Tag Archives: thesaurus

Word of the Week – May 28, 2022

Habile

[HA-bəl]

Adjective

Latin, 15th century

Deft; skillful.

In Latin, “habilis” means something is easily handled. The French word habile means skillful, and we kept that definition in Middle English as well.  Able is the more common word today, but habile remains a particularly skillful word.  In today’s parlance, you’re more likely to use the word able rather than habile.  The pronunciations are somewhat similar, and the meanings are close.  Able implies you have at least the basic ability to do something.  But to be habile is to be quite talented.

Example: I had to explain my habile approach to composing documentation for software development to the project manager.

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Word of the Week – May 21, 2022

Metanoia

[me-tə-noi-ə]

Noun

Greek, late 19th century

A transformational change in one’s way of life; a change resulting from repentance and spiritual awareness

Metanoia has sometimes been personified throughout history as a shadowy goddess cloaked in sadness.  She was accompanied by Opportunity, and was known to cause regret for having missed important moments.  Metanoia literally translates to “afterthought.”  The ending -noia has long been associated with thought, as it is in “paranoia,” which are thoughts that don’t reflect reality.

Example: I experienced a moment of metanoia when I decided my opinion of myself mattered more than that of others.

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Word of the Week – May 14, 2022

Parol

[pə-ROL]

Adjective

Old French, 15th century

Given or expressed orally; (of a document) agreed orally, or in writing but not under seal.

“Parol” is borrowed from the Old French “parole,” meaning spoken words.  (In modern French, the plural “paroles” refers to song lyrics.)  Both are based on the Latin “parabola,” which is the basis for the English term “parable,” an allegorical tale. In English, “parole” means the release of a prisoner temporarily, or on promise of good behavior.  These arrangements are now recorded in writing, but the Old French root “parole” literally means “word.”  Dropping the “e,” “parol” is used in the legal context to distinguish information delivered orally rather than in sealed, official writing.

Example: I described much of my previous work experience parol, while on a Zoom conference.

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Word of the Week – May 7, 2022

Monopsony

[mə-NAHP-sə-nee]

Noun

Greek, 1930s

Economics – a market situation in which there is only one buyer.  From the Greek suffix “mono” meaning “one” and the Greek “opsōnein,” meaning “buy provisions.”  Monopsony can be easily mistaken with “monopoly,” but they have somewhat inverse definitions.  While a “monopsony” is a fiscal condition in which there is only one buyer of a good or service, a “monopoly” is a situation in which there is only one producer of a good or service.  Economic theory proposes that monopsonies can lead to lower wages for workers because they are paid less than their marginal revenue product.

Example: Elon Musk’s recent purchase of Twitter is proof the ultra-rich have been granted a monopsony over the media by the U.S. Congress.

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Word of the Week – April 30, 2022

Pervicacity

[per-vi-KA-si-tee]

Noun

Latin, 17th century

The quality or state of being pervicacious. Obstinacy; stubbornness; willfulness; from the Latin “pervicacitas,” meaning obstinacy.

Example: My individual pervicacity compels me to write, no matter my circumstances.

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Word of the Week – April 23, 2022

Eidetic

[i-DED-ik]

Adjective

Greek, 1920s

Relating to or denoting mental images having unusual vividness and detail, as if actually visible.  Though based on the Ancient Greek “εἰδητικός” (meaning “constituting an appearance”), the word was only coined in the early 1900s by German psychologist Erich Rudolf Jaensch who used the term “eidetisch” to describe the particular precision of mental images that were different from and far clearer than regular memories.

“Eidetic” is often used interchangeably with “photographic” to describe the capacity for incredibly detailed and precise memories, but there is a difference between the two terms.  Photographic memory usually describes the ability to recall detailed information (including texts and numbers), while “eidetic memory” describes an ability to maintain a vivid picture of something after it is gone, even experiencing a feeling of the image still being present.

Example: Memories of my recently-departed friend have been occurring with eidetic clarity.

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Word of the Week – April 16, 2022

Noetic [no-ED-ik]

Adjective

Greek, 17th century

(Formal) Relating to mental activity or the intellect.  Stems from the Greek “noētikos,” from “noētos,” meaning “intellectual”, which comes from “noein,” meaning “perceive.”  The Institute of Noetic Sciences is a nonprofit research center in Petaluma, California. Former astronaut Edgar Mitchell co-founded the center in 1973 after claiming he entered a meditative trance upon his return to Earth after the Apollo 14 moon landing.  He also said he conducted ESP experiments with earthbound friends during spaceflight. The institute conducts research on topics like consciousness-based healthcare, spontaneous remission, survival of consciousness after bodily death, psychokinesis, and alternative healing practices.

Example: I normally want to deal only with people who express a noetic sense of confidence.

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Word of the Week – April 9, 2022

Noumenon

Noun

Greek, 18th century

A thing as it is in itself, as distinct from a thing as it is knowable by the senses through phenomenal attributes (in Kantian philosophy). “Noumenon” is based on the Greek “νοούμενον,” meaning “something that is conceived with the mind.” This was in direct contrast to “phenomenon,” which came from the Greek “φαινόμενον,” meaning “that which appears visibly.”

German philosopher Immanuel Kant coined the word “noumenon” (and the plural “noumena”) in 1783 in an effort to describe things occurring outside of appearances visible to human beings. “Noumenon” describes a transcendental thing too great to be fully conceived with limited human capacities. Kant used the word in direct contrast to “phenomenon,” which is a fact or event perceptible to humans through their senses.

Example: My unique views on life manifest themselves as the noumenon of my stories.

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Word of the Week – April 2, 2022

Adjure

[ə-DJUR]

Verb

Middle English, 14th century

Urge or request (someone) solemnly or earnestly to do something.  Stems from late Middle English via the Latin “adjurare,” from “ad-” meaning “to” plus “jurare” “swear” (from jus, jur- ‘oath’).

Example: I often have to adjure myself to finish working on my latest novel.

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Word of the Week – March 26, 2022

Enchiridion [eng-kə-RID-ee-ən]

Noun

Greek, 16th century

A book containing essential information on a subject.  The ancient Greek ἐγχειρίδιος means “fitting in the hand”.  An “enchiridion” came into English in the 16th century as a portable, hand-sized guidebook.  The modern handbook has its roots in the enchiridion (related to the Greek word for “hand”), traditionally a small, portable manual widely used from early Greece through to the 19th century. Enchiridons were designed to keep useful information near at hand, including religious teachings, ethical advice, the rules of poetry, guidance for soldiers, and means of understanding the law.

Example: My decades of personal journals comprise an enchiridion of my ambitions, hopes and fears.

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