Word of the Day: 2/22/16 – 2/26/16

Happy Monday! It’s the last full week of February, and I am feeling recharged, revitalized, and ready for the busy week ahead. I hope you are also prepared to take on the rest of the month, and to help keep the week fresh and full of life, here are five words, chosen at random, to reinvigorate your vocabulary. Enjoy!

piacular (pie-AK-yuh-luhr)

adjective: making or requiring atonement

From Latin piare (to appease). Earliest documented use: 1606

Usage (from Wordsmith)
“The piacular sacrifice took place several days later.”
Colleen McCullough; Fortune’s Favourites; William Morrow; 1993.

demotic (di-MOT-ik)

adjective: relating to common people; popular
noun: modern Greek

From Greek demos (people). Earliest documented use: 1782

Usage (from Wordsmith)
“I’ve often found myself wondering what Christopher Hitchens would say about this or that event in the news. What I wouldn’t give to read him on … the darkly demotic presidential campaign of Donald Trump.”
Damon Linker; Pleasures of Dispute; The New York Times; Jan 8, 2016.

parsimony (PAR-si-mo-nee)

noun: excessive frugality; stinginess

From Latin parsimonia, from parcere (to spare). Earliest documented use: 1475

Usage (from Wordsmith)
“In what is by now a grand American tradition, Thoreau justified his own parsimony by impugning the needy. ‘Often the poor man is not so cold and hungry as he is dirty and ragged and gross. It is partly his taste, and not merely his misfortune. If you give him money, he will perhaps buy more rags with it.’”
Kathryn Schulz; Pond Scum; The New Yorker; Oct 19, 2015.

gaucherie (goh-shuh-REE)

noun: a lack of tact or grace; also an instance of this

From French gauche (literally left-handed, awkward), from gauchir (to turn). Earliest documented use: 1798

Usage (from Wordsmith)
“Also typical of modern Americans is Trump’s bad taste. … He puts his own individual stamp on gaucherie.”
PJ O’Rourke; Garish Tastes, Awful Hair; The Daily Beast (New York); Jun 16, 2015.

valence (VAY-luhns)

noun: 1. the combining capacity of an atom or a group of atoms to form molecules.
2. the capacity of someone or something to affect another.

From Latin valentia (power, worth, or strength), from valere (to be well or strong). Ultimately from the Indo-European root wal- (to be strong) that also gave us valiant, avail, valor, value, wieldy, countervail, valetudinarian, and valorize, Earliest documented use: 1425

Usage (from Wordsmith)
“Bernie Sanders sought common ground by adding new valences to one or two of his standard arguments.”
Margaret Talbot; The Populist Prophet; The New Yorker; Oct 12, 2015.

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