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# Word for the Day

A group of three people who share power…. triumvirate   In America’s early days, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison were a triumvirate — three men whose leadership helped shape America.   The prefix tri means “three,” so it makes sense that triumvirate refers to a group of three. In this case, the three in question are powerful men who share…

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# Word for the Day

Being brash or irreverent cheeky   If you’re being cheeky you’re being brash or irreverent. If you’re a cheeky child, you’re probably just being impudent and disrespectful — and you’re probably going to get in trouble.   Cheeky has shades of meaning according to the degree of offense taken, and this may vary between British and American English. At the…

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# Word for the Day

To persuade by using insincere compliments or promises…     cajole   If you say “Please, pretty-please, I’ll be your best friend,” when asking for a stick of gum, you are cajoling the gum holder.   The origin of this word is probably a blend of two French words meaning “to chatter like a jaybird” and “to…

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# Word for the Day

A word that sounds like its meaning….   onomatopoeia   Boom! Bang! Crash! When a word is formed from the sound that an associated thing makes, call it an example of onomatopoeia.   In Greek, onomatopoeia (on-uh-mah-tuh-PEE-ah) simply means “word-making,” but in English it refers to a very specific process of word-making: an attempt to capture the sound…

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# Word for the Day

If you use this word then you are supporting something or someone else.     ancillary   The adjective ancillary originally meant “relating to maidservants” from the Latin, but the element of a female servant has fallen away and now the word merely refers to a position as helpful or subordinate. An example of how something in…

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# Word for the Day

These type of people tend to act snobby and superior… supercilious   Supercilious people think very highly of themselves, more highly than of others. If your sister tends to act snobby and superior, you can describe her as supercilious.   You might expect Nobel Prize winners to be supercilious — after all, they’ve reached the very heights…

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# Word for the Day

This verb means to twinkle or glow. scintillate   The verb scintillate means to twinkle or glow, as in a flickering light. You may find it romantic to sit on the deck overlooking a lake on a clear night, where you can enjoy the scintillating stars in the sky and the reflection of the moon on the water.  …