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# Word for the Day

magnanimous   A magnanimous person has a generous spirit. Letting your little sister have the last of the cookies, even though you hadn’t eaten since breakfast, would be considered a magnanimous act.   Magnanimous comes from Latin magnus “great” and animus “soul,” so it literally describes someone who is big-hearted. A person can show that over-sized spirit by being noble or brave, or by…

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# Word for the Day

heebie-jeebies   If you have the heebie-jeebies, you’re worried, anxious, or jumpy. Haunted houses, for example, give many people the heebie-jeebies, while others get the heebie-jeebies from circus clowns.   If something gives you the heebie-jeebies, it makes you very nervous. The word is especially useful when something — or someone — gives you the creeps, but you can’t…

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# Word for the Day

paradigm   A paradigm is a standard, perspective, or set of ideas. A paradigm is a way of looking at something.   The word paradigm comes up a lot in the academic, scientific, and business worlds. A new paradigm in business could mean a new way of reaching customers and making money. In education, relying on lectures is a paradigm: if…

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# Word for the Day

dastardly   Someone who’s dastardly is a scoundrel or a cowardly bad guy. The villain in a fairy tale is almost always dastardly.   Use the adjective dastardly to describe a person or action that’s underhanded and mean. Criminals, pirates, and bullies are all frequently called dastardly. An unprovoked military strike is also often described as dastardly, referencing President Franklin Roosevelt’s…

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# Word for the Day

cockamamie   Anything cockamamie is ridiculous and far-fetched. A cockamamie plan is not likely to work.   This is a silly-sounding word for things that are silly, ludicrous, foolish, and impractical. Faking your own kidnapping to get out of a math test is a cockamamie plan. Wearing a fake mustache everywhere for no reason is cockamamie. Lots of comedies…

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# Word for the Day

problematic   Something problematic poses a problem or causes difficulties. Your ambitions to become the next great leader of Spain are great, but your inability to speak Spanish might prove problematic.   Around 1600, the word problematical was shortened and problematic was born. Perhaps they wanted to make it less problematic for spellers. It’s an adjective that means tough, hard to solve,…