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again

Nov. 2nd, 2018 | 08:46 am

again (uh-GEN, uh-GAIN) - adv., once more, another time, in addition; back (to a former state or place).


This is an old one, going back to Old English forms āġēan/onġēan/onġeġn, with the range of senses of towards/against/opposite to/contrary to/against/in exchange for/opposite/back/again/anew/also, compounded from on-, on + -gegn against/toward -- a sense that has sort of survived in the construction "but then again $contrary". (At the time, the sense of "another time" was carried by eft, as in eftsoons.)

---L.

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hereabout

Nov. 1st, 2018 | 07:53 am

hereabout or hereabouts (HEER-uh-bout) - adv., in this general vicinity, close, nearby.


Either form acceptable, though without -s was first, with an original meaning (c. 1200) of "about this" in the sense of "in regard to this matter" though the current sense quickly developed. As you might expect, it was coined from here + about, and yes there is a thereabout and a whereabout.

---L.

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thither

Oct. 31st, 2018 | 08:56 am

thither (THI-thuhr) - adv., towards that place, in that direction.


As opposed to hither, towards this place. A better parallel is thither:there :: hither:here. Not to be confused with yon.

---L.

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clockwise

Oct. 30th, 2018 | 07:48 am

clockwise (KLOK-waiz) - adv., & adj., in the same direction as the hands on a clock.


A circlular motion that, when viewed face-on the circle, goes in the direction of top > right > bottom > left sides.

Clockwise is this-a-way
Thanks, WikiMedia!

Contrast with anticlockwise, counterclockwise, and widdershins. Surprisingly, this wasn't coined until the 1880s, though clocks (and this motion) existed for centuries before. The -wise suffix denotes in the way or manner of $stem.

---L.

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piecemeal

Oct. 29th, 2018 | 07:49 am

Theme week: adverbs that are not -ly forms. Which we'll take on one bit at a time:


piecemeal (PEES-meel) - adv., piece by piece, one piece at a time.


One of several -meal adverbs, which suffix means one $stem at a time -- others include flockmeal, heapmeal, inchmeal, pagemeal, stepmeal, and wordmeal. (Meal itself in the sense of eating at a set time is from this same sense.) This particular form first appeared in the 13th century as pece mele, replacing the Old English form styccemǣlum (from stycce, a piece).

---L.

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blandiose

Oct. 26th, 2018 | 07:56 am

blandiose (BLAN-dee-ohs) - adj., striving to be impressive but turning out bland or unoriginal; both pompous and boring.


Or per Wiktionary's definition, simultaneously dull and overblown, which might be a better way of putting it. A blend of bland +‎ grandiose.

---L.

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ogham

Oct. 25th, 2018 | 07:50 am

ogham (OH-uhm, AW-guhm) - n., an alphabetic script used for Primitive Irish and related Celtic languages; any of the 20 letters of this script; any writing in this script.


The letterforms are one or more strokes (for consonants) or notches (for vowels) cut on or across a central line on a stone or piece of wood -- said line could be cut itself or a corner could be used. The name is from Irish, but its origin is unknown. An example from the Isle of Man -- it reads BIVAIDONAS MAQI MUCOI CUNAVA[LI], or in English, "Of Bivaidonas, son of the tribe Cunava[li]"

Ogham
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---L.

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moai

Oct. 23rd, 2018 | 07:40 am

moai (MOH-ai) - n., a large carved stone statue on Easter Island.


Monolithic stone human figures with oversized heads, representing deified ancestors. From the Rapa Nui (the Polynesian peoples of Easter Island) name, literally statue/figurine.

Three moai in various states of repose
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---L.

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tombolo

Oct. 22nd, 2018 | 07:46 am

tombolo (TOM-buh-loh) - n., a sand bar that connects an island to the mainland.


Or to another island -- the word isn't picky. Sometimes it's a shingle bar, if that's what's available to the wave action. From Italian, from Latin tumulus, mound. A tombolo connecting a small islet to Shōdo Island, Japan.

An angel road
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---L.

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scup

Oct. 19th, 2018 | 07:52 am

scup (SKUP) - n., a porgy (Stenotomus chrysops) of the North Atlantic coast of North America with a compressed body and high back.


Fished commercially and recreationally. From Narraganset mishcùp, from mishe, big + kuppe, close together, from the form of the scales.

Scup illustration
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---L.

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