Category Archives: WOTD – English

We like to learn English words too…

E-WOTD: Cuckold

n. A man married to an unfaithful wife.
tr.v. cuck·old·ed, cuck·old·ing, cuck·olds
To make a cuckold of.

[Middle English cokewald, from Anglo-Norman *cucuald, from cucu, the cuckoo, from Vulgar Latin *cucclus, from Latin cuclus.]
Word History: The allusion to the cuckoo on which the word cuckold is based may not be appreciated by those unfamiliar with the nesting habits of certain varieties of this bird. The female of some Old World cuckoos lays its eggs in the nests of other birds, leaving them to be cared for by the resident nesters. This parasitic tendency has given the female bird a figurative reputation for unfaithfulness as well. Hence in Old French we find the word cucuault, composed of cocu, “cuckoo, cuckold,” and the pejorative suffix -ald and used to designate a husband whose wife has wandered afield like the female cuckoo. An earlier assumed form of the Old French word was borrowed into Middle English by way of Anglo-Norman. Middle English cokewold, the ancestor of Modern English cuckold, is first recorded in a work written around 1250.

What a great word…

E-WOTD: Self-aggrandizing

1. To increase the scope of; extend.
2. To make greater in power, influence, stature, or reputation.
3. To make appear greater; exaggerate
Seriously, I think personal blogs are one of the most self-aggrandizing activities of our generation. More so than MySpace. With MySpace, you are at least not pretending that anyone cares about you beyond looking at that hot picture of you covered in nothing but whipped cream. With a personal blog, you are pretending that people care enough about you to read your random musings about a random selection of stuff that’s going on.

E-WOTD: Paucity

“The presence of something only in small or insufficient quantities or amounts”; “scarcity”
Example: A paucity of information.

Actually I found it in this excerpt in some newspaper on “Americans and Soccer”:

There are various theories why Americans, almost alone in the sporting world, still don’t “get” a game that elsewhere can make or break governments, economies and even people’s lives. The psycho-sociological view is that, accustomed to instant and repeated gratification, Americans are bored by the relative paucity of shots, the long gaps between goals, the “ties”. As one sports commentator put it, they find football “like Swiss cheese: flavourless”.

The geo-political view is that Americans are not just parochial – is there any greater sporting misnomer than “World Series” baseball? – but also imperialist. Losing at something the rest of the world takes so seriously makes them feel insecure.

E-WOTD: Non sequitur

A conclusion or statement that does not logically follow from the previous argument or statement.
Politicians, and people trying to avoid the main subject commonly use non sequiturs.
Latin: literally ‘it does not follow.’
Example: “Is XYZ constitutional?” and the answer is “Well, polls show that most people favor XYZ. In a recent study, in fact, 87% of respondents support XYZ.”

E-WOTD: Obfuscate

1. render obscure, unclear, or unintelligible : the spelling changes will deform some familiar words and obfuscate their etymological origins.
2. bewilder (someone) : it is more likely to obfuscate people than enlighten them.
– The obfuscation of the plain truth is often justified by asserting that the lie is serving a greater good.