Friday, 22 August 2008

A.W.A.D. - Real World Words

A.Word.A.Day subscribers read this newsletter for many different reasons. For some, it's the joy of learning fascinating stories about the origins of words (their etymologies). For others, it's discovering unusual words, whether it's their meanings or sounds or spelling.

Many, especially students, read it to increase their vocabulary for one of the many standardized tests or for personal enrichment. Those readers sometimes write back to say, "OK, so this word resistentialism is interesting, but I'd like to see words that I can use more often in my daily life."

Each word featured in AWAD includes examples taken from newspapers, magazines, and books to illustrate it and to show that it has been used in the real world.

Still, we take their point. This week we present words you might encounter in your next test.

loquacious
PRONUNCIATION: (lo-KWAY-shuhs)
MEANING: adjective: Talkative; wordy.

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin loqui (to speak). The word loquacious has a negative sense, but a positive word to come out of the same Latin root is eloquent.

austral
PRONUNCIATION: (O-struhl)
MEANING: adjective: Southern.

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin auster (south). That's why Australia is so named, but that does not apply to Austria, in central Europe. Austria's name is a Latinized form of its German name Österreich (eastern empire, referring to the eastern boundary of the Frankish Empire at one time).

nugacity
PRONUNCIATION: (noo-GAS-i-tee, nyoo-)
MEANING: noun: Triviality; futility.

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin nugax (trifling), from nugari (to trifle).

epiphenomenon
PRONUNCIATION: (ep-i-fuh-NOM-uh-non, nuhn)
MEANING: noun: 1. A secondary phenomenon, one resulting from another. 2. An additional symptom appearing during the course of an illness, but not necessarily related to it.

ETYMOLOGY: From Greek epi- (upon, after, over) + phainomenon (that which appears), from phainesthai (to appear).

fugacious
PRONUNCIATION: (fyoo-GAY-shuhs)
MEANING: Lasting a very short time.

ETYMOLOGY: From Latin fugere (to flee) which also gave us other words such as fugitive, centrifugal, refuge, and subterfuge.

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