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                     *  WORD A DAY  *
                  Tuesday, June 19, 2007
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Fellow Logophiles,

Since summer is only a couple days away, I thought I would 
include some summer word origins, courtesy of dictionary.com. 

Bonfire comes from the words bone and fire, referring to an   
open-air burning of bones or funeral pyre. The Oxford   
English Dictionary describes the use in Scotland of the form   
bane-fire and also to the annual midsummer banefire or   
bonfire in the burgh of Hawick, for which bones were   
collected and stored regularly until around 1800. Lighting   
bonfires was one of the most universal of ancient midsummer   
rites and one that still survives in some northern European   
countries. The solstice bonfires were believed to prevent   
cattle disease and were also associated with human courtship   
and fertility.   

The phrase dog days is said to have originated in Roman times   
as canicularis dies, 'days of the dog,' referring to the dog   
star Sirius or Procyon. The Romans thought the rising of the   
most brilliant star of the constellation Canis Major   
contributed to the heat of summer.   

The word humidity is from Latin humidus, from humere 'to be   
moist.' Humidity was found in English c 1400.   

Vacation is a word coming from Latin vacation/vacatio, from   
vacare 'to be free, empty; to be at leisure.' Around 1395,   
this term entered Old English, meaning 'rest and freedom   
from any activity.'   



P.S. You can discuss this issue or any other topic in the
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WORD:  irascible   ih-RASS-uh-buhl  (adjective)   

: Prone to outbursts of temper; easily angered.   
: Characterized by or resulting from anger.   

SYNONYMS: * cantankerous   
          * fractious   
          * querulous   

WORD WISE: Irascible is from Latin irascibilis, "prone to   
anger," from ira, "anger," which is also the source of   
ire and irate.   

QUOTE: "The lawyer described his client as an irascible   
eighty-two-year-old eccentric who alternated between   
spinning fascinating tales about her past and cussing   
him out."   
 --Jack Olsen, Hastened to the Grave   



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BONUS WORD OF THE DAY:  consociate    ken soshee ayt   
(intransitive verb)   

: to enter or welcome somebody into a friendly association   

Fifteenth century. From Latin consociat-, the past parti-   
ciple stem of consociare "to associate," from socius   

                  OBSCURE AND UNUSUAL WORDS   

1)  alfresco  al-FRES-koh  (adverb)   
    : In the open air; outdoors.   

    Alfresco is from the Italian al fresco, "in the fresh   
    (air)," from al, "in the" (a, "to, in" + il, "the") +   
    fresco, "fresh."   

2)  gadabout  GAD-uh-bout  (noun)   
    : Someone who roams about in search of amusement or   
    social activity.   

    Gadabout is formed from the verb gad, "to rove or go   
    about without purpose or restlessly" (from Middle   
    English gadden, "to hurry") + about.   

          GopherCentral's Question of the Week: 

Should Illegal Aliens receive government subsidized health 
benefits in the US?

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Questions? Comments? email: word@gophercentral.com

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Copyright 2007 by NextEra Media. All rights reserved. 

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