nuanced (adj.)

"having or showing delicate gradations in tone, etc.," 1896, past-participle adjective from the verb nuance (q.v.).

The new co-operative history of English literature which the University of Cambridge is now publishing prints "genre" without italics. And it even permits one contributor—and a contributor who is discussing Shakespeare!—to say that something is delicately "nuanced." Is there now an English verb "to nuance"? It is terrible to think of the bad language the scholars of the venerable English university might have used if "nuanced" had been first discovered in the text of an American author. [Scribner's Magazine," January 1911]
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style (n.)

early 14c., stile, "writing instrument, pen, stylus; piece of written discourse, a narrative, treatise;" also "characteristic rhetorical mode of an author, manner or mode of expression," and "way of life, manner, behavior, conduct," from Old French stile, estile "style, fashion, manner; a stake, pale," from Latin stilus "stake, instrument for writing, manner of writing, mode of expression," perhaps from the same source as stick (v.)). Spelling modified incorrectly by influence of Greek stylos "pillar," which probably is not directly related. As distinguished from substance, 1570s. Meaning "mode of dress" is from 1814.

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necessity (n.)

late 14c., necessite, "constraining power of circumstances; compulsion (physical or moral), the opposite of liberty; a condition requisite for the attainment of any purpose," from Old French necessité "need, necessity; privation, poverty; distress, torment; obligation, duty" (12c.), from Latin necessitatem (nominative necessitas) "compulsion, need for attention, unavoidableness, destiny," from necesse (see necessary). Meaning "condition of being in need, want of the means of living" in English is from late 14c.

Necessity is the Mother of Invention. [Richard Franck, c. 1624-1708, English author and angler, "Northern Memoirs," 1658]

To maken vertu of necessite is in Chaucer. Related: Necessities.

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rock-climbing (n.)

by 1887, originally "the more showy branch of mountaineering" according to the author below:

Even though rock climbing be inferior as an art to snowcraft, it must still be practised properly. Let not the seductive charms of rock climbing occupy too large a place in the mind of the young mountaineer to the exclusion of snowcraft, lest he be but preparing for himself in matters athletic a sad old age. [C.T. Dent, "Mountaineering," London, 1892]

The modern sport of rock-climbing emerged c. 1993. Rock-climb (n.) "an ascent of a rock-face," is by 1895. Rock-climb as a verb is by 1934.


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quadrillion (n.)

1670s, from French quadrillion (16c.) from quadri- "four" (from PIE root *kwetwer- "four") + (m)illion. Compare billion. In Great Britain, the fourth power of a million (1 followed by 24 zeroes); in the U.S., the fifth power of a thousand (1 followed by 15 zeroes).

Thomas Hope, first of the family to possess the Deepdene, was the author of "Anastasius," a book of the same class as Beckford's "Vathek." In each case a millionaire (we shall soon have billionaires, trillionaires, quadrillionaires) fettered, imprisoned, by abject opulence, strove to reveal himself to the world through a romance. [Mortimer Collins, "A Walk Through Surrey," Temple Bar, August 1866]
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anomic (adj.)

1898, from French anomique (Durkheim, 1897); see anomie.

A more important form of suicide is that which the author terms "anomic," by which he means the suicides produced by any sudden social shock or disturbance such as that due to economic disasters. Men commit egoistic suicide because they see no further reason for living, altruistic suicide because the reason for living seems to them to lie outside life itself, anomic suicide because they are suffering from a disturbance of their activity. [review of "Le Suicide" in Mind, April 1898]

Also attested from 1919 in a sense "non-legal."

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poet (n.)
Origin and meaning of poet

"one endowed with the gift and power of imaginative invention and creation, attended by corresponding eloquence of expression, commonly but not necessarily in a metrical form" [Century Dictionary, 1895], early 14c., "a poet, an author of metrical compositions; one skilled in the art of making poetry; a singer" (c. 1200 as a surname), from Old French poete (12c., Modern French poète) and directly from Latin poeta "a poet," from Greek poētēs "maker, author, poet," variant of poiētēs, from poein, poiein "to make, create, compose," from PIE *kwoiwo- "making," from root *kwei- "to pile up, build, make" (source also of Sanskrit cinoti "heaping up, piling up," Old Church Slavonic činu "act, deed, order").

Replaced Old English scop (which survives in scoff). Used in 14c., as in classical languages, for all sorts of writers or composers of works of literature. Poète maudit, "a poet insufficiently appreciated by his contemporaries," literally "cursed poet," is attested by 1930, from French (1884, Verlaine). For poet laureate see laureate.

"Communication" will not explain poetry. I will not say that there is not always some varying degree of communication in poetry, or that poetry could exist without any communication taking place. There is room for very great individual variation in the motives of equally good individual poets; and we have the assurance of Coleridge, with the approval of Mr. Housman, that "poetry gives most pleasure when only generally and not perfectly understood." [T.S. Eliot, "The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism"]
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Orwellian (adj.)

"characteristic or suggestive of the writings of George Orwell," 1950 (first attested in Mary McCarthy), from English author George Orwell (pseudonym of Eric Blair, 1903-1950), especially in reference to his novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four" (1949). It has come to be used in reference to the totalitarian systems he satirized and inveighed against.

It is as if George Orwell had conceived the nightmare instead of analyzed it, helped to create it instead of helping to dispel its euphemistic thrall. [Clive James, "The All of Orwell," 2001]

The surname is attested from late Old English, from place names, either "spring by the point" (of land), or "stream of the (river) Orwe," a variant form ofarrow.

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chivvy (v.)

"harass," 1918, from alternative form of chevy (1830) "to chase," from a noun chevy (1824, also used as a hunting cry, c. 1785), from chevy chase "a running pursuit," probably from the "Ballad of Chevy Chase," a popular song from 15c. describing a hunting party on the borderland that turned into a battle between the English and the Scots (the incident probably dates from late 14c.). The place is probably originally Cheviot Chase (see chase (n.1)).

The old song of Chevy-Chase is the favourite ballad of the common people of England, and Ben Jonson used to say, he had rather have been the author of it than of all his works. [Addison, "Spectator" No. 70, May 21, 1711]
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royalty (n.)

c. 1400, "office or position of a sovereign, royal power or authority," also "magnificence," from or modeled on Old French roialte (12c., Modern French royauté), from Vulgar Latin *regalitatem (nominative *regalitas), from Latin regalis "royal, kingly; of or belonging to a king, worthy of a king" (see royal (adj.)).

The meaning "royal persons collectively" is from late 15c. From the notion of prerogatives of a sovereign the sense expanded to "prerogatives or rights granted by a sovereign to an individual or corporation" (late 15c.). From that evolved more general senses, such as "payment to a landowner for use of a mine" (1839), and ultimately "payment to an author, composer, etc." for sale or use of his or her work (1857). Compare realty.

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