Word of the Week: Dearth

Dearth

Noun

  1.  :  scarcity that makes dear; specifically :  famine

  2.  :  an inadequate supply :  lack a dearth of evidence

Examples of dearth in a sentence

  • there was a dearth of usable firewood at the campsite

  • the dearth of salesclerks at the shoe store annoyed us

Did You Know?

The facts about the history of the word dearth are quite simple: the word derives from the Middle English form “derthe,” which has the same meaning as our modern term. That Middle English form is assumed to have developed from an Old English form that was probably spelled “dierth” and was related to “dēore,” the Old English form that gave us the word dear. (“Dear” also once meant “scarce,” but that sense of the word is now obsolete.) Some form of “dearth” has been used to describe things that are in short supply since at least the 13th century, when it often referred to a shortage of food.

 

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Word of the Week: Convivial.

Convivial

Adjective

relating to, occupied with, or fond of feasting, drinking, and good company a convivial host a convivial gathering

conviviality: play \kən-ˌvi-vē-ˈa-lə-tē\ noun

convivially: play \kən-ˈviv-yə-lē, -ˈvi-vē-ə-lē\ adverb

Examples of convivial in a sentence

  1. the hiking club attracts a wide range of convivial people who share a love of the outdoors

Did You Know?

Convivial traces to “convivium,” a Latin word meaning “banquet,” and tends to suggest a mood of full-bellied joviality. Charles Dickens aptly captures that sense in his novel David Copperfield: “We had a beautiful little dinner. Quite an elegant dish of fish; the kidney-end of a loin of veal, roasted; fried sausage-meat; a partridge, and a pudding. There was wine, and there was strong ale…. Mr. Micawber was uncommonly convivial. I never saw him such good company. He made his face shine with the punch, so that it looked as if it had been varnished all over. He got cheerfully sentimental about the town, and proposed success to it.”

Word of the Week: Imprecation.

During my manic reading this year, a book a day, at least, I come across words that jump and make me go, huh. This week I read a book where there was minimum use of profanity, if any at all. Instead the author chose to use another way of stating a character was swearing or cursing.

Imprecation

Noun

A spoken curse.

Examples of imprecation in a sentence

  1. He muttered imprecations under his breath.

  2. the defiant prisoner continued to hurl imprecations and insults at the guards

First Known Use of imprecation

15th century

Word of the Week: Abrade

Through my reading adventures I come across words that I see often but never look up. Sometimes you think you know what a word means but do you really?

Abrade-Abraded, Abrading

Definition

transitive verb

  • 1a :  to rub or wear away especially by friction :  erodeb :  to irritate or roughen by rubbing

  • 2 :  to wear down in spirit :  irritate, weary

 

Examples of abrade in a sentence

  1. ropes abraded by the rocks were a huge danger to the climbers

  2. the prisoner’s manacles abraded his wrists and ankles until they bled

 

Origin and Etymology of abrade

Latin abradere to scrape off, from ab- + radere to scrape — more at rodent

 

First Known Use

Circa 1675

 

Word of the Week: Chagrin.

Chagrin n.  A keen feeling of mental unease, as of annoyance or embarrassment, caused by failure, disappointment, or a disconcerting event. “He decided to take the day off, much to the chagrin of his boss.”

Did You Know?

Chagrin comes from French, in which it means “grief,” “sorrow,” or essentially the same thing as our “chagrin,” and in which it is also an adjective meaning “sad.” Some etymologists have linked this “chagrin” with another French chagrin, meaning “rough leather or “rough skin.” Supposedly, the rough leather used to rub, polish, or file became a metaphor in French for agitating situations. English-speakers have also adopted the leathery “chagrin” into our language but have altered the spelling to “shagreen.” (m-w.com)

First Known Use

Circa 1681