focusing on words and literature



Litany (lit-an-y): A noun which originated during the 13th century from the Middle English word “letanie,” Anglo-French and Late Latin’s “litania,” and the Late Greek’s “litaneia” or “litanos” meaning “entreaty” or “supplicant.” Meanings: a repetitive or resonant prayer, chant, recitation, supplication or invocation often used by church leaders which allows alternate responses from the congregation. [...]



Callow (cal-low): an adjective which originated before 1000 A.D. which derives from the Middle English or Old English word “calu,” the Dutch word “kaal”, or German “kahl” meaning “bald.” Meanings: immature, inexperienced, in lack of adult sophistication, unfledged, or featherless Ex. Chalk up your mistakes as a teen to your callow youth.



Conundrum (con-un-drum): a noun with unknown origins first used during 1645. Meanings: a perplexing riddle, puzzle, problem or question whose answer may include a pun; also an intricate or difficult issue, brain teaser, or enigma Ex. Diverting the children from the mud puddle flooding the sidewalk was a bit of a conundrum.



Relent (re-lent): A verb which likely derives from the Middle English’s “relenten” which meaning “to melt,” from the Anglo-Norman “relenter” meaning “damp,” or from ancient Latin’s “lentus” meaning “sticky, slow.” Meanings: to cause to soften, slacken, or abate; also to become more forgiving, lenient, or compassionate in attitude Ex. The rain will relent to clear [...]



Cantankerous (can-tan-ker-ous): An adjective which likely derives from the Middle English’s “contek” meaning “dissension,” from the Anglo-Norman’s “contec,” or from the ancient Latin’s “conctus” or past participle of “contingere” meaning “to touch” or “contact.” Meanings: quarrelsome, disagreeable, ill-tempered, irascible, and difficult to handle Ex. My math teacher was so short fused and cantankerous today he [...]