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sycophant [Jan. 4th, 2004|04:32 am]

Word of the Day for Sunday January 4, 2004

sycophant \SIK-uh-fuhnt\, noun:
A person who seeks favor by flattering people of wealth or
influence; a parasite; a toady.

The praise Oxford received as a poet may simply have issued
from the mouths of sycophants hungry for patronage.
--Howard Chua-Eoan and Helen Gibson, "The Bard's Beard?"
[1]Time, February 15, 1999

Friendship with the son and daughter-in-law of an
imprisoned Supreme Court justice afforded me a special
pipeline into high-level Ghanaian gossip about the alarming
psychological condition of the head of state, said
alternately to be suffering from delusions of grandeur fed
by sycophants or to be reduced to quivering agoraphobia
after the attempts on his life.
--David Levering Lewis, "Ghana, 1963," The American
Scholar, Winter 1999

Sycophant derives from Greek sukophantes, "an accuser
(especially a false accuser) or rogue," from sukon, "fig" +
phantes, "one who shows," from phainein, "to show."
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surly [Jan. 2nd, 2004|04:39 pm]

Word of the Day for Friday January 2, 2004

surly \SUR-lee\, adjective:
1. Ill-humored; churlish in manner or mood; sullen and gruff.
2. Menacing or threatening in appearance, as of weather
conditions; ominous.

Voters may be turned off by candidates who play dirty, but
nothing gets a campaign reporter going like the smell of
blood on the trail. Part of it has to do with boredom:
journalists can only listen for so long to a candidate
blather on about "a world of possibilities guided by
goodness" before they get surly.
--Michelle Cottle, "Nice Try," [1]New Republic, February
14, 2000

Maggie drank a little too much and got surly and made snide
comments during the final toast.
--John L'Heureux, [2]Having Everything

Surly is from Middle English sirly, "lordly," from sir,
"lord," which eventually came to mean "arrogant or haughty,"
whence the more negative modern sense.
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vivify [Jan. 3rd, 2004|04:36 pm]

Word of the Day for Saturday January 3, 2004

vivify \VIV-uh-fy\, transitive verb:
1. To endue with life; to make alive; to animate.
2. To make more lively or intense.

Can the writer isolate and vivify all in experience that
most deeply engages our intellects and our hearts?
--Annie Dillard, "Write Till You Drop," [1]New York Times,
May 28, 1989

Stories not only provide context for statistical statements
but can illustrate and vivify them as well.
--John Allen Paulos, [2]Once Upon a Number

Vivify comes from French vivifier, from Late Latin vivificare,
from Latin vivus, "alive."
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first post w/the first word for our first word of the day thingy [Dec. 29th, 2003|03:17 am]

[mood |& tired]
[music |silence]

I am making this community for people who would like to expand their vocabulary. Not many rules, but the ones that do exist will be posted on the profile page of this site. I'm hoping that you will reply with 'the word of the day' and continue to do so. There may be a prize in the works!! first word up:

Word of the Day for Sunday December 28, 2003

expunge \ik-SPUNJ\, transitive verb:
1. To strike out, erase, or mark for deletion; to obliterate;
as, "to expunge words, lines, or sentences."
2. To wipe out or destroy; to annihilate.

And when the Russian moon program was finally abandoned,
the Kremlin spent considerable effort to expunge it from
--Bill Keller, "Eclipsed," [1]New York Times Magazine, June
27, 1999

Not only were new data added, but over the centuries old
errors were expunged.
--Stephen J. Pyne, [2]How the Canyon Became Grand

All one wants for this exceptional woman is that she be
granted 10,000 joys to expunge all the sorrows that have
been her life's companion.
--Penny Perrick, "A non-person's odyssey," [3]Times
(London), May 6, 2000

Expunge is from Latin expungere, "to prick out, to mark (with
dots) for deletion," from ex-, "out of, from" + pungere, "to

Synonyms: annihilate, cancel, destroy, efface, erase,
obliterate, strike out. Find more at [4]Thesaurus.com.
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