word of the day: dog-bee, n. - A male honeybee or drone

Forms: see dog n.1 and bee n.1
Etymology: < dog n.1 + bee n.1 With sense 1 compare dog n.1 2. In sense 2 apparently partly with allusion to a dog as something large and coarse, and partly with the intended meaning ‘fly that bites dogs’; compare dogfly n.


1. A male honeybee or drone.
1530 J. Palsgrave Lesclarcissement 214/2 Doggebee, bourdon.
1847 J. O. Halliwell Dict. Archaic & Provinc. Words, Dog-bee, a drone, or male bee.
1880 All Year Round 5 June 91/1 A dog-bee, for instance, is a drone—a coarse, common, inferior bee that makes no honey.

2. A fly, as a horsefly or a fly that bites dogs. Cf. dogfly n. 1. rare.
1838 J. Bosworth Dict. Anglo-Saxon Lang at Hund, Hundes-beo, dog-bee, dog or horse-fly.
1882 Ogilvie's Imperial Dict. (new ed.) II., Dog-bee, a fly troublesome to dogs.

olid, adj. - Having a strong and unpleasant smell; fetid, rank.

Pronunciation: Brit. /ˈɒlɪd/, U.S. /ˈɑləd/
Etymology: < classical Latin olidus having an offensive smell, stinking < olēre to smell (see olent adj.) + -idus -id suffix1. Compare earlier olidous adj.
Now literary.

Having a strong and unpleasant smell; fetid, rank. Also in extended use.

1680 R. Boyle Exper. & Notes Prodvcibleness Chymicall Princ. i. 57 in Sceptical Chymist (new ed.), Urine; of which..olid and despicable liquor I chose to make an Instance.
1713 J. Smith tr. Chaucer in Poems upon Several Occasions 349 Fretting he scrubs to wipe away the Savour Of Olid Salts, and Ammoniack Flavour.
1822 J. M. Good Study Med. II. 582 The sweat is copious, but proves by its sour and olid smell that it is a morbid secretion.
1921 H. Allen Wampum & Old Gold 26 And poison honey festers in their pods, Olid as tales of lust told long ago About the wanton mother of the gods.
1977 D. Abse Coll. Poems 26 They in some intimate, cruel game engaged—horrid, olid, and medieval.
2001 Weekend Austral. (Nexis) 29 Sept. r28 Ours are always the most badly behaved dogs, defying all our frantic efforts to curb their bad manners and olid presence.

alabastrum, n. - A vessel for holding perfume, unguents, or ointments.

[‘Ancient Hist. A vessel for holding perfume, unguents, or ointments; = alabaster n. 2, alabastron n.’] Pronunciation: Brit. /ˌaləˈbɑːstrəm/, /ˌaləˈbastrəm/, U.S. /ˌæləˈbæstrəm/
Inflections: Plural alabastra, alabastrums.
Forms: OE ME– alabastrum, 17 alabastrus.
Etymology: < classical Latin alabaster, alabastrum box for perfume, rosebud (see alabaster n.).
The word was probably reborrowed in the late 14th cent.; there is no continuity of use with the Old English.
The form alabastrum is also occasionally attested in English contexts denoting the stone alabaster (see alabaster n. 1).

1. Ancient Hist. A vessel for holding perfume, unguents, or ointments; = alabaster n. 2, alabastron n.
OE Old Eng. Martyrol. (Julius) 22 July 156 Heo [sc. Mary Magdalene] brohte hire alabastrum, þæt is hire glæsfæt, mid deorwyrðe smyrenisse, ond þa weop heo on ðæs hælendes fet ond drigde mid hire loccum ond cyste ond smyrede mid þære deorwyrðan smyrenisse.

a1398 J. Trevisa tr. Bartholomaeus Anglicus De Proprietatibus Rerum (BL Add. 27944) (1975) II. xix. 1375 Alabastrum is a vessel for oynement.
1706 Phillips's New World of Words (ed. 6), Alabastrum or Alabastrus, an Alabaster-box of Ointment.
1824 J. Elmes Gen. & Bibliogr. Dict. Fine Arts I. at Alabastrides, The alabastrum is always among the attributes of the bathing Venus.
1861 C. W. King Antique Gems (1866) 88 Little jars for holding perfumes, which were called alabastra.
1891 Amer. Jrnl. Archaeol. & Hist. Fine Arts 7 223 The central scene is the washing of the body of a dead man by two women, while a third and fourth hold a taenia and an alabastrum.
1936 N. P. Vlachos Hellas & Hellenism xi. 339 Two jugs, large stamnus (jar), flanked by an alabastrum (for ointments) and an oil flask.
2005 B. A. Kipfer Dict. Artifacts 47 In the 6th century the Greek influence changed the forms to alabastrums, amphorae, kraters, and kylikes with..birds and animals in friezes or geometric schemes.

†2. Bot. An unexpanded flower bud. Obs.
1706 Phillips's New World of Words (ed. 6), Alabastrum or Alabastrus..Among Herbalists, the Bud or green Leaves of Plants, which enclose the bottom of the Flowers, before they are spread.
1834 G. Don Gen. Syst. Gardening & Bot. III. 233/1 Alabastra of fertile flowers cylindrical.
1851 J. H. Balfour Man. Bot (ed. 2) ii. iii. 169 To the flower-bud, the name alabastrus (meaning rose-bud) is sometimes given.
1883 Amer. Naturalist 17 1112 This alabastrum is so highly developed as to have the complete advantage of the leaves.

jettatura, n. - The evil eye (see evil adj. 6); bad luck.

Pronunciation: Brit. /jɛtəˈtʊərə/, U.S. /ˌjɛdəˈtʊrə/
Etymology: < Italian (originally and chiefly regional: southern) iettatura, †jettatura the evil eye, bad luck (1787) < iettare (see jettatore n.) + -atura -ature suffix. Compare French jettatura (1817; also jettature; < Italian). Compare jettatore n.

The evil eye (see evil adj. 6); bad luck.

1822 London Mag. Sept. 228/1 Little pieces of twisted coral, which are worn about the neck as charms against the jettatura.
1855 E. C. Gaskell Accursed Race in Househ. Words 25 Aug. 78/2 Their glance, if you meet it, is the jettatura, or evil eye.
1882 C. M. Yonge Unknown to Hist. II. iii. 34 'Tis not only the jettatura wherewith the Queen Mother used to reproach me. Men need but bear me good will, and misery overtakes them.
1892 A. Lang Bks. & Bookmen (new ed.) 122 The superstitious might have been excused for crediting him with the gift of jettatura,—of the evil eye.
1928 N. Richardson Mother of Kings iii. 181 ‘Poor fellow—it cost him his head, this and his friendship for Dubarry.’ ‘Let us hope it will not cast such a jettatura upon you, Joseph’
1997 A. M. Kraut in L. Marks & M. Worboys Migrants, Minorities, & Health x. 235 Southern Italians often attributed illness to the influence of one who had the jettatura.

galanthophile, n. - A collector of or expert on snowdrops.

Pronunciation: Brit. /ɡəˈlanθə(ʊ)fʌɪl/, U.S. /ɡəˈlænθəˌfaɪl/
Forms: 18– galanthophil, 19– galanthophile.
Etymology: < scientific Latin Galanthus, genus name of the snowdrop (1753; < ancient Greek γάλα milk (see galactic adj.) + ἄνθος flower: see anthos n.) + -o- connective + -phile comb. form. Chiefly Brit.

A collector of or expert on snowdrops.

1892 Garden 2 July 17/1 It is proposed to name this new Chionodoxa C. Alleni, after the well-known Galanthophil of Shepton Mallet.
1919 Garden 22 Mar. 126/1 It [sc. Melville's large-flowered Snowdrop] was brought into prominence at the Snowdrop Conference of the Royal Horticultural Society, and has held its own in the estimation of the Galanthophile.
1961 Gardeners Chron. 9 Sept. 193/2 Galanthus ‘Merlin’ is one of the snowdrops most treasured by galanthophils.
1990 Independent (Nexis) 4 Feb. 42 Over special snowdrop lunches this month, he and some 10 to 20 other galanthophiles will inspect the latest blooms.
2009 M. Cox Big Gardens in Small Spaces v. 145 I've absolutely no idea what variety they are, and would probably need to call in a dedicated galanthophile equipped with magnifying glass and kneepads to help me identify them.

acervation, n.The action of forming something into a mass or of piling something up in a heap or hea

Pronunciation: Brit. /ˌasəːˈveɪʃn/, U.S. /ˌæsərˈveɪʃ(ə)n/
Forms: 16 aceruation, 16– acervation.
Etymology: < classical Latin acervātiōn-, acervātiō action of heaping up or piling together, accumulation < acervāt-, past participial stem of acervāre acervate v. + -iō -ion suffix1. Compare earlier coacervation n.

The action of forming something into a mass or of piling something up in a heap or heaps; accumulation. Also: a heap, a mass.

1614 T. Lodge tr. Seneca Naturall Questions ii. ii, in Wks. 778 Is it to bee doubted that amongst these bodies which both wee see and handle, which are eyther felt or feele, but that there are some compound? These are such by connexion or aceruation [L. acervatione], as for example, a rope, corne, or a shippe.
1663 Bullokar's Eng. Expositor (rev. ed.), Acervation, a gathering into heaps.
1755 Johnson Dict. Eng. Lang. at Aggregate, The complex or collective result of the conjunction or acervation of many particulars.
1762 tr. S. de Monchy Ess. Causes & Cure Usual Diseases vi. 99 That too great an acervation of excrementitious matter feeds the putrefaction in malignant Fevers.
1794 R. J. Sulivan View of Nature II. 106 The deposition and acervation of oily, greasy parts of marine substances.
1823 Conybeare in Buckland's Reliq. Diluv. 196 These accumulations..sometimes by their acervation constitute decided hills
1905 Jrnl. Biblical Lit. 24 52 This is not a case of ‘acervation of terms’, but of bald definition.
1977 ‘E. Crispin’ Glimpses of Moon v. 79 The unwieldy acervation of objects he had acquired.
1996 B. Humphries Women in Background i. 5 Around the room comfortable, loose-covered chairs and sofas were disposed, on which an acervation of people were perched, seated and sprawled.

pogonotomy, n. - The cutting of a beard; shaving.

Pronunciation: Brit. /ˌpəʊɡəˈnɒtəmi/, U.S. /ˌpoʊɡəˈnɑdəmi/
Etymology: < ancient Greek πωγωνο-, combining form of πώγων beard (see pogonology n.) + -tomy comb. form. Compare pogonotrophy n.

The cutting of a beard; shaving.

1896 Los Angeles Times 27 Dec. 20/6 Pogonotomy is what the Greeks used to call the gentle art of self-shaving.
1942 L. V. Berrey & M. Van den Bark Amer. Thes. Slang §125/3 Pogonotomy, shaving.
1960 Times 28 Sept. (Advertising Suppl) p. iii/2 This is the age, in fact, of pogonotomy.
1992 Evening Standard (Nexis) 16 Oct. 8 Bonington, whose aversion to pogonotomy, or shaving, began in the army, insisted bristles were a sine qua non for outdoor types.

opsigamy, n. - Marriage late in life.

opsigamy, n. Pronunciation: Brit. /ɒpˈsɪɡəmi/, U.S. /ɑpˈsɪɡəmi/
Etymology: < Hellenistic Greek ὀψιγαμία marriage late in life < ὀψίγαμος late-married ( < ancient Greek ὀψι-, ὀψέ late (see opsimathy n.) + γάμος marriage: see -gamy comb. form) + -ία -y suffix3. rare.

Marriage late in life.

1824 J. Macculloch Highlands & W. Isles III. 287 Nor is there any danger of Donald's being flogged for opsigamy by the Highland nymphs as the Spartans were of old.
1996 New Straits Times (Malaysia) (Nexis) 1 July 6 He was so choosy in finding a wife that he ended up in opsigamy.

albescent, adj. - Growing or becoming white; shading or passing into white.

Pronunciation: Brit. /alˈbɛsnt/, U.S. /ælˈbɛs(ə)nt/
Etymology: < classical Latin albēscent-, albēscēns, present participle of albēscere to become white, to become light in colour, to become bright < albēre to be white (see albid adj.) + -ēscere -esce suffix.

Growing or becoming white; shading or passing into white.

1705 Browne's Myographia Nova (ed. 2) ii. 55 Extracting an albescent Liquor, which we commonly call Chile.
1782 Tour to Celbridge in Hibernian Mag. Nov. 555/1 The beard excepted, which hung thick, long, and albescent below his breast, there was no circumstance of singularity in the colonel's appearance.
1831 W. Howitt Bk. Seasons 306 The galaxy stretches its albescent glow athwart the northern sky.
1868 C. Darwin Variations Animals & Plants I. vi. 184 The croup being blue instead of snow-white; but the tint varies, being sometimes albescent.
1922 Ophthalmic Yearbk. 18 209/2 Intravascular spaces a more or less pale grey, covered with discreet small punctate spots; in every part of the fundus these ‘albescent’ spots.
1973 R. Zoellner Salt-sea Mastodon iii. 35 [It]..is no real ship, but rather the albescent image of the questing craft voyaging out of space and beyond time.
2002 W. Boyd Any Human Heart (2009) 376 The familiar old moon hung up there with a fuzzy corona around it, albescent in the soft black sky.

magpiety, n. - Talkativeness, garrulity (esp. on religious or moral topics); affected piety.

magpiety, n. Talkativeness, garrulity (esp. on religious or moral topics); affected piety.
Pronunciation: Brit. /maɡˈpʌɪəti/, U.S. /mæɡˈpaɪədi/ Forms: 18 mag-piety, 18– magpiety.
Etymology:Humorous blend of magpie n. and piety n. Compare also mag n.3, mag v.2

Talkativeness, garrulity (esp. on religious or moral topics); affected piety.

1832 T. Hood Jarvis & Mrs. Cope in New Sporting Mag Mar. 323 Not pious in its proper sense, But chattring like a bird, Of sin and grace—in such a case Mag-piety's the word.
1841 T. Hood Let. in Memorials (1860) II. iii. 118 Such solemn questions as..whether your extreme devotion has been affected or sincere..in short, Piety or Mag-piety?
1891 Blackwood's Edinb. Mag. 150 400/2 Conceive the agony of suppressed speech when a man is as garrulous as a magpie by nature; and my friend is that, though his magpiety is of an elevated sort.
1987 M. Daly Websters' First New Intergalactic Wickedary Eng. Lang. 145 Magpiety, the impious impropriety of Prudes; irreverence for sir-reverence; Nagpiety's Hagpiety.