No, the Word of the Day isn’t “Discontinuation.” We’re discontinuing the Word of the Day. Our reasons are twofold:
First, it isn’t our content. We’ve never claimed it was our content, but it’s a little nonsensical for us to slap a website’s feature on our blog every day. It’s their feature. For the record, if you want to keep receiving Words of the Day, sign up for the email system on Dictionary.com (left side of the page).
Second, it’s a bit of a nuisance. Molding the Word of the Day into a Tumbl-appropriate format takes some time. Not an absurd amount of time, but it’s time that we could be spending writing articles or answering asks.
Thanks for reading our blog!
sciamachy \ sahy-AM-uh-kee \, noun:
No, our man walks out of choice, and walks because only on foot can he engage in the sciamachy essential to his trade: fencing with the shadows of hat brims, gun muzzles and arms flung across brickwork by the beams of Kliegs.— Will Self, Walking to Hollywood: Memories of Before the Fall , 2010
It further tends to leave the self in disarray, without an orientation. And it risks remaining wastefully engaged in psychological sciamachy – a struggle with shadows or imaginary enemies.— Eric Sigg, The American T.S. Eliot: A Study of the Early Writings , 1989
malinger \ muh-LING-ger \ , verb:
1. to pretend illness, especially in order to shirk one’s duty, avoid work, etc.
Because he twice slapped battle-stressed soldiers in Sicily who, he thought, were merely malingering, he was denied a major command in the Normandy landings.
— Bernard Knox, “Scorched Earth,” The New York Times, 1999
It is impossible to determine exactly what inspired Mary’s various symptoms, but her own and other family members’ letters suggest that her suffering may have been a combination of hypochondria, conscious histrionics and malingering, and unconscious rebellion against her father.
—Caroline Fraser, God’s Perfect Child: Living and Dying in the Christian Science Church, 1999
columbine \KOL-uhm-bahyn, -bin, adjective:
1. dovelike; dove-colored.
2. of a dove.
For it is not possible to join serpentine wisdom with columbine innocency, except men know exactly all the conditions of the serpent: his baseness and going upon his belly, his volubility and lubricity, his envy and sting, and the rest; that is, all forms and natures of evil …
— Francis Bacon, The Advancement of Learning, 1605
Com forth now with thyne eyen columbyn. / How fairer been thy brestes than is wyn.
— Geoffrey Chaucer, “The Merchant’s Tale,” The Canterbury Tales, 1387–1400
Columbine is derived from the Latin columba meaning “dove.” The columbine flower was so named because of its resemblance to a cluster of doves.
razz \raz, verb:
1. Slang. to deride; make fun of; tease.
1. raspberry; any sign or expression of dislike or derision.
They razz each other over every play, throw stuff across the room, and laugh deep belly laughs over cutting remarks.
— Elsa Kok Colopy, 99 Ways to Fight Worry and Stress, 2009
He wouldn’t have razzed just me. He would have razzed my Abstract Expressionist pals, too, Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko and Terry Kitchen and so on …
— Kurt Vonnegut, Bluebeard: A Novel, 1987
Razz is a shortened variant of raspberry, a colloquialism for a rude sound used to express mockery or contempt. It entered English in the early to mid-1900s.
toothsome \TOOTH-suhm, adjective:
1. pleasing to the taste; palatable: a toothsome dish.
2. pleasing or desirable, as fame or power.
3. voluptuous; sexually alluring: a toothsome blonde.
It was filled with friandises, with luscious and toothsome bits—the finest of fruits, pates, a rare bottle or two, delicious syrups, and bonbons in abundance.
— Kate Chopin, The Awakening, 1899
Strictly judged, most modern poems are but larger or smaller lumps of sugar, or slices of toothsome sweet cake—even the banqueters dwelling on those glucose flavors as a main part of the dish.
— Walt Whitman, “An Old Man’s Rejoinder,” 1890
Toothsome entered English in the 1560, joining the word tooth, denoting “sense, liking,” with the adjective-forming suffix –some.
Salchow \SAL-kou, noun:
Ice Skating. a jump in which the skater leaps from the back inside edge of one skate, making one full rotation of the body in the air, and lands on the back outside edge of the other skate.
When she cinches the double salchow, the crowd cheers even louder than before.
— Carlin Flora, “Call of the Ice,” Psychology Today, 2006
Landing a difficult quadruple salchow-triple toe loop combination and attempting two additional quads, Goebel showed enough improved artistry from a year ago to win his first national title.
— Jere Longman, “Figure Skating: Kwan and Goebel Surmount Stumbles,” The New York Times, 2001
Salchow entered English courtesy of Swedish figure skater Ulrich Salchow, who invented the jump and first performed it in 1909.
moiety \MOI-i-tee, noun:
1. a half.
2. an indefinite portion, part, or share.
3. Anthropology. one of two units into which a tribe or community is divided on the basis of unilineal descent.
Tom divided the cake and Becky ate with good appetite, while Tom nibbled at his moiety.
— Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, 1876
Poor Federigo, although his necessity was extreme and his grief great, remembering his former inordinate expenses, a moietywhereof would now have stood him in some stead, yet he had a heart as free and forward as ever, not a jot dejected in his mind, though utterly overthrown by fortune.
— Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375), “The Falcon,” Little Masterpieces of Fiction, 1905
Moiety comes from Old French meitiet, from Late Latin medietas, from Latin medius, “middle.”
Anonymous asked: What is the difference between illness, sickness, and disease?
Let’s define some terms:
Illness (n): a disease or period of sickness affecting the body or mind.
Sickness (n): the state of being ill.
Disease (n): a disorder of structure or function in a human, animal, or plant, esp. one that produces specific signs or symptoms or that affects a specific location and is not simply a direct result of physical injury.
(Those definitions are from Google’s Define tool.)
There seems to be some pretty clear overlap between these words, so let’s see what a few smart people have to say about the differences between illness, sickness, and disease. To the Google Machine!
Technically, “Illness is the objective diagnosis that an external impartial observer is able to make based on the constellation of symptoms which the patient presents. Sickness is the social role that the patient adopts as the patient and other concerned stakeholders, in relationship with the patient, interpret the meaning of the illness.” (x)
"A disease is more specific and is determined by a physician or health worker… In general, illness is more general than disease, which in turn is more general than sickness.” (x)
However, the three terms are often used interchangeably in everyday conversation.
Substitute any one of these for the other, and very few people would notice much of a difference in your meaning.
In everyday use, it’s really more about your subjective perceptions. With that in mind, here are some of my feelings on these words:
To me, disease feels more specific. It’s not a disorder or an injury or a false alarm, it’s a disease. Something wrong with the physical body with symptoms. A disease? Sounds serious.
Illness sounds vaguer than disease but more high-brow and more “real” to me than sickness as well—”real” in the sense that if someone tells me their mom is ill, I’d take that more seriously than if they told me their mom was sick even though I’d sort of be judging that person for their use of such a uppity-type word. Ill. It just sounds like a severe British woman wearing a high lace collar is sneering it at me. “Your mother is quite ill.” Blerg.
Sickness feels very vague to me. When someone has no idea what is wrong, they might scratch their heads and call it a sickness and a damn shame. Sickness seems born of ignorance. We don’t know what it is. A sickness, no doubt, but beyond that? Who knows.
So what do you think, fellow writers? Do you feel a difference between these words? Let us know!
Thanks for your question, anon!