Word of the Week: Pied-À-Terre

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pied-à-terre |ˌpjeɪdɑːˈtɛː| (n)
a small flat, house, or room kept for occasional use

ORIGIN
early 19th century: French, literally ‘foot to earth’

PRONOUNCED
PEE-eh-dah-TAIR

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My Most Recent Encounter With This Word

The Wall Street Journal
“A Pied-À-Terre Redesigned by a Master of Mansions”
September 22, 2016
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Word of the Week: Captious

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captious |ˈkapʃəs|
(adj)
 formal
tending to find fault or raise petty objections: a captious teacher

ORIGIN
late Middle English (also in the sense ‘intended to deceive someone’): from Old French captieux or Latin captiosus, meaning ‘seizing,’ (or figuratively) ‘deceiving
 

PRONOUNCED
CAP-shuhs

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Where I First Came Across This Word Continue reading

Word of the Week: Bokeh

FINALLY, a short respite from French words!

Here’s a Japanese one: bokeh, pronounce boh-KAY.

bokeh (n)
the visual quality of the out-of-focus areas of a photographic image, especially as rendered by a particular lens

Interestingly, the word is derived from the verb, bokeru, which has various meanings: to go senile, to be out of it, and, within the photographic context, to blur.

Here’s an example of bokeh—maple leaves in all its beauty:

bokeh-photography

“Blue is my color” by Edgar Barany


I invite you to write to me at  viv@mywritinghome.com if you have any word ideas you’d like to share.

Word of the Week: Trompe L’oeil

IN a grand artistic trick of the eye, the iconic 70-foot-high glass monument of I.M. Pei in Paris has disappeared since the beginning of June. What you see instead are black-and-white photos of the surrounding 16th-century buildings, each of them meticulously covering the famed glass pyramid that has been standing in the main courtyard of the Louvre Palace since 1989.

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CAPTION FROM THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: For his latest exhibition, French street artist JR is covering the Louvre Pyramid with photos of the 16th-century palace. PHOTO: JOEL SAGET/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

Continue reading

Word of the Week: Cupidity

NOTHING is more irksome than hearing a teacher say, during one of those end-of-term post-examination parent-teacher meeting, that your kid is weak in his inference skills and he needs to work on it more.

Work on it more? How, pray tell? Continue reading