[Young's book] imagined an elite that got its position not from ancestry, but from test scores and effort. For him, meritocracy was a negative term; his spoof was a warning about the negative consequences of assigning social status based on formal educational qualifications, and showed how excluding from leadership anyone who couldn't jump through the educational hoops would create a new form of discrimination. And that's exactly what has happened. [Lani Guinier, interview, New York Times, Feb. 7, 2015]
Old English greot "sand, dust, earth, gravel," from Proto-Germanic *greutan "tiny particles of crushed rock" (source also of Old Saxon griot, Old Frisian gret, Old Norse grjot "rock, stone," German Grieß "grit, sand"), from PIE *ghreu- "rub, grind" (source also of Lithuanian grūdas "corn, kernel," Old Church Slavonic gruda "clod"). Sense of "pluck, spirit, firmness of mind" first recorded American English, 1808.
If he hadn't a had the clear grit in him, and showed teeth and claws, they'd a nullified him so, you wouldn't have see'd a grease spot of him no more. [Thomas Chandler Haliburton, "Sam Slick in England," 1843]
region or island at northernmost part of the world, Old English, from Latin, from Greek Thyle "land six days' sail north of Britain" (Strabo, quoting a lost portion of a work by Polybius, itself based on a lost account of a voyage to the north by 4c. B.C.E. geographer Pytheas). The identity of the place and the source of the name have sparked much speculation; Polybius doubted the whole thing, and since Roman times the name has been used in a transferred sense of "extreme limits of travel" (Ultima Thule).
The barbarians showed us where the sun set. For it happened in those places that the night was extremely short, lasting only two or three hours; and the sun sunk under the horizon, after a short interval reappeared at his rising. [Pytheas]
The name was given to a trading post in Greenland in 1910, site of a U.S. air base in World War II.
[T]he body of the work has been rendered into English with fidelity, the only change of moment being the substitution of the word "photosynthesis" for that of "assimilation." This change follows from a suggestion by Dr. Barnes, made a year ago before the American Association at Madison, who clearly pointed out the need of a distinctive term for the synthetical process in plants, brought about by protoplasm in the presence of chlorophyll and light. He proposed the word "photosyntax," which met with favor. In the discussion Professor MacMillan suggested the word "photosynthesis," as etymologically more satisfactory and accurate, a claim which Dr. Barnes showed could not be maintained. The suggestion of Dr. Barnes not only received tacit acceptance by the botanists of the association, but was practically approved by the Madison Congress in the course of a discussion upon this point. [The Botanical Gazette, vol. xix, 1894]
The motto is often translated as "He (God) is favorable to our undertakings," but this is not the only possible translation. Thomson wrote: "The pyramid signifies Strength and Duration: The Eye over it & Motto allude to the many signal interpositions of providence in favour of the American cause." The original design (by William Barton) showed the pyramid and the motto Deo Favente Perennis "God favoring through the years."
The Latin elements are the perfective of annuere "indicate approval, agree to, grant," literally "nod to (as a sign)" (from assimilated form of ad "to;" see ad-, + nuere "to nod;" see numinous) + perfect passive of coeptus, past participle of coepere "to begin, commence."