; ridicule

noun: a rope to steady, guide, or secure something
verb transitive: to steady, guide, or secure something with a rope

For set 1: After Guy Fawkes (1570-1606), a conspirator in the failed attempt to blow up England’s Parliament in 1605. Earliest documented use: 1874.
For set 2: From Old French guie (guide), from guier (to guide). Ultimately from the Indo-European root weid- (to see), which is also the source of guide, wise, vision, advice, idea, story, history, polyhistor, invidious, hades, eidos, eidetic, previse, vidimus, and vizard. Earliest documented use: 1375

Usage (from Wordsmith)
“There was much guying of America’s Tea Party movement or teabaggers, as some hilariously call themselves.”
Veronica Lee; Bigots and the PC Brigade are Expertly Skewered; The Independent (London, UK); May 27, 2015.

“Ropes guyed it down to the goalpost crossbars.”
Ian McDonald; Kirinya; Gollancz; 1998.

Victorian (vik-TOR-ee-uhn)

adjective: 1. prudish; outdated; exaggeratedly proper; hypocritical
2. relating to the period of the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901)
3. relating to ornate architecture, furnishings, etc., characteristic of the period

After Queen Victoria of the UK (1819-1901). Earliest documented use: 1839

Usage (from Wordsmith)
“‘We’ve been discussing how she’s not allowed to be alone with a boy until she’s twenty-five;’
Evan smiled. ‘How very Victorian of you.’”
Roni Loren; Forever Starts Tonight; InterMix Books; 2014

Gongorism (GONG-uh-riz-uhm)

noun: an affected literary style marked by intricate language and elaborate figures of speech

After Spanish baroque poet Luis de Góngora y Argote (1561-1627). Earliest documented use: 1813

Usage (from Wordsmith)
“And the staggering Gongorisms! Shall the ship be called just ‘ship’? Perish the thought of such banality! Oh eyes, no eyes, but fountains fraught with tears!”
Aldous Huxley; Beyond the Mexique Bay; Chatto & Windus; 1934.

Notes (from Wordsmith)
Some Gongorisms from Luis de Góngora y Argote:
• La vida es ciervo herido, que las flechas le dan alas. (Life is a wounded stag in whom the fast-stuck arrows function as wings.)
• A batallas de amor, campo de pluma. (Feathers are love’s most fitting battle-ground.)

Addisonian (ad-uh-SO-nee-uhn)

adjective: having clarity and elegance

After Joseph Addison (1672-1719), English essayist and poet. Earliest documented use: 1789

Usage (from Wordsmith)
“Murray Kempton enjoyed being in a group of reporters; he liked to try out ideas for columns, dropping fully formed Addisonian sentences into conversation to see which ones got a nod or a laugh. The winners turned up in the next day’s paper.”
David Von Drehle; A Journalist’s Singular Voice; The Washington Post; May 6, 1997.

Some aphorisms by Addison:

  • What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to a human soul.
  • Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.

Content thyself to be obscurely good. When vice prevails, and impious men bear sway, the post of honor is a private station.

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