Word of the day – Learning English online

Tháng Tám 14, 2007


Filed under: Word of the day — Admin @ 11:12 sáng

Pronunciation: [æb-‘ste-mi-ês]


Definition: Temperate in consumption of food and drink; sparse or sparing in general.

Usage: This word answers the question, “Can you name an English word that contains all the vowels in their correct order?” What about “y”? The adverb is “abstemiously.” There are several others such as “aerious,” “facetious,” and “parecious”. The noun is “abstemiousness.”

Suggested Usage: First and foremost this word is used in reference to temperance in food and drink, “Kirsten dines abstemiously throughout the week in order to gorge on the weekends.” Another near synonym of today’s word is “spartan”: “Felix’s apartment is modern and abstemious in its furnishings.” Extending the metaphor, we might get, “Raymond leads a puritanically abstemious life resistant to most earthly pleasures.”

Etymology: Latin abstemius from ab(s) “away from” + temum, a reduction of temetum “liquor.” The prefix ab-s- derives from earlier *apo- which lost its [o] and turned up in English “of” and “off” but also “ebb” and “aft(er).” It may have kept the [o] in Russian, which has a possible descendent in po meaning “according to, about, around.” “Temetum” is akin to temere “to profane, desecrate, pollute” that underlies our “temerity.” The underlying root means “darkness,” found in Sanskrit tamas “darkness,” Russian t’ma “darkness,” tuman “fog,” and ten’ “shadow.”


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