Idiopathic is a medical term which is used to describe a condition which has no known cause. When a patient’s case is described as idiopathic, it means that the doctor does not know what caused the condition. This can be problematic, since sometimes identifying the cause of a condition is part of the process of finding an appropriate treatment. Idiopathic conditions can also be very frustrating for medical personnel, as lack of understanding about a cause makes it hard to prevent recurrence of the condition or future cases in other patients.
The term comes from the Greek words idios, or “one’s own,” and pathos, or suffering
adjective: shining brilliantly : characterized by a glowing splendor
All eyes were drawn to the beautiful young woman—resplendent in an elegant evening gown—who had just appeared at the top of the stairway.
“On a dazzling Saturday afternoon, splashed with resplendent sunshine after too many cool gray days of rain, I slowly picked my way through the hordes of tourists….” — From an article by Kaelen Wilson-Goldie in Artforum, June 8, 2013
Did you know?
“Resplendent” has a lot in common with “splendid” (meaning “shining” or “brilliant”), “splendent” (“shining” or “glossy”), and “splendor” (“brightness” or “luster”). Each of those glowing terms gets its shine from the Latin verb “splendēre” (“to shine”). Etymologists believe “splendēre” might also be related to Middle Irish “lainn,” meaning “bright.” “Splendent,” “splendor,” and “resplendent” first showed their lustrous senses in English during the 15th century, but “splendid” didn’t light up our language until over 175 years later; its earliest known use dates from 1624.
Word of the Day
being of such a nature that one part or quantity may be replaced by another equal part or quantity in the satisfaction of an obligation
Since fruits and vegetables are regarded as fungible in this diet, you are allowed a total of five servings of either or both.
“Oil is a fungible commodity and its prices are determined in the global market.” — From an article by Gal Luft in The Wichita Eagle (Kansas), May 30, 2013
“Fungible”—which derives from the Latin verb “fungi,” meaning “to perform” (no relation to the noun “fungus” and its plural “fungi”)—is a word that often shows up in legal and political contexts. Something fungible can be exchanged for something else of the same kind. For example, when we say “oil is a fungible commodity,” we mean that when a purchaser is expecting a delivery of oil, any oil of the stipulated quantity and quality will usually do. Another example of something fungible is cash. It doesn’t matter what twenty dollar bill you get — it’s still worth the same amount as any other twenty dollar bill. In contrast, something like a painting isn’t fungible; a purchaser would expect a specific, identifiable item to be delivered. In broader use, “fungible” can mean “interchangeable” or sometimes “changeable, fluid, or malleable.”
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:marked by overwrought or exaggerated emotion
The group’s leaders have done little to distance themselves from the actions of their angrier and more perfervid followers.
“Biron has struggled to make the Dostoevsky apartment a center for the perpetual and perfervid enthusiasm for the author that animates Russians.” — From an article by Philip Kennicott inThe Washington Post, October 21, 2012
The adjectives “fervent,” “fervid,” and “perfervid” all derive from the Latin verb “fervēre,” meaning “to boil,” and suggest a bubbling up of intense feeling. “Fervent” was the first to enter the English language in the 14th century. It stresses sincerity and steadiness of emotional warmth and zeal, as in “Her colleagues expressed fervent good wishes.” The next to emerge was “fervid” in the late 16th century. It too suggests warmth but adds an element of spontaneity and feverishness. A lover might write a fervid billet-doux to his beloved, for example. With its first known appearance in print dating back only to 1833, “perfervid” is a relative newcomer to English, but it implies the most extreme or exaggerated expression of emotion. Its intensity comes from “per-,” a prefix meaning “thoroughly.”
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Peccant, ( \PEK-unt\ ), adjective
1 :guilty of a moral offense : sinning
2 :violating a principle or rule : faulty
Examples: Outside the confessional stood a short line of peccant parishioners waiting to seek redemption for their sins.
“His own translation of Heinrich Heine’s ‘A Woman’ features a naughtily misbehaving protagonist and herpeccant boyfriend….” — From a review by Benjamin Ivry in The Forward, April 27, 2012
Sponsored Link “Peccant” comes from the Latin verb “peccare,” which means “to sin,” “to commit a fault,” or “to stumble,” and is related to the better-known English word “peccadillo” (“a slight offense”). Etymologists have suggested that “peccare” might be related to Latin “ped-” or “pes,” meaning “foot,” by way of an unattested adjective, “peccus,” which may have been used to mean “having an injured foot” or “stumbling. “Whether or not a connection truly exists between “peccant” and “peccus,” “peccant” itself involves stumbling of a figurative kind—making errors, for example, or falling stumbling.” Whether or not a connection truly exists between “peccant” and “peccus,” “peccant” itself involves stumbling of a figurative kind—making errors, for example, or falling into immoral, corrupt, or sinful behavior.
: lift, raise; especially
: to raise into position by or as if by means of tackle
Bethany was selected by her Girl Scout troop to hoise the American flag for Monday’s Memorial Day ceremony on the town green. “In order for [New England Patriot’s quarterback Tom] Brady to play a great game, which is a must if the Pats want to hoise the Lombardi Trophy, he needs to stay upright.” — From an article by Nick Curcuru and Michael Muldoon in the Gloucester Daily Times(Massachusetts), January 27, 2013 Sponsored Link
The connection between “hoise” and “hoist” is a bit confusing. The two words are essentially synonymous variants, but “hoist” is far more common. You’ll rarely encounter “hoise” in any of its regular forms: “hoise,” “hoised,” or “hoising.” But a variant of its past participle shows up fairly frequently as part of a set expression.
And now, here’s the confusing part—that variant past participle is “hoist”! The expression is “hoist with (or by) one’s own petard,” which means “victimized or hurt by one’s own scheme.” This oft-heard phrase owes its popularity to Shakespeare’s Hamlet: “For ’tis the sport to have the engineer hoist with his own petar[d].” (A petard is a medieval explosive. The quote implies that the engineer—the person who sets the explosive device—is blown into the air by the explosion of his own device.)
Jill and Barry Baynes
1 :marked by fullness, strength, and clarity of sound : sonorous
2 :pompous, bombastic Josh cleared his throat dramatically, then did a dead-on impression of the professor’s orotund, patronizing speech.
“Comedian Bob Hope used to tell an anecdote about Franklin D. Roosevelt housetraining his Scottish terrier, Fala, on the Chicago Tribune. It was a reference to Roosevelt’s greatest hater,Tribune publisher Robert R. McCormick, an orotund aristocrat who considered the New Deal indistinguishable from Communism.” — From a post by Edward McClellan on NBC Chicago’s Ward Room blog, April 23, 2013
Did you know?
The Latin roots of “orotund” are related to two more common English words—”oral” and “rotund.” Latin “or-” means “mouth,” and “rotundus” means “round” or “circular.” The Roman poet Horace joined forms of those Latin terms to create the phrase “ore rotundo,” literally meaning “with round mouth,” and figuratively meaning “with well-turned speech.” “Ore rotundo” was modified to “orotund” and adopted into English in the late 18th century. It can indicate either strength of delivery or inflated wording.
Jill and Barry Baynes
1a :the action or process of developing and unfolding as if coming into flower b :an instance of such development c :fullness of manifestation : culmination
2 :the period or state of flowering
3 :the process or product of efflorescingchemically
“Besides introducing popular religion, the late eleventh century ushered in an intellectual efflorescence as well.” — From Ronald M. Davidson’s 2005 bookTibetan Renaissance
“Perhaps a collective sense of anxiety about the natural world … has prompted an efflorescence of books about trees from an aesthetic and cultural standpoint in the last decade or so.” — From a review by William Pannapacker in The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 16, 2012 Sponsored Link
When Edgar Allan Poe spoke of an “efflorescence of language” in The Poetic Principle, he was referring to language that was flowery, or overly rich and colorful. This ties in to the garden roots of “efflorescence,” a word, like “flourish,” that comes from the Latin word for “flower.” More commonly, however, “efflorescence” refers to the literal or figurative act of blossoming much like a flower does. You could speak of “the efflorescence of nature in springtime,” for example, or “the efflorescence of culture during the Renaissance.”
“Efflorescence” is also used in chemistry to refer to a process that occurs when something changes to a powder from loss ofwater of crystallization.
Jill and Barry Baynes
May 26, 2013
tontine • \TAHN-teen\ • noun
: a joint financial arrangement whereby the participants usually contribute equally to a prize that is awarded entirely to the participant who survives all the others
In the author’s latest suspense novel, the participants in a secret tontine begin to show up dead—one by one.
“He had become interested in an insurance scheme called a tontine, in which people pool their money and the last survivor gets the whole pot. But tontines were now illegal.” —From Alice Schroeder’s 2008 book The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life.
***Definitions provided by Merriam-Webster Dictionary App.