Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


A.Word.A.Day

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  


Home

Today's Word

Subscribe

Archives



Feb 13, 2017
This week’s theme
American eponyms

This week’s words
bork
John Hancock
Benedict Arnold
McCarthyism
gerrymander

Robert Bork
Robert Bork
Photo: USDOJ/Wikimedia

Bookmark and Share Facebook Twitter Digg MySpace Bookmark and Share
A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Mark Twain once said, “The King’s English is not the King’s. It’s a joint stock company, and Americans own most of the shares.” That, and from time to time we issue our own stock as well. I’m talking about words of American origin that we add to the language.

Native American languages have given numerous words to the English (chipmunk, raccoon, pecan, sachem, etc.).

There are fanciful American coinages (bloviate, skedaddle, etc.). But our most popular export, as far as words are concerned, is OK (an abbreviation of oll korrect, jocular respelling of “all correct”).

Then there are words coined after American people. This week we’ll see five such words.

bork

PRONUNCIATION:
(bork)

MEANING:
verb tr.: To systematically attack a nominee or candidate for public office.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Robert Bork (1927-2012), whose nomination for the US Supreme Court was rejected in 1987 after extensive publicity by various groups exposed his extreme views (such as, his support for a poll tax). Earliest documented use: 1987.

USAGE:
“The borking of Clarence Thomas that followed nearly kept him from being confirmed.”
SCOTUS, Lies, and Videotape; The Examiner (Washington, DC); Feb 24, 2016.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The crucial disadvantage of aggression, competitiveness, and skepticism as national characteristics is that these qualities cannot be turned off at five o'clock. -Margaret Halsey, novelist (13 Feb 1910-1997)

A.Word.A.Day by email:

Subscribe

"The most welcomed, most enduring piece of daily mass e-mail in cyberspace."

The New York Times

Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 1994-2017 Wordsmith