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4/24/16

Bard

(ˈbärd)

n. 1. A poet or singer.

 

The word comes to us through Scottish, originally from Celtic. It is believed to have a root meaning along the lines of “lifting up the voice.”

Many ancient cultures, not just the Celts, had people who would recite oral poetry, sometimes sung, telling stories to entertain audiences of listeners (Homer, the author of the Odyssey and the Iliad, is a classic example). We now refer to these people as “bards,” even though that’s not what they would have been called at the time.

William Shakespeare, who died 400 years ago today, is sometimes referred to simply as “the Bard.”

 

4/16/16

Fiscal

adj. 1. Relating to money, especially the money of a government or business.

 

Tax season tends to get people thinking about fiscal matters.

It comes from Latin fiscus, a purse or basket where money was kept, eventually referring more generally to the state treasury. Often heard in the phrases “fiscal year,” marking the calendar dates when finance records begin and end, and “fiscal responsibility,” something politicians often claim to stand for.

“With great fiscal power comes great fiscal responsibility.”

4/14/16

Nascent

(ˈnā-sənt)

adj. 1. Beginning to exist; recently born or come into being

2. Immature; still growing or developing

 

“This nascent blog has been going for just over a month.”

 

From Latin nasci, “to be born.” This root word gave birth to a number of other words as well, including ‘innate’ (for a quality or ability that you are born with) and ‘renaissance’ (a revival, or rebirth), along with more common words like ‘native’ and ‘nation.’ True story; I know better than to try to trick you readers. After all, you weren’t born yesterday.

4/13/16

Sporadic

(spə-ˈra-dik)

adj. 1. Occurring occasionally, at intervals or random times.

“It would behoove WordADay.org to become less sporadic, lest its appellation become a misnomer.”

 

From Latin sporadicus, from Greek sporadikos, from sporas, meaning “scattered, dispersed.” Related to the word ‘spore,’ as in a plant’s seeds that get scattered around.

4/8/16

Blithe

adj. 1. Happy and without worry.

2. Without due thought or consideration.

(blīth’)

 

“Are you aware the man you’re blithely escorting around our building has a documented history of savage violence against robots?”

“I don’t know what ‘blithely’ means, but I’m gonna go get some coffee.”
-I, Robot

 

From Old English bliþe (kind, cheerful, pleasant), possibly from a root word meaning “to shine.” (That funny letter ‘þ‘ is pronounced ‘th’, by þe way.)

Don’t worry; be blithe.

4/6/16

Loiter

(lȯi’-tər)

v. 1. To be idle.

2. To remain in an area with for no obvious reason.

 

“It’s called loitering, which is like littering with human beings as the trash.”                          -Neal Shusterman

 

Comes from Middle Dutch loteren “to be loose or erratic,” as in something moving about randomly, although nowadays it brings to mind someone staying put randomly. Often seen being prohibited on signs outside your local corner store, but you’re welcome to loiter here on this page as long as you like.

4/3/16

Hiatus

(hī-ā’-təs)

n. 1. An opening or hole in a physical object, or a gap in a series

2. A gap in a series

3. A break; a period of time in which a certain activity is suspended

“WordADay.org recently returned from its hiatus, and was met with international acclaim.” –WordADay.org

 

Hiatus comes straight out of Latin, where it primarily meant a physical opening or break of some kind (now it usually has a more figurative meaning). It’s believed to have an even older Indo-European root ghai-, meaning “to yawn.”

 

Thank you, dear readers, for waiting patiently while wordaday was on hiatus. I know most of you are very understanding in these matters. Naturally, some won’t be, but what can you do? Hiatus gonna hiate.