Word of the Day: Theurgy
theurgy \THEE-ur-jee, noun:
1. the working of a divine or supernatural agency in human affairs.
2. a system of beneficent magic practiced by the Egyptian Platonists and others.
But it is with the later evolution of theurgy in the Platonist milieu that we are mainly concerned, and here we find some compensation for the lacunosity of the Oracula.
— Garth Fowden, The Egyptian Hemes, 1993
I wandered around, trailing my fingers over the spines of books written in Hebrew and Greek, Old Testaments and New Testaments, books on theurgy and theology and philosophy.
— Jodi Picoult, Change of Heart, 2008
Theurgy entered English in the 1560s. It comes from the Greek word theourgeía meaning “magic.”
Word of the Day: Skeuomorph
skeuomorph \SKYOO-uh-mawrf, noun:
an ornament or design on an object copied from a form of the object when made from another material or by other techniques, as an imitation metal rivet mark found on handles of prehistoric pottery.
Skeuomorphs exist to make the population feel comfortable and assured of some cultural continuity — in architecture, a typical skeuomorph is a pseudo “Tudor” styled house in a suburban development.
— Bruce Sterling, “Web Semantics,” Wired, February 10, 2011
Such an object, in archaeological parlance, is a skeuomorph, a classic manifestation of technology as it leaves behind the realm of natural things.
— Timothy Taylor, The Artificial Ape, 2010
Skeuomorph is a neologism that was invented in the late 1800s from the Greek roots skeû meaning “vessel, implement” and morph meaning “of the kind specified by the initial element.”
Word of the Day: Pasquinade
pasquinade \pas-kwuh-NEYD, noun:
1. a satire or lampoon, especially one posted in a public place.
1. to assail in a pasquinade or pasquinades.
On the outer wall of the building, there was a vicious pasquinade of the deposed despot.
— D.V. Bernard, Intimate Relations with Strangers, 2007
In the course of his career, Dosoo had written fourteen books that included political commentaries on India, a slight obloquy on New York, an autobiography, and a pasquinade of Bombay society.
— Leila Hadley, Give Me the World, 2003
In Rome in 1501 a sculpture was disinterred and placed in Palazzo Orsini. The sculpture was nicknamed Pasquino, and once a year Romans posted humorous verses to the sculpture. Over time these satirical poems became named pasquinades because of the name of the statue. The statue is still in Rome with pasquinades on its base.
Word of the Day: Glissade
glissade \gli-SAHD, verb:
1. To perform a glissade, a sliding or gliding step.
1. A skillful glide over snow or ice in descending a mountain, as on skis or a toboggan.
2. Dance. A sliding or gliding step.
And then I hear it, a high tenuous glissade of sound that I might almost have mistaken for a siren if I didn’t know better, and I realize that this is what I’ve been waiting for all along: the coyote chorus.
— Tom Coraghessan Boyle, The Tortilla Curtain
Bodies which seem to hover over the floor, sinking only to rise. Glissade brushing to releve en attitude.
— Anthony Howell, In the Company of Others
Glissade entered into English in the 1830s as a version of the modern French verb glisser, meaning “to slip.”
Word of the Day: Avidity
avidity \uh-VID-i-tee, noun:
1. Enthusiasm or dedication.
2. Eagerness; greediness.
One may speak about anything on earth with fire, with enthusiasm, with ecstasy, but one only speaks about oneself with avidity.
— Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev, “A Correspondence,” Essential Turgenev
Come, walk up, and purchase with avidity, Overcome your diffidence and natural timidity!
— William S. Gilbert, Arthur Seymour Sullivan, Patience; or, Bunthorne’s Bride
Avidity appeared in English in the mid-1500s, originating from the French word avide, meaning “to crave, long for.” The term adds a dimension of intensity to the “eagerness” with which it is often equated.
Word of the Day: Hamartia
hamartia \hah-mahr-TEE-uh, noun:
What is Oedipus’ hamartia that leads to his self-fulfilling self-reversal?
— Laszlo Versényi, Man’s Measure
We called it by many different things, such as hubris or hamartia, but given the way you butcher Latin, let’s stick with English.
— Stephanie Draven, The Fever and the Fury
Hamartia stems from the Greek word hamartánein which meant “to err.” However, it entered English in the late 1800s.
word of (y)our day
Word #200 — May 24, 2013
Quiescence — (n.) A state of silent inaction; marked by tranquil repose; dormancy.
In a sentence — The quiet of the city on holiday and the silent company of his lover ensuant of the fervor preceding lead to a sure night of quiescence in their shared space amid a tangle of pillows and sheets, between cool spring gusts rushing them toward a loving embrace and acceptance of the night’s affection.