WORD OF THE DAY.pngdelectable


The suffix -able is a favorite for tacking onto verbs to form adjectives, but you would search in vain for the verb that underlies today's adjective delectable. That verb, thanks to a long and winding road through European languages, has ended up in English as delight, not delect. Delectable things are extremely pleasing; the adjective is applied especially to foods.




A conspiracy is a secret agreement between two or more people to commit an unlawful or harmful act. Conspiracy theorists are people who believe that the government is secretly controlled by power brokers in flagrant violation of the constitution.


Conspiracy can also refer to the act of planning an unlawful or harmful act: Terrorists might be accused of organizing a conspiracy to overthrow the government. Conspiracy is ultimately from Latin cōnspīrāre "to agree or plot together, literally to breathe together." The corresponding English verb is conspire.


WORD OF THE DAY.pngaltruistic


The underlying ism of today's adjective is altruism, a word that doesn't advertise its relatives very clearly. But they are there, in alter, and more clearly in French "autre". The core concept is other people, as opposed to yourself. One who is altruistic puts the needs of others or another first, without regard to oneself. In animals, altruistic behavior helps the group but may harm the individual.


WORD OF THE DAY.pnginarticulate


Use the adjective inarticulate to describe poor communication skills, like at your most inarticulate moments when you nervously fumble to find the right word and completely forget to make your most important point.


Inarticulate sounds — a grunt, cry, scream, snort, wail, howl, moan, sob, snicker — are heard but not easily understood. If something is inarticulate, it is hard to get the meaning, like an inarticulate speech whose main idea can't be found. Creative works can also be inarticulate, when it isn't clear what — if anything — they are trying to express, like a painter whose gallery show that is called "inarticulate" by a critic: You can't grasp what the artist is trying to say.