Happy Memorial Day. After a weekend away from reality, I’m not quite ready to get back to all of my responsibilities; alas, my responsibilities are always ready for me. Next week, I will be starting my own version of Word of the Day; I’m lucky that Wordsmith provides such wonderful examples of new words, word origins, and general language knowledge but I want to put more of myself in a feature exclusive to my blog. For this week, enjoy these words (Wordsmith has selected five that “shine a light” on a certain presidential candidate’s, shall we say, truculence, but I don’t want this to be about politics, I want it to be about the word, about language, so I’m keeping that part out of the usage.)

nitty-gritty (NIT-ee GRIT-ee)

noun: the essential, practical, or most important details

Origin unknown. Earliest documented use: 1940

The client wanted to discuss personal connections to the project, but the developer knew getting down to the nitty-gritty would be a better use of time.

blag (blag)

verb transitive: to obtain something by guile; to cheat, rob, snatch, steal, scam, or beg
noun: a robbery, con, or theft

Origin unknown. Earliest documented use: 1934

Be wary of scammers trying to blag you into handing over sensitive information.

fetid (FET-tid, FEE-TID)

adjective: having a strong unpleasant odor

From Latin fetere (to stink). Earliest documented use: 1599

The fetid socks needed to be thrown into the wash immediately.

prowess (PROU-is)

noun: superior skill, ability, strength, etc.

From Middle French prou (valiant), from Old English prud. Earliest documented use: 1300

Although you may not notice at first, her prowess fueled most of our success.

condign (kuhn-DYN)

adjective: well-deserved, appropriate

From Middle English condigne, from Anglo French, from Latin condignus, from com- (completely) + dignus (worthy). Ultimately from Indo-European root dek- (to take, accept), which is the ancestor of other words such as dignity, discipline, doctor, decorate, docile, and deign. Earliest documented use: 1413

The condign long weekend came after a seemingly long week.

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