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Maniac (V) Inmate

From: The Land of one Headlight on.
Insane since: May 2001

posted posted 05-17-2003 18:45

Interesting origin.

Today's Word:
Quarantine (Noun)

Pronunciation: ['kwahr-ên-teen]

Definition 1: A period of enforced isolation for a person, animal or object suspected of carrying a communicable disease.

Usage 1: The verb is the same as the noun: "My dog had to be quarantined when I moved from France to the UK." For an adjective, we use the noun attributively: "They built a quarantine facility just outside the port area." Someone or something that has been quarantined is "in quarantine." A disease that makes you liable to quarantine is said to be "quarantinable."

Suggested usage: While the SARS epidemic has brought the literal meaning of this word to the forefront of public consciousness, it can be deployed metaphorically, too: "Rupert is never invited to these meetings; I think they're trying to quarantine his notions about corporate responsibility."

Etymology: The word comes from Venice of the Middle Ages, where ships arriving from plague spots were obliged to spend forty days (in Italian, "quaranta giorni") at anchor offshore before being permitted to land goods or people. Italian "quaranta" comes from the Latin "quadraginta," also meaning "forty," related to "quadrans," a quarter, and "quadra," a square. Here we can see the origins of our words "quadrant," "quarter," "quart," "quadrangle," and the square dance called a "quadrille." "Square" itself comes from the Latin "ex quadra." A "squadron" or "squad" originally referred to a body of soldiers formed up in a square. And a "quarry" is a place where stones are square-cut—all from the same Latin source.

—Grant Hutchison, Dundee, Scotland

Kevin G
Bipolar (III) Inmate

From: Minneapolis, MN, USA
Insane since: Dec 2002

posted posted 05-18-2003 03:37

Holy cow that's so weird...just a little while ago I got a file with a virus in it so I "quarantined" it. Then I come on here and it's the word of the day...that's just too weird.

Maniac (V) Inmate

From: The Land of one Headlight on.
Insane since: May 2001

posted posted 05-21-2003 23:53


Today's Word:
Smellfungus (Noun)

Pronunciation: ['smel-fêng-ês]

Definition 1: A curmudgeon who finds fault in everything; someone who loves misery.

Usage 1: The plural of today's odd word is "smellfungi" ['smell-fun-gee]. It is still used by those familiar with the Sterne-Smollett debate over the relative merits of France, Italy, and England (see Etymology). We thought it an oddity that you might find amusing—and useful, in view of the dearth of politically correct terms for such people these days.

Suggested usage: Smellfungi are generally bitter people addicted to themselves, "That old smellfungus could find fault with the very saints!" By implication such people would have to enjoy all the misery they wallow in, "Farthingsly is a smellfungus who fervidly avoids others because he can only find enough misery in his own company."

Etymology: Tobias Smollett's collection of letters entitled 'Travels through France and Italy' (1766) were remarkable for their persistent criticism of those two countries. Laurence Sterne referred to Smollett as "the learned Smelfungus" in his more sympathetic reply of 1767, entitled 'A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy.' (You can refresh your recollection of the debate at Apparently, Stern thought Smollett could smell a fungus even where none existed. The spelling has since picked up the second [l] on "smell" and found a snug niche for itself in the Oxford English Dictionary. (Brenda Dencer was shocked to discover such a word in her language but we thank her for sharing its voltage with us.)

—Dr. Language,

Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Vancouver, WA
Insane since: Apr 2002

posted posted 05-22-2003 00:00

Word of the Day for Wednesday May 21, 2003
prevaricate \prih-VAIR-uh-kayt\, intransitive verb:
To depart from or evade the truth; to speak with equivocation.

Journalism has a similar obligation, particularly with men and women suddenly transferred to places of great power, who are often led to exaggerate and prevaricate, all in the name of a supposedly greater good.
--Stephen R. Graubard, "Presidents: The Power and the Mediocrity," New York Times, January 15, 1989

Larkin never prevaricates. He is unhesitant and blunt in his assessment of his contemporaries.
--T.J. Ross, "Getting to know Philip Larkin: the life and letters," The Literary Review, January 1, 1995

The leadership's perennial obsession with secrecy led it to prevaricate about the extent of the disease in the capital for five months.
--Roderick Macfarquhar, "Unhealthy Politics," Newsweek International, May 12, 2003

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