Friday, October 22, 2010

Word Carousel

I'm having fun going through the dictionary from A-Z. Yes, page by page....

At 365 Word Quest I select a word a day and provide an etymology and context. It's particularly interesting to see the sometimes convoluted origins of words. Also on the sidebar I have widgets for the Oxford English Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Online, and Wordnik. They each provide a word of the day. If you appreciate language, you may enjoy this cornucopia for the wordsmith.

Here is a selection from the last few weeks.

- jarring sound, discordant, harsh
- also cacophonous, cacophonic
- from Greek kakos- bad

camaraderie- a spirit of familiarity and trust existing between friends
- C19 from French, from comrade

cantankerous- quarrelsome; irascible
- C18, from Anglo French, perhaps from C14 conteckour- contentious person from conteck strife

capricious- characterized by or liable to sudden unpredictable changes in attitude or behaviour; impulsive; fickle
- caprice, capriciousness- noun
-from French, Italian capriccio- capo- head +riccio- hedgehog, suggesting a convulsive shudder of a hedgehog's spines

carpe diem- seize the day
-Latin from Horace

carte blanche- complete discretion or authority
-C18 from French- blank paper

catharsis- the purging or purification of the emotions through the evocation of pity and fear, as in tragedy; the bringing of repressed ideas or experiences into consciousness, thus relieving tensions
-from Greek katharsis- to purge, purify

caveat emptor- let the buyer beware

charisma- a special personal quality or power of an individual making him capable of influencing or inspiring large numbers of people; a quality inherent in a thing which inspires great enthusiasm and devotion
-C17 from Latin, Greek kharisma, from kharis- grace, favour

charlatan- someone who professes knowledge or expertise, especially in medicine, that he does not have; quack
-C17 from French, from Italian ciarlare- to chatter

chauvinism- aggressive or fanatical patriotism; jingoism; enthusiastic devotion to a cause; smug irrational belief in the superiority of one's own race, party, sex- male chauvinism
C19 from French chauvinisme- after Nicolas Chauvin- legendary French soldier under Napoleon, noted for his vociferous and unthinking patriotism

churl- a surly, rude, ill-bred person
- Old English ceorl; Old Norse karl, Middle Low German kerle, Greek geron old man
- also adjective churlish

convivial- sociable; jovial or festive
-C17 from Latin convivium, a living together, banquet from vivere to live

Are there any words above which strike your fancy?