boggle

Word of the Day

boggle

Pronunciation /ˈbɒɡ(ə)l/
verb
[no object]
1 informal (of a person or their mind) be astonished or baffled when trying to imagine something.
1.1 with object Cause (a person or their mind) to be astonished.
1.2 boggle at(of a person) hesitate to do or accept.

Origin
Late 16th century probably of dialect origin and related to bogle and bogey.

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While it may boggle your mind, Bob was not frightened by the prospect of seeing the junior ghosts, ghouls, bogles and vampires who appeared at his door each Halloween.

summon

Word of the Day

summon

Pronunciation /ˈsʌmən/
verb
[with object]
1 Order (someone) to be present.
1.1 Authoritatively call on (someone) to be present as a defendant or witness in a law court.
1.2 Urgently demand (help)
1.3 Call people to attend (a meeting)
2 Make an effort to produce (a particular quality or reaction) from within oneself.
2.1 summon something up Call an image to mind.

Origin
Middle English from Old French somondre, from Latin summonere ‘give a hint’, later ‘call, summon’, from sub- ‘secretly’ + monere ‘warn’.

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Lexico proffered “propitious” today,
And, while that might seem to be okay.
After all is said and done,
With that word we’ve long since had our fun.

So off we go to find some other.
Summon courage; all fear, please smother.
Take good advice from your dear mother.
“Bob, go off and ask your brother!”

barrier

Word of the Day

barrier

Pronunciation /ˈbarɪə/
noun
1 A fence or other obstacle that prevents movement or access.
1.1 British A gate at a car park or railway station that controls access by being raised or lowered.
1.2 A circumstance or obstacle that keeps people or things apart or prevents communication or progress.

Origin
Late Middle English (denoting a palisade or fortification defending an entrance): from Old French barriere, of unknown origin; related to barre.

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Keeping high speed traffic on major highways safely separated is the job of carefully designed concrete barriers.

These barriers were once poured in place, but because they were also found to be very effective in temporary installations, they have been frequently implemented as linked, portable, modules during major highway construction or repair. They are known as K-Rail barriers and Jersey Barriers, though I’m told by a resident of New Jersey, USA, (where the state’s department of transportation directed much of their development in the 1950s) that she has only heard “Jersey barriers” outside of New Jersey. In the UK, they are called concrete step barriers.

gestalt

Word of the Day

gestalt

Pronunciation
/ɡəˈʃtɑːlt/ /ɡəˈʃtalt/
noun
Psychology
An organized whole that is perceived as more than the sum of its parts.

Origin
1920s from German Gestalt, literally ‘form, shape’.

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In a flash of recognition, a moment of gestalt, Joe realized he had met her long ago.

destrier

Word of the Day

destrier

Pronunciation
destrier
/ˈdɛstrɪə/ /dɛˈstriːə/
noun
A medieval knight’s warhorse.

Origin
Middle English from Old French, based on Latin dextera ‘the right hand’, from dexter ‘on the right’ (because the squire led the knight’s horse with his right hand).

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The medieval knight was expected to provide his own equipage, a destrier warhorse, at least a palfrey for his squire and a packhorse for necessities.

[In spite of the fanciful illustration, there is no evidence that knights actually wore their armor or carried a long jousting lance while on the way to the ground where a battle would take place.]

Bohemic

Word of the Day

Bohemic

Pronunciation /bə(ʊ)ˈhiːmɪk/
adjective
Usually with lower-case initial. Socially unconventional in a way regarded as characteristic of creative artists; belonging to or characteristic of a bohemian; = “Bohemian”.

Origin
Early 17th century (in an earlier sense). From post-classical Latin Bohemicus of or relating to Bohemia, Hussite from Bohemia, the name of a region and formerly a kingdom in central Europe + -icus.

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It was never Cal’s intention to live a bohemic lifestyle. Looking back, he felt, “it just happened.”

horripilation

Word of the Day

horripilation

Pronunciation /hɒˌrɪpɪˈleɪʃ(ə)n/
noun
mass noun literary
The erection of hairs on the skin due to cold, fear, or excitement.
count noun ‘a horripilation of dread tingled down my spine’

Origin
Mid 17th century from late Latin horripilatio(n-), from Latin horrere ‘stand on end’ (see horrid) + pilus ‘hair’.

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You may imagine Fran’s horripilation at the prospect of standing on the narrow, icy balcony. In fact, you must imagine it. She’s wearing winter clothes.

I wonder what’s going on with that one lazy hair.