Word of the day: Nugacity

(n.)  /njuːˈɡasɪti/

Happy Friday! Here’s a fun little word for a ‘trivial or frivolous thing or idea.’ May your weekend be relaxing, and full of enjoyable nugacities.

I couldn’t take him seriously, every thing he did seemed to be a nugacity.

Etymology: Late 16th century. From late Latin nugacitas, from Latin nugax, nugac- ‘trifling, frivolous’.

Word of the day: Concinnity

(n.)  /kənˈsɪnɪti/

Concinnity is a rarely used yet beautiful word that can mean either a skilful and harmonious arrangement or fitting together of different parts (1) or a studied elegance of literary style or artistry (2). It refers to a deliberate attention to elements as part of a whole, and a focus on integrating different elements with grace and beauty, not merely efficiency. The connotations of quality over quantity are also appealing to me; I feel like we could all use more concinnity in our lives.

Examples of use:

1. Their plan for future endeavours outlined natural steps with a beautiful concinnity.
Focusing on the bottom line runs counter to any possible concinnity.
Concinnity is important if one wants to create something of lasting value.

2. No factory could create a thing of such beloved concinnity.
This piece of critically acclaimed art has a high degree of concinnity.

Etymology: Mid 16th century. From Latin concinnitas, from concinnus ‘skilfully put together’.

Word of the day: Abrogate

(v.)  /ˈabrəɡeɪt/

Here’s another nifty word that doesn’t get used much. It means to repeal or strike down a formal agreement, right, or law. Alternately, it can mean to disregard or evade one’s responsibilities. I think it carries a bit more impact than ‘repeal,’ for when you really want that extra emphasis. Be eloquent!

Examples of use:
1. The government rejected a proposal to abrogate the right to strike.
The law which prevented voting equality was abrogated many years ago.

2. We believe the board is abrogating its responsibilities to its shareholders.

There is also a noun form, abrogator: a person or thing which abrogates, or has abrogated, something.
Handy, right?

Etymology: Early 16th century; from the Latin abrogat- ‘repealed’, derived from the verb abrogare (ab- ‘away, from’ +rogare ‘propose a law’.)

Word of the day: Sillage

(n.) /siːˈjɑːʒ/  or  /sēˈäZH/

This is a fantastically cool word which refers to a lingering scent in the air; the drift of perfume left behind by someone. It can also figuratively be used to mean the impression or space left behind by a person or object, or a trail left in water. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as: ‘The degree to which a perfume’s fragrance lingers in the air when worn,’ which is accurate, but seems to fall short on nuance for such a lovely word. Enjoy!

Examples of use:
Only a faint sillage remained to confirm that she had been there.’
This perfume has an enchanting sillage.’
It was a summer fragrance with good sillage.
The empty space on the shelf left a sillage which she could not ignore.

Etymology: French, literally ‘wake, trail’.

Welcome, and have a good balter!

I’m starting this blog to share my love of words and language with others, and there’s plenty to share. To me, language is not only a tool for communication, but an entire spectrum of complexity and beauty that allows us rich nuances, informs our culture, and can bring us closer together in tears or in laughter. The heart of a language lies in how it can express these ideas so clearly and well. Its grammar, its vocabulary, and its distinctive sound all play important roles and I feel that in exploring them, we can learn how to express ourselves even more clearly, and more spectacularly than ever before.

Most of Cor Lingua will be about English, but other languages are equally fascinating, so expect frequent guest appearances from around the world. Here you will find nifty little words that aren’t well known, common words often misused, news about linguistics and the history of language, funny stories, hilarious definitions, and tips on how to improve grammar and writing.

For the time being, it’s Monday, so I’ll keep it short, and if you haven’t baltered, you may wish to consider it. I’m going to curl up with a good book.

balter (v.): to dance artlessly, without particular grace or skill but usually with enjoyment.
‘There’s nothing quite like baltering to your favourite music at the end of a long day.’