The word of the day, chosen by moi:

bruttezza (la) 

Accent on the ‘e’. The double ‘z’ is pronounced like the ones in pizza. It’s the Italian word for ‘ugliness’ but, in my humble opinion, it manages to sound both elegant and vicious at the same time. D’you recognise any English words that may have been borrowed from this word in Italian?

This is what dictionary.com had to say about ‘ugly’, which I found very interesting:



mid-13c., uglike “frightful or horrible in appearance,” from Old Norse uggligr “dreadful, fearful,” from uggr “fear, apprehension, dread” (perhaps related to agg “strife, hate”) + ligr “-like.” Meaning softened to “very unpleasant to look at” late 14c. Extended sense of “morally offensive” is attested from c.1300; that of “ill-tempered” is from 1680s.

Among words for this concept, ugly is unusual in being formed from a root for “fear, dread.” More common is a compound meaning “ill-shaped” (e.g.Greek dyseides, Latin deformis, Irish dochrud, Sanskrit ku-rupa). Another Germanic group has a root sense of “hate, sorrow” (see loath ). Ugly duckling (1877) is from the story by Hans Christian Andersen, first translated from Danish to English 1846. Ugly American “U.S. citizen who behaves offensively abroad” is first recorded 1958 as a book title.



#wordoftheday : abnegation

Another new word stumbled across my path today and, of course, I snapped it up immediately. It’s a synonym of self-denial that sounds like a very complex mathematical concept (at least, to me it does!), while it reminds me of the word ‘abdication’.

Here’s Google’s definition:



#wordoftheday :obviate

This didn’t come as an email, but I discovered it while looking up the meaning of a Greek word and thought it was a useful word to note down:

The ‘did you know’ section on the same webpage reads:

Obviate derives from Late Latin obviare (meaning “to meet or withstand”) and Latin obviam,which means “in the way” and is also an ancestor of our adjective “obvious.” “Obviate” has a number of synonyms in English, including “prevent,” “preclude,” and “avert”; all of these words can mean to hinder or stop something. When you prevent or preclude something, you put up an insurmountable obstacle. In addition, “preclude” often implies that a degree of chance was involved in stopping an event. “Obviate” generally suggests the use of intelligence or forethought to ward off trouble. “Avert” always implies that a bad situation has been anticipated and prevented or deflected by the application of immediate and effective means.


Alright, alright… technically I’ve cheated a bit by adding two words of the day in this, but it serves merely as a demonstration of the broad range of words available through the word-a-day email from dictionary.com.

Oh, and guess which one isn’t recognised by spellcheck?



short and stout.



1. a change or variation occurring in the course of something.
2. interchange or alternation, as of states or things.

Attempts at using these two properly (in one text!):

The penguin waddled warily in my direction. While most of the Eudyptula minor species were short but lithe, this particular specimen could only be described as fubsy. Pushing him down a hill would only result in him rolling perfectly, like a black and white not-so-fluffy beach ball.

That is, if you were cruel enough to shove a penguin down a slope. Still…wouldn’t it be hilarious?

Of course, being a penguin, Malin – named for his infrequent but remarkable demonstrations of intelligence – did not care to observe the vicissitude of the Antarctic seasons through the changes in temperature and weather as we did. He was only interested in the amount of fish readily available.

The following images are some of the results that came up when I typed the words into Google, looking for images to reflect their meaning.

  • fubsy:

Fubsy the clown doesn’t actually look fubsy at all!


Fubsy sloth in a bowl?


Cheeky, fubsy gnome up to no good.


A visual definition from Julie Rado

  • vicissitude:
download (1)

The vicissitude of seasons by Thomas Wright of Durham. Looks quite accurate!


Vicissitudes of a Rising Periodical – image borrowed from finedictionary.com


Underwater sculpture, part of Jason de Caires Taylor‘s work called Vicissitudes


A definition… of sorts. From johnsonsdictionaryonline.com


I’m thinking of establishing Word of the Day as a another regular feature. That is, using a ‘word of the day’ to write even just a sentence or two could be a way of writing a wee bit every day again… What do you think?

And you (whoever you are!) can try using them in a sentence as well!


Speaking of new things, I forgot to mention… In a burst of blind inspiration, I signed up to a dictionary website (dictionary.com?) that will now send me a ‘Word of the Day’ email. Exciting! I get to expand my vocabulary and potentially have daily prompt words. Yay! (it’s the little things…)

Today’s word: peripatetic. If you don’t know what it means… look it up. 😛