In music, this type of “leaning” appoggiatura clashes with the melody just enough to create dissonance, then a soft resolution. It is famous for its ability to give you goosebumps: imagine Gustav Mahler’s Fifth Symphonyor the opening of Adele’s”Someone like you.”
The word is derived from “appoggiare”, an Italian verb meaning “to lean”, which in turn comes from the Greek root “pod”, which means “feet”, as well as “podium”, “pedestal” and “podiatrist”. – support providers.
Hundreds of Italian loanwords exist in English, especially in areas like classical music or haute cuisine.
This term was the winning word of the Scripps Bee in 2005, won by the 13-year-old Anurag Kashyapwho said he felt “pure bliss” when he recited that victorious final “a” – tension, then release.
In the early 1990s, British psychologist John Sloboda asked music aficionados to think of their favorite musical moments. Of the 20 sentences identified, 18 included appoggiatura.
This whimsical adjective meaning “utopian” is derived from a nonsensical noun which is an anagram of “nowhere”.
The name is the title of an 1872 novel by Samuel Butler. Satirizing Victorian society, the British author concocted the word to describe a fantasy land that deifies physical health and treats illness as a criminal offence.
The word rose from literary obscurity to popular lexicon thanks in large part to a Southern California grocery chain whose name also comes from the Butler book. This store has developed almost next worship for its $22 almond butter and its smoothie collab with Hailey Bieber.
How does a fictional niche reference become a “real” word? Often it’s when the term “speaks to a pocket of experience that people previously lacked in the language,” said Yee-Lum Mak, rhetorician and author of “Other-Wordly.”
Not all corners of American culture crave a phrase meaning “welfare utopia,” but for a certain dialect of Los Angeles English, “Erewhonian” fills a lexical void.
This adjective denotes deception. It emerged in the early 17th century through a few Latin variations, all related to foxes or their cunning qualities.
When Swedish botanist (and homo sapiens) Carl Linnaeus invented the binomial nomenclature system for classifying organisms in 1735, he used the Latin root of this word “vulpes” as the genus for “true foxes”.
Many early books on biology and medicine were written in Latin. Much of this terminology has been preserved (think “larva” or “rhinoplasty”), which is why scientists sometimes sound like they speak a foreign language: they are.
This word shares its foxy root with the Pokémon character name Vulpix, a squash-colored fox with a bushy tail and fiery superpowers.
And if you’re a fan of The Times’ own Spelling Bee game, you might remember “vulpine” as the pangram for April 23, 2023.
In astronomy, it is when three or more celestial bodies configure themselves in a perfect line (the Earth, the sun and the moon during a solar eclipse, for example). But in poetry, it describes a kind of repetition of consonants – like alliteration, but not limited to word onsets – or merging of words for rhythmic effect.
The shortest English word with three y’s is most likely a compound of the Greek prefix “syn-“, meaning “with”, and “zygon”, meaning “yoke”.
The “zygote”, the product of the meeting of two reproductive cells, and the “zygomatic bone”, aka the cheekbone, also descend from “zygon”.
But among the best spellers, “syzygy” is prized for its uniqueness: it’s one of those odd English words that’s almost impossible to spell if you don’t already know it.
Defined by Merriam-Webster like “careless writing: a coarse or illegible squiggle”, this word is a semantic cousin of “graffiti”.
Entering English via the French verb “griffonner”, meaning “to scribble”, its Middle French ancestors included “grifouner” (to scribble), “griffon” (stiletto), and the suffix “-age” (meaning “the act of”, as in “guardianship” or “sabotage”).
“That word reminds me of a griffin trying to hold a pen and struggling,” said rhetorician Ms Mak, referring to the Greek mythological creature with the head and wings of an eagle and the body of an eagle. ‘a lion. The two terms are perhaps not entirely unrelated: “Griffe” is the French word for “claw”, and writing with talons seems tricky.
Yet, as charming as the word itself may sound, doodling can have deadly consequences.
“It’s a fun example of a word that accurately describes itself,” said Evan O’Dorney, the 2007 Scripps Champion. It’s a piece of goofy invented language whose definition is “goofy invented language” – a nonsense word meaning “absurd words”.
Lewis Carroll coined the term for his 1871 novel “Through the Looking-Glass”; it appears in a poem full of polysyllabic fantasy about a fearsome serpentine beast.
It is technically a nonce word: a lexical item invented for a one-time use, for a special occasion (and which may or may not eventually find its way to the everyday English table).
Carroll’s nuncio legacy is illustrious. In addition to this word, we also have him to thank for coining the noun “snark” and the verb “chuckle”.
There’s something about this playful term which seems to suggest its definition: a pell-mell mixture. Synonyms include “ragbag” and “mishmash”.
Its earliest variants referred specifically to food: a stew consisting of meat, vegetables, and other miscellaneous ingredients. A medieval recipe called for ground goose, wine, water, onions and herbs.
In Middle English, the word was spelled “hochepoche”, derived from the root “hotch” meaning “to shake”.
“Hodgepodge” is also closely related to a legal term, which dates back to the 13th century and comes up frequently when dealing with wills, trusts and divorces.
In inheritance law, this linguistic cousin, “hotchpot”, means “mixing of properties” and refers to the process of combining and redistributing properties so that all beneficiaries receive their fair share – a bit like preparing a stew, but with a lot more paperwork.
A flamboyant style of art and decoration, born out of the French Baroque movement of the 17th century (the Palace of Versailles is a perfect example), but incorporating more asymmetry and a softer, pastel palette.
The word may sound Italian, but it actually comes from the French “rocaille”, which means “rock” or “shell” and describes the sumptuous botanical decoration which was used (to excess, some might say) in parts of Europe in the 1700s.
Since the 19th century, English talkers have used the term to mean ‘dated’ or ‘unfashionable’, its humorous phonetic bounce poking fun at the bygone aesthetic.
It appears in the title and chorus of a 2010 Arcade Fire song, which begins “Let’s go downtown and watch the modern kids” and continues “Using big words they don’t understand”.
A verb meaning to produce a long, oscillating cry that can signal a range of powerful emotions, from grief to ecstasy.
Just like an onomatopoeia, it is a word whose sound reflects its content. “It’s one of those great imitative terms in English, like ‘tintinnabulation,’ a tinkling sound, and ‘borborygmus,’ an intestinal gurgling,” said lexicographer Kory Stamper.
Vocalization features in cultural celebrations around the world, including Jewish Mizrahi henna ceremonies, Hindu temple rituals, and weddings in the Middle East and North Africa, where it is often produced by women in the form of a high-pitched and joyful “Lililili”!
It also appears as a hunting signal in the 1954 novel “Lord of the Flies” and as a chilling battle cry in the 1962 film “Lawrence of Arabia”.
And in 2022, when Morocco’s men’s football team qualified for the semi-finals of the World Cup, you could hear people screaming with joy all over the world, from the streets of Casablanca to the stadium in Qatar.
From the Yiddish term for “block of wood”, this word was brought to the United States by Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, and by the mid-20th century had become common American slang, along with other loanwords delicious, including “schmuck”, “schlep”, “mensch” and “oy vey”.
The Center for Applied Linguistics estimates that before the Holocaust around 11 million people spoke Yiddish worldwide. Today, less than a million people speak it, a tiny fraction of them as their mother tongue.
Percussive and monosyllabic, this term is phonetically as fun to say as a dirty word. And while it’s technically an insult to a clumsy person (some kind of “asshole”), it’s more endearing than vulgar.
Children of the 1990s might remember the publishing house named after that word, which combined colorful craftsmanship with practical books on subjects as varied as the cat’s cradle, magic and the blues harmonica.
As the bees say, “klutz” is quite common. But in general, K-words are among the most difficult to spell, according to competitors. “In our experience, G’s, K’s and M’s have the highest concentration of zingers,” said Evan O’Dorney, the former Scripps champion.